Over 11,000 civil service jobs created since Brexit vote, review reveals

Written by Richard Johnstone on 23 March 2018 in News

2018 "set to be a big year for civil service recruitment" as Brexit preparations increase, says IfG

Photo: PA

An analysis of civil service employment figures by the Institute for Government has found that the civil service has grown by 11,500 posts since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016.

The review of the latest civil service employment figures published this week by the Office for National Statistics confirmed that an increase in employment had essentially reversed the staff reductions made in the departments most affected by Brexit, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Home Office.

However, IfG researcher Aron Cheung highlighted that while the Brexit referendum represented a turning point in civil service job numbers, which stand at 427,000 up from a low of 416,000 in late 2016, it was not the only reason.


“The pace of cuts was already slowing by late 2015, and many of the new jobs are not related to Brexit: HM Prisons and Probation Service, for example, is currently recruiting up to 2,500 new prison officers,” he said.

“In senior civil service grades, staff numbers have been rising since 2012, and some of the increase in civil service numbers reflects staff being transferred from public sector bodies (which technically are not part of the civil service). For example, in the most recent quarter some 900 staff members moved from the Environment Agency to Defra.”

Cheung also highlighted that the IfG had estimated that by March 2019 preparing for Brexit will have cost Whitehall £2bn, a significant proportion of which will be spent on additional staff.

He also noted that chancellor Philip Hammond had made departmental funding allocations for Brexit in the Spring Statement, headed by the Home Office’s £395m and £260m for HMRC. “This again indicates that in preparing for Brexit, some of Whitehall’s important operational departments will have to invest in a bigger workforce over the coming year. After years of staff cuts, 2018 looks set to be a big year for civil service recruitment,” he added.

About the author

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

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