Fast streamers and secondments ‘the reason for DExEU staff churn’

Brexit department highlights use of fast streamers as among the reasons why over 500 civil servants have left the Department of Exiting the EU since its creation in July 2016

Photo: PA 

By Richard Johnstone

05 Mar 2019

The Department for Exiting the European Union has insisted that its use of civil service talent programmes such as the Civil Service Fast Stream is the reason for its high staff turnover rates.

The Daily Mirror reported yesterday that just under a quarter of the department’s staff – 159 of around 728 – left the department in the last six months of 2018, despite the UK possibly leaving the EU without a deal at the end of this month.

A total of 516 staff left from its creation in July 2016 to last December, according to Freedom of Information requests from the newspaper,


DExEU has long faced scrutiny over its staff turnover rate. Last December, the Public Accounts Committee civil urged the civil service to address the “alarmingly high” rate of staff churn in the department, while Civil Service World has also been told officials appeared to be passing through the Brexit department to boost their careers.

However, a DExEU spokesperson told Civil Service World that more than three-quarters of its staff said they were happy at work in response to the latest survey.

"The staff turnover reflects the nature of the department – DExEU was set up as a time-limited department and because of this the majority of staff have fixed term contracts or are on temporary loans from other government departments.

“We also have a significant number of staff from talent programme such as the Civil Service Fast Stream who join the department for short postings, usually of around six months.”

The department has also previously highlighted that many of those who have left to date have moved to other government departments because their loan or rotation has ended. Only a small minority have actually left the civil service.

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