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Civil Service

The People Survey 2016 - make your voice heard

Sir Jeremy at the Civil Service Board meeting, January 2015
Sir Jeremy Heywood

Today we launched the 2016 People Survey. Running until 31 October, it lets you share your views on every aspect of working in the Civil Service. How well do you think you are led? Are you fairly rewarded for what you do? Do you have the skills and technology you need to do your job well? How diverse and inclusive are we as an organisation? Do you feel you have real opportunities to develop and progress in your career?

People Survey call to actionYour views provide the best evidence of where we need to improve as an organisation. Our new vision - launched this summer at Civil Service Live – will help us guide that improvement: a vision of ‘A Brilliant Civil Service’ that reflects and understands the diverse society it serves, based on the pillars of ‘Improved Outcomes’, ‘Effective Leaders’ and ‘Skilled People’ in ‘A Great Place to Work’.

What you told us

It is really important that your voice is heard – what you say will directly influence real and observable change within your own work areas and the wider Civil Service. The results of the survey will set a challenge to leaders across the organisation about what needs to change. And the more people who take part, the stronger and clearer that challenge will be.  

What have we done to respond to what you told us in the 2015 People Survey?

The Leadership Statement, introduced in February 2015, began the work of explaining what being an effective leader means. When we asked for your views in the 2015 survey, you told us that your managers were more likely to measure up against the statement, than your senior leaders. Now, we are using the vision’s aspiration for ‘Effective Leaders’ to drive change across the Civil Service. We are also launching a leadership academy to provide world-class learning and embed the behaviours in the statement right across the Civil Service.

Respecting difference

We are also passionate about improving diversity and inclusion. On average, in 2015, 85% felt they were treated fairly at work by their colleagues, but this dropped to 72% when asked whether their organisation respected individual differences. Our expanded Fast Track Apprenticeship programme is giving people the opportunity to take the vital first step on their professional career ladder, regardless of their background. And, we are promoting these apprenticeships much more broadly across the Civil Service and beyond, to attract talented people from under-represented groups and lower socio-economic backgrounds, at the same time as making recruitment processes more inclusive.

New questions

We are proud of the progress we have made. But, there is still more to do.

More than 10% of respondents in half of Civil Service organisations said they had experienced bullying or harassment at some point in the last 12 months. This is unacceptable and so this year, we have added new questions on bullying and harassment that will provide us with greater insight into the proportion of incidents that go unreported, and the extent to which issues are being satisfactorily resolved.

You also told us that pay and remuneration continues to be a concern. That is why, under the Workforce Plan published in July, we will focus on developing a reward system that is fair to both civil servants and taxpayers, yet flexible enough to attract, retain and develop the best talent from all parts of society. We want to recognise commitment and achievement but also the value of the skills we need, such as digital and commercial, to provide the best possible service to the public.

To help us achieve even more next year, we are making further changes to the People Survey. For the first time, it will ask a sample of people about their awareness of and views on the new Civil Service Vision. The people survey feedback will help test the extent to which we are making the vision a reality.

Better outcomes

Graphic of 'A brilliant Civil Service' and four related themesThe People Survey only takes about 20 minutes to complete. So please share your views and be instrumental in creating the ‘Brilliant Civil Service’ that we can all be proud of and happy to work for. More contented organisations are generally high-performing ones, and for the Civil Service this means one that can deliver better outcomes for the people of this country.

Last year, 280,000 of you responded to the survey. That’s a response rate of 65%, and 5 percentage points higher than in 2014. Let’s beat that figure this year.

Check your local intranet or ask your manager for details on how to take part.

Follow Sir Jeremy on Twitter: @HeadUKCivServ

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  1. Comment by Anthony Butler posted on

    Where's the link to the survey? Been looking for 10 minutes.

  2. Comment by Charlotte Smith posted on

    Sir Jeremy
    Perhaps it would be beneficial if you could actually visit the "workshop floor" so to speak and engage with staff directly and i dont just mean in Whitehall. Get out and about the UK. Speak to people working in Cardiff, Newport, Liverpool, Wirral, Newcastle, Cumbria, and in Scotland. Get a real snapshot of ordinary civil servants who are working their shoes and socks off to provide a service and yet they themselves are struggling to make ends meet or laugh at the fairness of the system.

