UK civil service reforms

July 12th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The BBC reports:

Some civil servants are “lazy” and need to be moved from their jobs, Britain’s top civil servant has said.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood was defending a scheme in which the bottom 10% of staff are targeted for improvement or moved out.

He also backed allowing ministers to “hand-pick” staff in their private office and limit permanent secretaries to five-year terms.

The last two things are already the case in NZ.

Sir Jeremy said suggestions top civil servants were opposed to a major revamp of the way the civil service operates, launched last year, were “wide of the mark”.

Under the scheme, the top 25% performers in each government department are rewarded – some with cash bonuses – and the bottom 10% identified for action to improve their performance or be moved out. 

No figures were available for the numbers who left their posts, but Sir Jeremy said there had been a willingness to implement the scheme, as “nothing annoys good civil servants more than seeing lazy civil servants going year after year without addressing that performance problem”.

Bonuses for the top performers, and assistance or moving on for the worst – sounds good to me.

Tags: ,

6 Responses to “UK civil service reforms”

  1. marcw (255 comments) says:

    Sounds good irrespective of the industry/service. (hint: Think teachers)

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Matt (227 comments) says:

    I wonder what Sir Humphrey will have to say about that!

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. northern (44 comments) says:

    For a number of years (late-90s/early-00s) in a NZ public sector agency I had a substantial portion of my total remuneration held “at risk”, dependent on performance in my upper-middle management position. A great incentive! But then we were taken over by another public sector agency which didn’t have such performance bonuses so they blithely rolled 100% of ours into our base salary! Nice for us but really a backward move, I’ve always thought.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. mavxp (492 comments) says:

    This needs to happen in all pseudo-government bodies like universities as well. Some appallingly lazy staff and it seems nothing anyone can do about it.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Random Punter (77 comments) says:

    To oblige Matt, I’ll slip into Sir Humphrey mode.

    “He also backed allowing ministers to “hand-pick” staff in their private office and limit permanent secretaries to five-year terms.

    The last two things are already the case in NZ.”

    There’s a downside to this. The public service doesn’t exist solely to do Ministers’ bidding. It’s also there to keep them honest, by pointing out what the legislation does and does not permit them to do, by alerting them to the possibly unforeseen implications of their policies, and by warning them when they’re in danger of exceeding their authority. In other words, not simply to be yes-men, but to offer frank and impartial advice of a kind which Ministers sometimes need but do not wish to hear. It’s difficult to do this when your job depends on the whim of the recipient.

    If you want to see the damage wrought by a minister who punishes those who have the temerity to offer him advice which isn’t to his taste, you have only to look at the current state of MFAT and its dysfunctional relationship with its minister.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Mike Readman (366 comments) says:

    I wish they had that at my work.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote