DWP and Ministry of Defence bore brunt of civil service job cuts in Q3 – ONS

Latest workforce data from the Office for National Statistics shows civil service shrank by 1.4% in Q3

By Matt Foster

16 Dec 2015

Staff cuts at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) contributed to a further fall in the size of the civil service during the third quarter of 2015, according to the latest figures.

New public sector workforce data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that, as of September 2015, civil service employment stood at 425,000. This represented a fall of 6,000 (1.4%) on the previous quarter, and took the size of the workforce down to what the Cabinet Office called "a new post World War II low".

According to the ONS, the fall was largely driven by reductions at the DWP, which shed 4,630 roles, and the MoD arm's length body Defence Equipment and Support, whose workforce was cut by 1,000.

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The Home Office also shed 590 jobs, although there was increase of 360 posts at the National Offender Management Service and of 300 at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, which brought its IT staff in-house during the period. 

Total employment at non-departmental public bodies also fell by 530 over the quarter, the ONS said. 


Building on the ONS stats, the Cabinet Office published its own analysis shedding more light on the make-up of the civil service workforce.

Women now represent 53.9% of all officials, the Cabinet Office said, up from 53% in 2010. Women also now make up 38.6% of the senior civil service, a rise of 0.7% on 2014.

According to the Cabinet Office, 10.6% of the civil service now declared themselves as coming from a minority ethnic background, up from 9.2% in 2010. However, while 8.9% of the civil service have a declared disability – up from 7.8% in 2010 – there was a 0.2% year-on-year fall in the representation of disabled people in Whitehall's top rank.

The civil service has shrunk by 20% since 2010, with full-time equivalent headcount now down by 99,000 over the past five years. 

On the back of chancellor George Osborne's Spending Review, the Office for Budget Responsibility last month predicted that the public sector workforce – which includes NHS and local government staff as well as civil servants – would shed a further 100,000 staff by the end of the decade.

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