    I take myself as an example. I have multiple disabilities but have in the past been turned down for Disability benefits, the only concession i get is a travel pass. Yet i come into work, and work hard but am finding it hard to pay my bills. In fact one month i spent a few days living on baked beans until i got paid again. That is probably something you are not familiar with if you have not lived below the breadline. In order to be able to provide a better brilliant civil service you need to be able to care for the staff you employ by providing them with the means to live and feed themselves, and that means everyone earning on a starting salary of £23K which i believe is the average wage of people in the UK. Many of us are earning well below that figure.

  3. Comment by David Stoddart posted on

    I love Big Brother . I have won the victory over myself. This nonsense survey is trotted out each year as though filling it out brings you the wisdom of the ages. But it seems all it brings is happiness to the very senior management. Is their pay really related to how many fill it out? Shocked that some people are being disciplined. It's supposed to be secret and voluntary so how do they know if you've filled it out or not? I did fill it out this year unusually simply to lambast the senior bods. Anyway grant 20 mins to your flexi, (time taken to fill it out) so at least us downtrodden types get something out of it.

  4. Comment by Pliney the Elder posted on

    Sir Jeremy,
    I think I have just had some deja vu.
    I read some of the comments about the 2014 survey, they look surprising like the ones above.
    See -

    Why do the same comments and questions coming back?

    • Replies to Pliney the Elder>

      Comment by John posted on

      "what you say will directly influence real and observable change within your own work areas and the wider Civil Service. "......Looking at the same comments about the 2014 survey very little if anything has changed at all....!

  5. Comment by William Johnstone (MoD) posted on

    Sir Jeremy,

    I repeat my earlier question - do you need a staff survey to see that you have a serious morale problem within the civil service?

    Because, if the comments are an indicator of opinion, there is little faith among the workforce that there will be ANY improvements as a result of the findings of the survey. Especially if evidence from the last few years is taken.

    In the early part of this decade we were all, as you put it, "realistic about the pay restraint".
    But it is now is really beginning to hurt people and compromising the civil service's ability to do its job.
    Plus, there has been severe criticism of the PAR system for years. So much so that the MoD's PUS stated it isn't fit for purpose. Why wasn't this sorted out years ago, it's not as if this wasn't known, and when is it going to get sorted?

    As an example of how the MoD is struggling - there is an specialist engineering post in this office.
    It was gapped for 11 months. It was filled by a newly promoted C1 in his late 20s, who has been in post for little over 8 months. That person has had enough because he has often been working more than his 42 hours a week without payment; is not allowed to recruit staff; there is no money for training (or time); cannot get money for FATS support; and has an increasing workload. He has had enough and is looking for a job outside the MoD.

    Not to mention that the C2 post he left is still gapped.

    How does this make the MOD a Brilliant Place to Work?

    I'm sure other people will have equivalent stories, and I ask - are you aware of them and what are you going to do to help your workforce?

  6. Comment by Roger posted on

    If the 2016 People survey is now open. Why not include a link so that we can take part?

  7. Comment by A B posted on

    It appears to me that it's always too little too late if any actions at all are taken as a result of the Survey.

  8. Comment by Mike posted on

    'More than 10% of respondents in half of Civil Service organisations said they had experienced bullying or harassment at some point in the last 12 months'......
    Far too many staff experience discrimination and/or bullying & harassment. In the Scottish Government 2015 survey (8 and 9% of respondents, respectively) and in 2014 survey (7 and 8% of respondents, respectively). I despair, 100’s of voices that shout out through the staff survey…….is anyone listening? This just sucks the drive out of diversity….fight or flight?

  9. Comment by Jane posted on

    The above comments say it all. We are asked by senior management to fill out this survey to stop them getting into trouble for not communicating with us enough. Funny how they only acknowledge our existence , when there is something in it for them.This survey is a farce, which just perpetuates the myth that the Home Office cares about it's employees, it doesn't and management are only concerned about their own climb up the very greasy ladder.

  10. Comment by Vicky posted on

    It would be helpful if this blog or the comms issued to promote the survey actually provided a link to it. Coms 101 surely. Or if the search function on found it when you type in '2016 people survey'.......

  11. Comment by Cath posted on

    JFC have not allowed the MOD LEC workforce in British Forces Gibraltar to participate in this survey, yet we are governed by the “JFC Diversity Inclusion Statement” and subjected to the 'austerity' measures. What a joke!

    • Replies to Cath>

      Comment by Stan Smith posted on

      Cath, there's nothing stopping the staff filling it in despite local management guidance. Anyone with a DII account can complete the survey (which is of course one of the main reasons why the MOD survey is discredited).

