DExEU staff turnover ‘higher than premier league football managers’

Freedom of Information reveals staff churn continues at key Brexit department

Photo: PA

By Mark Smulian

04 Sep 2018

The Department for Exiting the European Union has a higher staff turnover than that of English premier league football managers, the Liberal Democrats have said in response to figures on departures of civil servants.

Freedom of Information responses by the department to Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake showed 357 staff had quit since it was founded in July 2016, equivalent to just over half (53%) the current total.

Brake said this exodus showed “deep instability” at the heart of the key Brexit department.


Departmental figures showed DExEU had 668 staff as of June this year, against 447 a year earlier. At its launch in 2016 there were 115 staff.

The number who had left to date totalled 358.

This is the latest report to highlight the high turnover of staff at the department. Last December, the Public Accounts Committee urged the civil service to address the “alarmingly high” staff churn rate in the department, while Civil Service World has also been told officials appeared to be passing through the new Department for Exiting the European Union to boost their careers.

There was also a staff swap around 50 people from the department after Theresa May removed powers for negotiating Brexit from the DExEU and moved them to the Europe Unit in the Cabinet Office, headed by the prime minister’s Europe advisor Olly Robbins, in July.

Brake said: “[It] would appear that the government’s Brexit department turnover is higher than that for managers in the English Premier League.” Nine of 20 premier league clubs changed their manager during the last season, or 45%.

A DExEU spokesperson said: “DExEU was set up as a time-limited department [so] the majority of our staff are employed on fixed-term contracts or are loaned from other government departments, and many have been drawn from civil service talent streams.

“Many of those who have left to date have moved on to other government departments because their loan or rotation ended. Only a small minority have actually left the civil service.”

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