Government's chief people officer Rupert McNeil reflects on 'an important year for the people agenda'

Written by Civil Service World on 7 January 2020 in Feature
Feature

As 2020 approaches, senior figures from across government reflect on their highlights and challenges of 2019, look ahead to the next 12 months and share their favourite festive memories

Credit: GDS / Flickr

What was your highlight of 2019?

The highlight was joining this year’s new recruits to the Civil Service Fast Stream at their induction event, Basecamp. Many of them were existing civil servants, and most have already been in a working environment for a few years. They were enthusiastic, passionate about the civil service’s purpose and its values, and were excited to start their first posting. There was great energy throughout the event and I’m really looking forward to working alongside this cohort over the years. After all, these fantastic people will lead the civil service in the next 20-30 years.

The civil service is now ranked number one in The Times’s “Top 100 Graduate Employers”. This is a great achievement and endorsement for the team who work tirelessly to support the fast streamers on the programme.

What has been the most significant change in your organisation this year?

2019 has been an important year for the people agenda. We have transformed the experience people have when they are considering joining the civil service, and the experience they have when applying for jobs. The Civil Service Careers website now features 32 departments and 14 professions. It’s a great example of a simple and collective solution that helps us attract talented people from all walks of life.

Success Profiles have been used across the civil service since January 2019, changing the way the civil service recruits and opening up recruitment to people from outside government.

The civil service is now ranked number one in The Times’s “Top 100 Graduate Employers”

This has also been the year we’ve been rolling out career pathways, helping civil servants navigate their way through their career, and access the right training, guidance and professional development along the way.

These are just some of the changes we’ve seen this year.

What will be the biggest challenge of 2020 – and how are you preparing to meet it?

I think there are great opportunities to capitalise on automation and use modern technologies to provide better services to our staff. There is so much we can learn from innovations in delivering public services, and one of the challenges of 2020 will be bringing as much as we can of this innovation into improving the experiences colleagues have when interacting with their employer – from applying for a job, to moving between departments.

Tell us a favourite festive memory from your youth?

At Christmas my wife Nicole always reminds us that one year when she was a new journalist on a regional newspaper, she agreed to cover the Christmas Day shift from home. An easy day’s work she thought. But just after she put the turkey in the oven, she found she had to leave to cover and write up a story about a riot in a nearby village. She does not recall what they were rioting about!

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