      • Replies to Stan Smith>

        Comment by Nigel posted on

        Stan, anyone can actually complete the survey on their home PC as long as they have the link and entry code, and as these are freely available I do expect a significant number of areas to be over 100% completion this time. The whole system is a farce and will continue to be so as long as Contractors, Locally Employed Civilians and the Military continue to complete it. The Powers that be are aware of this and really do not care as long as the "tick in the box" survey has been completed.

        • Replies to Nigel>

          Comment by Catface posted on

          The local guidance states that it is up to your TLB who is able to complete the survey, when the fact is the TLBs (or anyone else for that matter) has no control over who completes it. Any member of the public can access the survey from home.

          Absolutely farcical beyond belief!!

  12. Comment by Paul posted on

    There are no links to the survey - what's the point of this?! Hardly demonstrating a 'brilliant civil service' is it (which I think is an insult given the years of pay restrictions and no pay progression).

  13. Comment by rick aston posted on

    The dwp keeps harping on about the customer experience and how we can make it better, the staff survey asks about managers leading etc etc.. well some managers have been overheard saying and i quote, (this has been toned down for publication protocols), " i'm not interested in customer service i'm only interested in stats" so what does that tell you about management and the staff survey ?..

  14. Comment by Ani posted on

    If you get rid of PMR validation/moderation the CS will be a better place to work with less stressed and happier staff. Give us a decent pay rise and increase the benefits in our compensation scheme. You'll get more positive results from the staff survey that way. I'm sorry if I'm stating the obvious.

  15. Comment by Penguin posted on

    I'm not sure what relevance the last part of the Staff Survey is, when it asks about general well being, and whether you were happy/anxious the day before, and how happy you are with life in general.

    Surely that will skew the survey results? If staff member were to put down what would be deemed as "negative feedback" and then respond with unhappy/anxious in the wellbeing section, that would be seen as a subjective bias.

    It could be viewed and analysed as, the staff member is unhappy with life in general, naturally they are bound to put negative answers down, which would therefore paint a gloomier picture that what it is in "reality". Which means their answers will not count, unfortunately.

    Call me a cynic but .... well played.

    Solution? Get rid of that part in it's entirety. It's irrelevant!

  16. Comment by Al posted on

    Having actually managed to access the survey ground to a halt straight away as the first question asks for your team code. Looked on HMRS and intranet. No help. Not making it easy for people to complete survey.

  17. Comment by A NOBODY posted on

    Another statistics exercise changed to suit those higher up who are receiving half decent pay packets for attending meetings whilst the rest of us do the work for a 1% pay rise no doubt

  18. Comment by Jason posted on

    We at Highways England Traffic Officer service are told we are no longer Civil Servants but we still are bound by the 1% pay increment of the Civil Service despite when we left the CS being told "as Highways England we will have much more ownership over things like pay etc" . Having your Cake and Eating it springs to mind - get rid of us then still make the rules! People Survey - POINTLESS or does sending it out mean we keep our Investors In People accreditation which I'm sure looks good on senior members PDP each bonus time - sorry I mean year.

  19. Comment by Joe posted on

    Reading through the comments here I guess I don't really see the point in doing this.

  20. Comment by Lizziedripping posted on

    I would have thought JH would have been able to research his article with a little more depth as apparently he's not attending many of TM's meetings at Number 10 nowadays. Very disappointed with the trite "successes" he has stated, doesn't amount to much really. He also could have added longer opening hours and meagre pay rises/actual pay cuts as a couple of things he's also managed to achieve.

  21. Comment by John posted on

    Beats me how you can make something 'brilliant' by introducing measures that make it worse!

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by William Johnstone (MoD) posted on

      Sir Jeremy,
      I think it obvious that the feedback to your blog and the survey has been, on the whole, very negative and showed a lack of belief that things will get better after the survey has been reviewed.
      Hence, I was wondering if you might respond with the senior civil service management's plans on how to actually improve the major issues and recurring points mentioned in this and other blogs.
      Mainly - Pay and the PAR system

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by Graham posted on

      I don't see anything brilliant. Less mixture of people and backgrounds;removal of promotion by merit; replacement by PMR(Fixed Ranking).
      As a disabled person I haven't seen great improvements either.

      The survey has lost credibility. "Newspeak" whereby everything is brilliant, will not change things.
      You can dismiss my and other comments but the unhappiness and dismay remains.
      Things will not improve unless staff are listened to.

