More than 440 civil servants at the Department of Health were paid nearly £780,000 in 2016 as a result of performance related pay, it has emerged.

Thirty-six senior civil servants shared a total of £381,664 of performance related pay last year, with 410 other civil servants sharing £398,868.

The figures emerged after a Parliamentary question by Labour MP Justin Madders, which was answered by health minister Philip Dunne.

Since 2012 more than £4m has been paid out to civil servants through performance related incentives, though the number of civil servants receiving performance awards has dropped from its peak in 2012 (see table below).

Mr Dunne said: “Non-consolidated performance related pay is only paid to reward excellence, for example to recognise and incentivise those responsible for delivering high quality public services and savings to the taxpayer. These one-off payments are not pensionable.”

End of year performance related payments relate to performance in the previous 12 months.

The DH was criticied earlier this year after it announced plans to recruit 200 new staff – just weeks after it confirmed 538 civil servants would lose their jobs under its cost cutting programme.

After the 2015 autumn statement, the DH was forced to make savings of 30 per cent by 2020. It is planning to relocate from Whitehall to 39 Victoria Street, centralising staff from three separate offices.

 Senior civil servantsOther grades (AO to grade 6)Total head count and cost

Year

Headcount

Cost

Headcount

Cost

Headcount

Cost

2016

36

£381,664

410

£396,868

446

£778,532

2015

40

£434,744

351

£335,705

391

£770,449

2014

37

£405,000

386

£373,857

423

£778,857

2013

46

£495,082

404

£388,378

450

£883,460

2012

46

£388,450

503

£487,566

549

£876,016