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This year's most popular posts

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This year, our blog has covered more topics and discussed more issues than ever before. We’ve picked our most popular blog posts this year that merit a second sampling.

Social media myths exploded

It’s been with us for some time, but there are still many misconceptions about social media and how to use it at work. The head of digital comms for the PM’s Office and Cabinet Office explodes some of the myths of social media - before they blow up in our faces!

Why mid-year reviews are nothing to be scared of

The mid-year review isn’t something we all look forward to, but this blog from a Jobcentre Plus team leader gives you five top tips for making it a positive exercise. There are handy pointers here, too, for end-of-year reviews, which are now on the horizon.

Removing the barriers to success

The Civil Service closely reflects the make-up of wider society, with people from every kind of background. But why do talented people from certain groups find it harder to succeed? The Talent Action Plan sets out to understand the barriers they face and remove them, as Head of the Civil Service Sir Jeremy Heywood explains.

How Wales led the charge on carrier bags

Charging for carrier bags? You’d think that wouldn’t be popular - but you’d be wrong. This Civil Service Quarterly article looks at how the Welsh Government has bagged benefits for businesses, charities and consumers, as well as reducing the annual environmental impact of 445 million plastic bags. Now, the rest of the UK is jumping on the “bag-wagon”.

How to be a great leader

As we look forward to the new Civil Service Leadership Statement and Strategy early next year - which many of you have fed into - the leadership insights of Sir Simon Fraser, Permanent Under Secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, are worth a second read.

The commercial imperative

Even the most basic office transactions, such as buying paper clips or post-it notes, require commercial nous so that we can get the best price on the best terms. It’s one of the priority skills we all need. This blog looks at how we go about acquiring it.

Don't be a mobile mug

It may sound melodramatic, but when someone steals your mobile device, they’re not just taking your property, they’re taking part of you. Personal data on your smartphone or tablet can tell a thief a lot about you and has monetary as well as practical value. With many of us out and about at this time of year, this Civil Service Quarterly blog has useful tips on keeping your device safe and the data on it as secure as possible.

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  1. Comment by Blog Editor posted on

    Morning Dee, John and Cassandra,
    I'm sorry we weren't clear but we actually meant 2014 most popular posts on this blog. Sir Bob's blog was run by a different team so we didn't include it.

    To your other points though, I know Dee made a similar comment on the Autumn Statement post about there being no discussion but actually the senior leaders do read the comments and regularly comment back:

    People Survey:
    CSR report:

    Questions around performance management, which I believe was the substance on Bob's Blog were answered by Joe Dugdale at the time:

    "Joe Dugdale, Director, HR Policy & Operations, HMRC — 07/03/2014
    There have been a series of contributions from HMRC staff and some have made their concerns very clear. I did just want to summarise the position on some of the points raised. In HMRC everyone will be given a performance rating based on their performance against their objectives, what they have achieved and how they have worked during the year. This should reflect their performance over the full year and will be validated within their validation group and supported by evidence. There is absolutely no requirement in the performance management policy to rank staff and as I said in my previous reply I believe we have communicated widely and clearly that the guided distribution is just that – guided and not forced.
    Performance expectations are set at the start of the year, are reviewed at mid year and form the basis for each person’s objectives.
    At the end of year validation managers will discuss the performance of their team members. The purpose of these discussions is to ensure that performance expectations have been understood and applied consistently, and that no one’s performance has been over or under-estimated. Someone’s rating may change based on the validation discussions, but no one’s rating will be changed purely to meet the guided distribution. The expectation is that overall we will achieve the 20, 70, 10 distribution of ratings and in an organisation as large as HMRC I don’t think this is an unreasonable expectation.
    On the specific issue of disputes with our trade unions, ARC member at grade 6 and 7 are in dispute with the department and I am very disappointed that we are in that position. ARC members of the SCS and PCS are not in dispute as one or two comments may have suggested."

    We are more than happy to have open comments as long as it meets our moderation criteria, and we actively encourage senior leaders to reply, and we hope they will continue to do so.

    Kind regards

  2. Comment by Cassandra posted on

    There clearly has been a policy decision to stifle all discussion on this subject. I believe that to be short sighted, offensive in its implied assumptions, and ultimately damaging to the health and integrity of the CS.

  3. Comment by Scott posted on

    You can find it if you google it. 642 comments.

  4. Comment by John posted on

    Did go to check when Sir Bob Kerslakes blog on PMR was issued, as if it was in this calendar year with 700 plus comments this should have been included in the above list. However it appears to have disappeared???

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by Dee posted on


      The first of Bob Kerslake's blogs on PMS was published on 13-11-13, entitled 'A Look At The Performance Management System'. Whilst the second was entitled 'Performance Management Addressing Your Concerns', this was published on 6-3-14 and closed on 26-3-14.

      In the absence of any response(s) from Sir Bob (or anyone else) we must assume that to all the hundreds of comments and suggestions have as usual been ignored! Which brings me to ask the question;

      Can anyone….anyone at all please explain to me the purpose of requesting comments on these blogs? Clearly no one bothers to read them and certainly no one will take any steps to change anything as a result of any of the comments made, regardless of how worthwhile they might be. Anyone……anyone at all?????

      • Replies to Dee>

        Comment by John posted on

        Thank you Dee for putting my mind at rest.
        I was beginning to think I had imagined the 700 plus comments!
        Can only agree with Cassandra below, that PMR is a subject that we are not allowed to debate, question, or even suggest improvements to.
        The damage this divisive system has already done to staff morale is beyond belief, and the continued silence from the SCS does nothing to help the situation.
        How much longer are we going to waste time that could be spent helping customers and doing the job we are paid for, blowing our own trumpets?.