  22. Comment by E - 07/10/2016 posted on

    Whatever the result it goes on deaf ears, listen to what staff have to say "were underpaid for our job challenging role's, stress is a factor due to pressure from above! Pay is a high factor Underpaid 1% pay rise is disgusting especially after finding out at Number 10 the staff there got a 24% pay rise!

  23. Comment by Jim posted on

    I was very pleased to see the section 'Respecting difference', but it uses the word 'lower' to describe socio-economic backgrounds from which you want to attract talented people. Why not say 'people from under-represented groups and socio-economic backgrounds?'

  24. Comment by David Hogg posted on


    You ask for our engagement.

    Is it any wonder some are reticent when we are forced (or should that read bullied) in to accepting less favourable terms and conditions again, five years after the last change.

    I refer you to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme reform - FAQs:
    No.3 What happens if the offer is not accepted?
    •If the Government’s offer is not accepted it will implement an alternative reformed scheme with less favourable terms to the same timescale.

  25. Comment by Dayo posted on

    I just want things to get better and continue to feel the hmcts is best of environment thats safe , enjoyable and accommodative to every individuals needs. We are not perfect but its the people thats makes that work regardless of the flaws . The key words is to trust and hope for the better

  26. Comment by Mark Parker posted on

    Finding time to send this as the Labour Market System is unavailable once again.

    Every year the staff survey asks us whether we have the tools to do our job properly. Every year many answer no because of the inadequacies of their I.T. systems. And what happens? Nothing.

    Not that I.T. is the only case in point. For years many expressed their dissatisfaction with pay in the civil service. For many years their concerns were ignored. And yes, eventually some did get a pay rise but because their department wanted to change their contracts rather than because of concerns raised in the staff survey.

    The tragedy is that the staff survey could be a worthwhile exercise if management acted on the major concerns raised and left staff to complete it without pressure, influence and spin. Every year we read the same depressing complaints about staff being given pep talks before completing the survey, instructions to base their answers on their local offices rather than their department as a whole, notifications that selecting one particular option will be taken to mean something else, people outside the civil service completing the survey and so on. Would any external academic or market research survey be considered reliable if its findings were obtained by this sort of methodology?

  27. Comment by Nigel posted on

    What utter rubbish; when you say that "we will focus on developing a reward system that is fair to both civil servants and taxpayers" how on earth do you propose to do this off with the drip feed of cuts and more cuts that we have endured these past few years. I would say that with these cuts and even more to come you will find it impossible to become "flexible enough to attract, retain and develop the best talent from all parts of society" How on earth with the 30% reductions do you propose to "recognise commitment and achievement but also the value of the skills we need, such as digital and commercial, to provide the best possible service to the public" when you have no clear plan to achieve the reductions, other than a draft on the back of a fag packet. Sorry but words are cheap and do not pay the bills, especially when the bills continue to rise and our pay continues to reduce in line with the "proper" cost of living. I would love to know exactly how many Civil Servants actually claim some form of benefit to top up their monthly pay since you began this cost cutting campaign.

  28. Comment by David Hague posted on

    Q: How well do you think you are led?
    A: Lions led by........

    Q: Are you fairly rewarded for what you do?
    A: No!

    Q: Do you have the skills and technology you need to do your job well?
    A: Skills yes, IT no!

    Q: How diverse and inclusive are we as an organisation?
    A: Irrelevant - best people for the jobs, no exceptions, get rid of the form filling competition and promote on ability.

    Q: Do you feel you have real opportunities to develop and progress in your career?
    A: No , in 3 years you are closing my office and throwing me on the scrap heap after what will be 30 years.

  29. Comment by P posted on

    Does anyone actually know where we can get a link to this survey? The MOD intranet does not have one on the home page.

    • Replies to P>

      Comment by Olivia posted on

      P- The link can be found in the top right corner of the MOD's intranet homepage. Click on the logo and it will lead you straight to the survey.

    • Replies to P>

      Comment by Nihal posted on


      If you have a look on the MOD Intranet - on the top right hand side of the page - you will see a link to the survey.

    • Replies to P>

      Comment by Nihal posted on


      The link to the survey is on the top right hand side of the MOD Intranet.

  30. Comment by Barry posted on

    In the article above, it says "Check your local intranet or ask your manager for details on how to take part." Perhaps I am over simplifying things, why not just put a link if maximum input is required?

