The Civil Service is a resilient and adaptable organisation. Civil servants have shown this on countless occasions - from serving the first coalition government in 65 years during the last Parliament, to delivering a step change in efficiency and new ways of working after the financial crash.
You may have read here already about what the EU referendum outcome and what it means for the Civil Service. Clearly, the referendum set a new direction for the country and therefore new challenges and priorities for the Civil Service - ones that we are confident we can rise to.
At the same time, the world is changing in other ways too. Digital technology is transforming how people work and their expectations of the services they use, and society is more diverse than it’s ever been. And the recent report of the Iraq Inquiry has reminded us once again of the vital role good planning and sound processes play in ensuring that government operates effectively.
Against this background, we have used this year’s Civil Service Live events around the country to launch our vision for creating 'A Brilliant Civil Service' - one fully equipped to respond to current and future challenges. Our - and Permanent Secretary colleagues’ - commitment to that ambition won’t change in light of recent events. In fact, realising the vision of a Civil Service delivering robust policy advice and improved outcomes for the citizens it serves, with effective leaders and skilled people in a great place to work, will clearly help us to meet the challenge of the times.
Yesterday, the Minister for the Cabinet Office launched the Civil Service Workforce Plan. We would strongly urge you all to read it. The Plan sets out our workforce priorities for this Parliament and how they support the vision of ‘A Brilliant Civil Service’. A key part of the overall vision, it takes a longer term view of how we will develop our people to meet the challenges we face.
The Workforce Plan has been compiled with extensive input from across the Civil Service, and we’ve been testing parts of it at Civil Service Live. As respectively Head and Chief Executive of the Civil Service, we have been heavily involved in this process, and are fully committed to its implementation.
The Plan itself sets out how we will develop leaders at all levels who challenge and inspire us to be the best we can be. And how we will build career paths that encourage both breadth of experience and depth of expertise, while providing the skills we need to deliver world-class services. It describes how we will attract and retain people of talent and experience by encouraging greater movement into and around the Civil Service. One very early challenge, obviously, will be how to build up rapidly the necessary expertise to handle new national responsibilities as a result of the EU Referendum result..
The Plan also underlines our aim to be the most inclusive employer in the UK, so that we truly reflect modern Britain and understand the needs of an increasingly diverse society. And it will focus on developing a reward system that is fair to civil servants and the taxpayer - yet flexible enough to attract, retain and develop the very best talent, recognising hard work and success, and the value of vital capability in areas such as digital and commercial.
These actions will provide the Civil Service with the leadership, culture, skills and people to react flexibly to national priorities and deal with the unique and complex challenges we now face.
Above all, the Workforce Plan is designed to give you - and civil servants to come - the opportunity to make the most of your talent, motivated by our core values, an enduring commitment to public service, and pride in being part of the best Civil Service in the world.