Home > Uncategorized > Civil servants struggling under the Coalition leash

Civil servants struggling under the Coalition leash

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Research published by the Institute for Government shows that civil service morale has drastically fallen—unsurprising given the massive budget cuts that most departments face.

The research uses the results of  a massive survey undertaken by the Civil Service. Just over 60% of civil servants across all departments responded to the survey, which is designed to measure the engagement of staff.

The news comes in the same week that a Civil Service leak questioned the work ethic of Deputy PM Nick Clegg.

Two of the departments who have proposed massive reforms experienced the biggest reductions in positive staff reception.

In the Department for Education, only four in every 10 members of staff felt that higher ups had a clear vision for the future. This at a time when Michael Gove is pushing through curriculum reforms and removing the EMA (although there are rumours that he is about to do a u-turn on this). Only 23% thought that when changes were made in the department, they are usually for the better.

As for Health, where Andrew Lansley is trying to transform the NHS, the picture is just as bad. Less than 70% have a good understanding of the departments direction, and there has been a 13 percentage point decrease in the number of staff who believe the executive know what they are doing.

The director of the Institute said that:

Whitehall is facing an unprecedented challenge in overseeing an ambitious agenda for reform at the same time as facing major cutbacks in spending. Most departments are also having to reduce their own administrative costs by a third. Falls in staff engagement levels are not unusual as organisations start tackling challenges on this scale. The important thing is for departments to have a clear vision and effective leadership, so any falls are rapidly turned around.

The last sentence is doubly true when staff are facing cutbacks at the same time as implementing major changes. I have to question again whether the Coalition is right to introduce such large scale reforms without financial backing.

If it continues with this strategy, then it is clear that ministers will need to be clear in their purpose and have to take their staff with them.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. efgd
    February 4, 2011 at 10:56 am

    “ministers will need to be clear in their purpose and have to take their staff with them.”

    Well there is no real hope of that then is there if they have been able to that so far. This is akin to students taking a physics test when the have not mastered basic mathematics.

    The mind boggles yet again at the ineptitude of mps and even the pm. Words almost fail me.

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