  31. Comment by Anthony posted on

    "More than 10% of respondents in half of Civil Service organisations said they had experienced bullying or harassment at some point in the last 12 months"
    & yet The Cabinet Office itself is now guilty of bullying by saying if Trade Unions do not accept the CSCS offered, something else less favourable will be imposed. If this is not bullying then I do not know what is.
    Secondly it is about time the policy of 1% pay awards was scrapped, as this no way to reward loyal staff. I have been in the CS for over 25 years & reached the top of my pay grade (E1), yet I am now having to pay out ever increasing bill on a smaller take home.

  32. Comment by Smoggy posted on

    Managers know which members of their teams aren't pulling their weight, without PMR.

    I believe that whoever, views the survey only takes the ticky boxes into account and doesn't read peoples comments. I've commented in the past about how my colleagues and I are still turning members of the public away, who require assistance with their taxes (3 years after the IREC closed). I've also stated about how Building our Future is a done and dusted thing and isn't up for negotiation - so why bother with the farce of pretending that it is a "conversation" and they would like the views of the staff? They claim to value staff welfare, and "encourage" people not to be sick, but then take away work life balance - by asking staff to spend ½ a day commuting. Building our Future also won't do anything for the local economy, councils are struggling - council taxes are going up, shops are closing (due to high rents), even pubs are closing, Post Offices have to merge into shop corners.

    DVLA is now only in Swansea
    Guisborough and Hartlepool Magistrate courts=closed
    Norton (Stockton-on-Tees), Job Centre=closed, Hartlepool Job Centre has been threatened with closure many times.
    MoD, Eaglescliffe (Stockton-On-Tees)=closed
    DoTI, Billingham (Stockton-On-Tees)=closed

  33. Comment by Catface posted on

    The survey is an utter farce. Skewed by higher paid military and contractor input. So much so, that this led a year or two ago to Sir JH ludicrously claiming that Civil Servants were more satisfied with their remuneration package than in previous years. After years of pay freezes and a 1% pay cap how can this possibly be? Answer - The survey has been allowed to be deliberately distorted by Military and Contractor answers.

    The survey is invalid as it can be completed an infinite number of times, by someone purporting to be Civil Service, Military or Contractor as they please, just tick the relevant box.By selecting a random code, the person completing the survey can attribute themselves to whichever organisation they wish to.

  34. Comment by Marcus posted on

    A brilliant place to work? so why are so many people looking to exit as quick as possible? will the last person to leave what was the best civil service in the world please turn off the lights!!!

  35. Comment by John posted on

    The Civil Service Compensation Scheme is going to change
    "If the Government cannot secure agreement to these reforms from a sufficient number of unions it will implement an alternative package with less favourable terms."

    MOD Your Say:
    Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.

    Question E03:
    During the past 12 months have you personally experienced bullying or harassment at work?
    (x) Yes
    ( ) No
    ( ) Prefer not to say

  36. Comment by Disengaged posted on

    It's interesting that in HMRC we have been told that lots of things have changed because of the People Survey. But the department has published only three examples to support this. One 'improvement' is from the 2014 survey. And the improvements include people undertaking tasks which while worthy and far removed from what they should be focussing their efforts on. And, none are significant results from recent surveys.

    If there are noteworthy improvements - particularly from my business area - it would be good to hear about them. The silence is deafening.

    I have now received a link to 'Read how your views make a difference'. A bit late as I filled in the survey yesterday. I appreciate that the message goes a wide distribution so could take a couple of days to reach everyone. But hold on, when did our leaders decide to run a survey in October....?!

  37. Comment by Ashford posted on

    CS staff are the back bone of the MOD they are the constant where as Mil move every 2-3 years. Yet we are the ones under paid and at threat of being made redundant.

  38. Comment by David posted on

    Was the additional question regarding bullying added after being submitted by An Own to Act Group? Curious as it was my suggestion.

  39. Comment by Rich posted on

    So this is treated in the strictest confidence right? I'd beg to differ because when I go to start the survey the first question is asking for my "teams" identifying code. Which kind of blows my cover as I'm the only gay man in my department!

  40. Comment by Paul posted on

    So you've written a leadership programme and expanded a fast track apprenticeship scheme. Is that it?

