Identifying skills within departments will be crucial to fillling the skills gaps across government that were identified in the Civil Service Reform Plan and Capabilities Plan, notably digital, commercial and project management skills.
However, when respondents were asked if their department or organisation has “a process for capturing skills information and sharing it across the organisation”, just 25% said “yes”, while 75% said “no”. This proportion was higher among HR professions: 43% said their department has such a process, suggesting that many staff are unaware of departmental skills-gathering systems.
Malcolm Stirling, government solutions consultant at Monster, said that HR teams in larger departments are having to be “evangelical” to implement new systems that map skills, because staff cannot see why they should be sharing this information.
The survey took place in August, and received 2022 responses from across Whitehall.
Respondents were asked to rate their departments’ progress against four skills-related aims set out in the Reform Plan (see graph above). The slowest progress, according to the survey, is in supporting mobility of staff between government departments and organisations: 71% of respondents said there has been “minimal” or “no improvement” in this area.
However, the Civil Service Reform Plan, published last July, set out an aim to have “much more sharing of services and expertise” across government departments.
Respondents were confident about the value of their own skills, and the future role they can play in delivering public services: 87% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “I understand the value of the skills that I have developed in the public sector”. Meanwhile, 68% said they were confident they could use these skills in “the new working environment that the Civil Service Reform Plan hopes to create”.
A Cabinet Office Spokesman said: “As part of our Civil Service Reform Plan we have published the Capabilities Plan to help transform the civil service into a high-skilled, high-performance organisation that’s less bureaucratic and more focused on delivering results. The [capabilities] plan identified four priority areas - leading and managing change; commercial skills and behaviours; project delivery; and digital - which will equip civil servants with the skills needed to deliver the services expected by the public in the modern world.
“Under the [reform] plan, all civil servants are entitled to at least five days learning and development each year. So far more than 100,000 civil servants have used the self-assessment tool which has been developed to help them make the best use of the training courses available.