The UK is being urged to tighten up its rules around remunerations for public servants who use public sector websites to promote their services, after a new study found the majority of people who use the site were “not paying enough”.
The study, published by the University of East Anglia, found that of the 2,827 public sector sites surveyed, only one in five people surveyed said they had paid for their services.
The study found that public sector workers are paid an average of £2,735 per year.
But a quarter of people said they were not paying enough, with one in seven saying they were paying too little.
Public sector websites are used by thousands of people across the UK to report on public services and issues.
They include: the BBC, the Office for National Statistics and the NHS.
They are often used by local authorities and charities to manage public finances, such as helping people with housing problems, who can’t access the services they need.
“We believe that people should not have to pay more for public services than the cost of their own care,” said Professor David Anderson, one of the authors of the study.
The findings come just months after the government introduced a £5,000-a-year “social care levy”, which will see the levy applied to the average cost of living in England.
This is equivalent to the cost, if you had a job for a year, of a £2.50-a (or €2.60-a) flat-rate house mortgage.
Professor Anderson said the “disappointing” results were a wake-up call.
“It is not a question of people not paying any more, it is a question that many people do not pay enough,” he said.
“In many ways, the public sector has become a victim of its own success and it is time to start paying more.”
He said there should be a “robust” enforcement system for public sector website owners, including penalties for people who break the rules.
“The current system is weak and does not work.
It is time for a new approach to tackle the problems facing public sector services and organisations,” he added.
Public Service Association chief executive John Riddell said he was not surprised by the findings.
“People are paying for services and if the system is not working, they should have the option to pay the price of failure,” he told BBC News.
“There are some good things that happen on public sector organisations and there are other bad things that can happen.”
Professor Anderson’s study looked at 1,000 people who used public sector public information websites, and asked them how much they paid for services they did.
It found that, in comparison with people who did not use public information sites, people who worked for public bodies were paid less than those who did.
This figure was slightly lower for people working in the private sector.
But the difference was statistically insignificant, Professor Anderson told the BBC.
“So there is no evidence that there is an income gap between public sector and private sector workers,” he noted.
They should be helping people to make their own choices and not just pushing them towards one company.” “
Some of the public information organisations are in the wrong business.
They should be helping people to make their own choices and not just pushing them towards one company.”
Mr Riddells also said the findings showed public servants should be required to show “accountability” for their actions.
“I think that we need to put the public servants in the right place to make sure they are accountable for the actions they take,” he concluded.
Public servants are not alone in wanting more transparency in the public service.
A report published by The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) in May suggested a “public sector pay gap” exists because of a lack of clear policies for the sector.
The CIPFA said it is concerned by the current “lack of accountability for public employees” and the “significant gaps” in terms of pay between public and private sectors.
The report said that the pay gap between private and public sector employees has risen “by up to two and a half times” between 2010 and 2016, but has remained flat since then.
The gap is “significantly greater” in public services, which account for about 30% of public spending, the report said.
The research has also been welcomed by charities which say the pay gaps have left people with “little choice” and little hope of being paid more.
But Mr Anderson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he did not believe public servants needed to be paid more than those in private sectors, or anyone else.
“You don’t have to be a member of the private or public sector to earn your living,” he argued.
“If you’re a public servant and you’re working for a public organisation, that’s your