  41. Comment by Josephina Zacaroli-Walker posted on

    Around 5 years ago I did a civil service apprenticeship as my skills gained as a senior manager in the blue chip private sector were considered by the civil service to be "out of date and no longer relevant". I am nearly 57 years of age, and each time I ask for career aspirational training it is rejected as it is "not relevant to my current job".
    Improvements to the fast track scheme is really good to hear; however why I am I still earning less after successfully completing my Civil Service Apprenticeship than the salary currently being advertised offering the same apprenticeship training scheme. I have been a Civil Servant for over 16 years.

  42. Comment by steve metcalfe posted on

    As D above states, how do you access this survey? There are no links and going on the intranet looking for civil service staff survey only gives results for the last three years.

  43. Comment by Jane Doe posted on

    I did the survey and told the truth. But the truth is not palatable. And next year it will b the same.

  44. Comment by Robert (HMRC) posted on

    The Civil Service (and especially HMRC who will be bottom of the results again) are so far removed from their staff it is a disgrace. People have no faith or trust in senior leaders to do anything other than to march on with their relentless changes and ignorance of the fact that you have staff who are real human beings. Lets all pretend we've improved things and trot out some generic examples so that we can channel staff into maybe not being so truthful in the Survey. As soon as the survey is past we'll see the usual token efforts which result in nothing for staff. Commitment to diversity and inclusion is particularly laughable given the continual erosion of terms and conditions and deliberate ignorance of the Equality Act.

  45. Comment by Lindsay Watt posted on

    If 'what we say will directly influence real and observable change within your own work areas and the wider Civil Service', then why hasn't anything been done to replace the iniquitous Performance Management System? Surely by now the powers that be must have got that particular message? The system is culturally biased. A quota process exists despite management denials. It drives perverse behaviour in some managers and Directorates where they look for their box 3 markings as a matter of priority without talking meaningfully to the individuals concerned. It also drives perverse behaviour in teams where individuals feel encouraged to claim credit for work done by others. Often those who 'shout the loudest' get the good markings and the quite ones get the box 3s. I am sure many colleagues can identify with this particular situation.

  46. Comment by Jessica Murphy posted on

    Would be good to see statements on changes in the Civil Service, not just stats. Also would be helpful to see the Leadership Statement, before the survey. I did not really know what I was answering to when asked about the statement.

  47. Comment by Fee posted on

    Do any of the above colleagues work in the same Civil Service I work in?
    I've seen many changes as a result of the surveys in the last few years and particularly recently. Maybe its to do with having a very proactive Staff engagement team here who help change things. Can I ask what the complaining colleagues have done to improve things int their own area of the business or do they just want to complain.
    Finally - have any of them worked in private sector?
    CS is a far better place to work in the main from my experience.

    • Replies to Fee>

      Comment by Pliney the Elder posted on

      Dear Fee,
      You appear to be in the minority, and I think most would agree when I say -
      * We have seen very few changes that improved the Civil Service over the last few years.
      * We have had posts gapped 11 month before replacements with the skills can be found.
      * Our pay has dropped – not in real terms or whatever, but actually less home each month.
      * We still have a PAR system that has been discredited by the PUS.
      * We have put suggestion after suggestion in (read previous Have Your Say Surveys) and the same complaints come up every year.

      Yes, I have worked in the private sector and agree that there are worse employers (far worse).
      But saying they are worse than us does not resolve any issue and the constant worsening of our Ts&Cs is an issue that management and unions should work to resolve.
      Are you saying that the Civil Service should try and emulate the bad practices of the worst employers?

    • Replies to Fee>

      Comment by Sean Nelson posted on

      It is common within DWP for local managers to tell staff to think about their own office when answering questions about DWP. Once you try to influence people like this the survey becomes meaningless. Similarly, suggesting low completion rates could result in office closures has the same diluting effect.
      The truth is that the survey has done nothing for staff, certainly in DWP, and I've yet to come across anyone who can describe anything tangible that it has done.
      To ask what "complaining colleagues" have done to improve things in their area is misdirected - local 'engagement groups' pay lip service to real change and usually become a mouthpiece for managers.
      What can I do, for example, to stop staff being referred for dismissal when absent due to cancer or depression? What can I do for disabled colleagues who are 74% more likely to receive a 'must improve' marking than their non-disabled colleagues? What can I do to stop managers talking nonsense like the one who came to my office and claimed opting in to the Employee Deal would result in a 5% increase to pensions for those on the max?
      This is just the civil service doing what it does best - adopting failed business ideologies abandonded by progressive employers years ago.

