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Civil Service

Civil Service transformation - my speech at the LSE

On Wednesday 24 January, I spoke at the London School of Economics (LSE) on the subject of Civil Service transformation.

I began by setting out our ambition to be ‘A Brilliant Civil Service’, the best in the world.

The transformation that will help us realise this ambition is already under way. We now have the challenge of Brexit to add to the pressures for change coming from financial stringency, advances in technology, and the expectations of an increasingly diverse society. But, as I said at the LSE, we have a moment, an opportunity, to accelerate the pace of change, using preparations for Brexit as a spur, not a distraction.

That acceleration will be fuelled by the deep changes in progress in how we work and who we are - the human face of the Civil Service. Critically, it will involve reshaping the workforce, shifting the balance of experience and skills, and forging new career paths for our people around the core Government Functions. My vision is for us to be as effective in execution of policy, services and procurement, and in project management, as we are in policy making.

None of this will be easy to achieve, but we are on the way. We have a great prize in view, and we all have a role in grasping it.

If you have the time, do please click here to read what I said in more detail and find out what Civil Service transformation means for you

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  1. Comment by Simon posted on

    A 'brilliant civil service' will only happen if it has the full support of staff.

    Given changes to pensions/redundancy terms/attendance management, to name but 3, I can't see that happening.

    That's without stagnant pay for a decade, no chance of pay progression and some having to face massively extended commutes (or redundancy).

  2. Comment by c posted on

    If and when new technology gets brought in to the way we work would it be too much to ask that those of us who will actually have to use it at the coalface be consulted about what we need it to do, and how it's needed to operate ?

  3. Comment by David Sangster posted on

    A mixed bag from John Manzoni - I agree we need to value experience over the merry go around approach of moving from one post to another as the CS has tended to over value breadth of experience and under value depth. I applaud the ambition to effect 'profound, lasting transformational change' , but am not convinced in putting all our eggs in the technological basket is the intelligent approach. Existing structures are proving resistant to change. Can we really take a Senior Civil Service seriously in the 21st Century? It is a Dickensian throwback and ends up making those in it sound like 'don't do as we do, do as we say'. The existence of executive agencies within departments is deeply discriminatory to those in the agencies as they are treated like hired help and in DfE are victims of unconscious bias as the core department raises the drawbridge and doesn't allow the breadth of experience to be admitted into its job opportunities. The constant focus on efficiences leads to the de-motivated workforce as stagnant salaries are overtaken by inflation and IT investment diminishes any sense of belonging to an office or having any confidence in the IT working. The same pain is being inflicted on the general public where physical offices are replaced with telephone menus and IT logic that defeats all but a MENSA applicant - is this brilliant civil service or just a nightmare? Somebody please wake me..

  4. Comment by jackie posted on

    I work Customer facing-and get many complaints that "all I want is to speak to a Person!" many claimants Hate the telephony system-prefering face to face-especially Older cutomers/claimants-who have no access to "smart" phones or IT-not everyone in the UK is "wired up"-a bit more thought and consideration for a large chunk of the UK population-would not go amiss.

  5. Comment by A Williams posted on

    A Brilliant Civil Service with pay that has stagnated for 10 years. My pay has only gone up by £24 per month since 2008, yet during that time my train fare has gone up by over £10 per week! This clearly shows how much staff are valued. Why do none of these people ever mention that its time to lift the pay cap?

  6. Comment by Ian McLoughlin posted on

    The speech is a great insight into the thinking of senior people in the civil service and our direction of travel. It is great to see the mention of diversity with no reference to gender, race etc, but insight and experiences instead. It is the wide range of insights and experiences (ways of thinking etc) that add value.

    My only word of caution is around the the constant drive to focus on technology as the solution to improve ways of working. Technology is often not the right solution and may lead to making ways of working more challenging and increases costs.

    If you want to improve how we work you must design an effective and efficient way of working with the outcome or customer at the centre, then and only then, look at how technology can support the ways of working.

    More importantly, you must have active accountability for ways of working and greater collaboration, and systems thinking is a cracking way of doing this.

  7. Comment by John posted on

    To quote Mr Manzoni "I see no sign of such negativity".
    In that case please visit some of the offices that are closing as part of the "Building For Our Future" scheme. I'm sure you will see plenty.

    • Replies to John>

      Comment by Gareth Jones posted on

      He just thinks he's channelling Nelson.