Civil service remains at smallest size on record

Written by Richard Johnstone on 15 March 2017 in News
News

Staff numbers at lowest level since 1999, but unchanged for last nine months

The number of people employed in the civil service remains at the lowest level on record but the pace of the decline in staff levels has slowed, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

In its latest quarterly employment update, the ONS reported that the number of civil servants stood at 416,000 in the last three months of 2016, a level unchanged since the second quarter of the year.

Since a peak of 566,000, set in the three months to June 2005, the number of civil servants has generally been falling, the statistics body stated. The largest decline took place from March 2011 to March 2013, when civil service numbers fell by 65,000. Although the rate of decrease has now slowed, the ONS said the civil service remains at its smallest since the start of comparable data in 1999.

Overall public sector employment in the last quarter of 2016 stood at 5.436 million, down 1,000 from the previous three months.

Although civil service employment is at record low levels, employment across the whole of central government was up 27,000 in the three months. It now stands at 2.975 million, the highest level since 1999. This is due to staff working for academy schools being categorised by the ONS as central government employees, rather than local government.

Employment levels in the NHS also continued to rise, reaching 1.6 million, the highest level since comparable records began in 1999.

About the author

Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy editor and tweets as @RichRJohnstone

Share this page

Further reading in our policy hubs

Add new comment

Contact the author

The contact details for the Civil Service World editorial team are available on our About Us page.

Related Articles

Dave Penman on life and taxes

24 April 2017

Momentous life events remind us why the last thing we need is politicians playing fast and loose...

Latest civil service & public affairs moves — April 24

24 April 2017

New appointments in the civil service, UK politics, and public affairs, via our colleagues at...

Jenkin urges government to tackle cyber interference before election

24 April 2017

Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee calls for government to quicken...

Related Sponsored Articles

BYOD: The critical balancing act
3 April 2014

How can organisations allow employees to use their own devices to access corporate information...

Bringing government data to life
8 June 2016

Microsoft shows a few of the ways that governments can turn data into insight

Mind the Gap
3 April 2014

Given the rhetoric surrounding the shift to the modern workplace and the importance of centring...

The value of Unified Communication in practice
12 May 2014

There is no doubt that the innovative use of technology within the UK’s public sector is fast...