  48. Comment by Baz posted on

    Am I the only one who feels as though we're living in N. korea (or rather the version of what we're told N. Korea is like) From the time before any of these surveys are launched, all the way through to the final day, we're constantly reminded of them, and "urged" to make sure we make our feelings (sorry views) known, and, (just in case you're not sure and need "reminding"), a couple of positive examples are listed

    • Replies to Baz>

      Comment by Catface posted on

      I've made the comparison between our leaders and North Korea previously. Our pay, pensions and terms and conditions are being decimated, detrimental changes are imposed and we are threatened with worse if we dissent. Through all this, we are being portayed as being happy to be working for an employer we are told is good, modern and now, laughingly, brilliant. A few gullible employees are trotted out to participate in a Goebbels like proaganda excercise, telling us what a wonderful employer we have. Now I see the dislike buttons have been removed from blog posts because we are all portrayed as being a happy worforce and not allowed to show discontent.

  49. Comment by David H. posted on

    I can see a 'A Brilliant Civil Service' poster from my desk. The one word I can't read from here is 'Brilliant' because it is blue on blue. Why is this word not in (say) yellow to really make it stand out and be brilliant?

  50. Comment by D posted on

    Splendid. Received an email and thought "Right, I'll complete that". Read this whole page, not one link to the survey ????!!!!!!

    Then it says "Check your local intranet or ask your manager for details on how to take part."

    Checked local intranet, nothing ??!! (Despite the survey opening on 03/10/16)

    I feel asking a manager to be a step too far, one, I would have thought you would want this to be completed anonymously which this doesn't encourage. Two, how does this look for communication with staff ? I'm sure I shall reflect this in the survey, if I ever get to take it.

    I have been involved with staff engagement surveys in other sectors for the past 10 years or so, in my experience this none joined up approach is very damaging. Further to this most of the comments I have read seem very sceptical that any action has been/Will be taken. My advice is listen to these surveys or see a complete alienation of those you are looking to poll, don't get lost in the self- validation and own back slapping this page seems to elude to.

    • Replies to D>

      Comment by Sean Pennington posted on

      I think that each department chooses their own time for launching the survey (within the 3 Oct - 31 October survey window) - most having 2 or 3 week's for completion.. My department started yesterday, whilst others won't be starting until next week.... Maybe this is why you've heard nothing internal yet??

      I think though that this "blog" should have been written once all departments have gone live, at least everyone who have known about it by then.. Maybe something they should think of for next year?

  51. Comment by Joanne posted on

    The survey is all about the SCS and managers in your own Department. There is no opportunity to comment on wider Civil Service issues, such as the changes to the compensation scheme (and the shocking precedent set whereby Union disagreement with the suggested changes will lead to *worse* changes being enforced!). We can hardly blame individual Departments for central CS decisions, yet there is nowhere to comment on them.

  52. Comment by William MoD posted on

    Respectfully Sir Jeremy,
    Do you really need another Staff Survey to know what staff think and fell about the Civil Service?
    Aren't the above comments, and the hundreds of others in CS and MOD blogs, a sufficient indicator on the low morale?
    Confidence in management is averaging about 40% approval and satisfaction with pay has been dropping since 2009 to below 30%.
    We also now have the Civil Service is a Brilliant Place to Work and we're getting rid of another 30% of you. This leads me to 2 questions -
    1. How are you expecting the tasks to be done as there are already massive shortages in specialist skills in the MOD?
    2. How does a 10 year pay restraint and staff reductions of 30% make ANY organisation a Brilliant Place to Work?

    I'm afraid that the comments you made last year that we are all realistic and accepting of the pay restraint showed a lack of empathy and understanding towards the staff and the majority of us have little evidence or faith that it will improve.

    PS - I'd be extremely happy to be proven wrong.

    • Replies to William MoD>

      Comment by K J posted on

      very well said William, I also work for the MOD, and my biggest problem is that grades are not reflective to the work load. I work in IT, my team have many technical skills which compared with the outside world, they should be paid at least 20% more, but instead they are on the same scale as someone dealing with correspondance (no disrespect to them). I have no confidence in senior management as the only objective for them is to further their carreers.

  53. Comment by William MoD posted on

    Can I ask the civil servants in other departments - are your contractors allowed to complete the survey?

    In the MOD the contractors fill in the Civil Service staff survey.
    As the contractors have not had our years of pay restraint and the "wonderful" PAR system - I suggest that this may alter the figures in a more positive light.

    • Replies to William MoD>

      Comment by Dave C posted on

      Not just contractors; the military are basically ordered to fill it out too, if they work in a HQ, or have CS staff, or a CS boss, or if they fancy it.
      And of course they get paid roughly twice what the equivalent CS gets, so no surprise that they are more happy with their pay: Last year, 41% of military Agreed or Strongly Agreed that the pay was acceptable, compared to 24% of CS, so the final score for MoD was about 31%. Not reflective of the actual CS view.

      • Replies to Dave C>

        Comment by Dave C posted on

        Overall, the breakdown of responses to last year's Civil Service Survey was 63% CS, 35% Military, 2% Contractors.

        In Air, the figures were 48% CS, 52% Mil. So they can be sure they know how CS feel about certain issues. ;-p

    • Replies to William MoD>

      Comment by J posted on


      Not only contractors, but also military personel, both on superior T&Cs. We've already has a three line whip in our area for the military to complete the survey. They can complete their own surveys when the time comes, which CS are not allowed to touch.

  54. Comment by Antoni Chmielowski posted on

    Completed my survey, and I have no confidence that the Civil Service, as a whole, will act upon any negative criticism I may or may not have made.

    Instead we will have the usual picking out of any positive comments and they will be trumpeted , while the negative comments will be ignored as an inconvenient fact.

    The announcement of the negative changes to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme *may* lead to an increased response rate ......

    • Replies to Antoni Chmielowski>

      Comment by S posted on

      Well I remember a few years ago when they brought the new (despised) PMR system in, and tried to justify it on the back of a comment like "36% of you said that poor performance was not dealt with" - conveniently ignoring the 64% of us who were happy enough with the status quo!

  55. Comment by C posted on

    The only time I've ever known anything attempted to be done about the survey results was a few years ago the survey produced results saying that my team didn't think much of our managers. In response to this they ended up having a series of meetings between themselves and concluding that we had obviously misunderstood the questions and we might like them explained to us in future years. Is there really any point in filling the survey out if any results that arn't liked will simply be ignored.

  56. Comment by Si posted on

    i've just had my mind read by the above person ha.

  57. Comment by John posted on

    What have we done to respond to what you told us in the 2015 People Survey?
    Answer....not enough.
    You have ignored totally staff opinion on the devisive Performance and appraisal system, linked low pay increases to rewriting peoples contracts in the laughingly titled "Employee Deal", and penalised those who just wished to retain their existing contracts.
    To top it all you are currently reviewing redundancy packages to make it cheaper to get rid of the staff who haven't had enough and left already.
    I've already truthfully completed the survey, but it really is just a paper exercise if you fail to act on the outcome, and I urge you to do so now. Goodwill is evaporating rapidly among your workforce.
    As for "How well do you think you are led?".... In the DWP headline results for the 2015 survey revealed only 38% of staff had any confidence in decisions made by senior management. I expect this years results to be even lower.

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by Julia posted on

      I agree with your comments. The real causes of complaint are virtually ignored and not many people have any faith in senior management. In fact staff do not have much faith in middle management because the middle grades filter out any complaints from frontline staff when reporting to higher grades. I think they may be worried that complaints from their staff reflect badly on their performance as a manager.

  58. Comment by Bill posted on

    It is good to see that the annual forced say what your manager wants you to say has been launched.

    The perm sec of my department has stated in his email to all of us that there is no presure to complete the survey, yet we already have emails from district managers checking on completeion rates, and asking where we expect to be, and how we can raise that percentage.......and God help anyone that is critical of the system........

    • Replies to Bill>

      Comment by Stevo posted on

      Utter nonsence.

      We al express our concerns about pay and reward last year. How does the 1% pay cap and further cuts to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme contribute to a 'fair' reward scheme and a so called 'Brilliant Civil Service'.

    • Replies to Bill>

      Comment by S posted on

      No one can see what you individually say - take the opportunity to be critical if you want to!

      • Replies to S>

        Comment by Bill posted on

        There is a breakdown of comments by office, and some offices are smaller than others. It doesn't take much to work out who wrote what.

        A manager near me in the past was placed on a performance improvement plan as they didn't score highly enough.

        • Replies to Bill>

          Comment by Dave S posted on

          I was put on a PIP too, i wouldnt mind if my manager gave me my scores, but i scored myself, wont do that again, the system is not good and i find that it is inpersonable, some managers never talk or interview you, and if your unit is like mine no managers in post yet