Jeremy Heywood urges civil servants to take part in 2016 People Survey

Civil service-wide staff survey "will directly influence real and observable change", vows cabinet secretary


By Civil Service World

04 Oct 2016

Cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has urged officials to share their views on life in the civil service, as the latest annual People Survey opened for submissions.

The People Survey is the civil service's primary way of tracking staff engagement, with almost 280,000 employees taking part in last year's government-wide exercise.

Writing on GOV.UK, Heywood said this year's survey would be open until October 31, and called on staff to beat last year's 65% response rate.


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"It is really important that your voice is heard – what you say will directly influence real and observable change within your own work areas and the wider civil service," he said.

"The results of the survey will set a challenge to leaders across the organisation about what needs to change. And the more people who take part, the stronger and clearer that challenge will be."

Heywood also sought to address a number of key themes that emerged from last year's people survey, including the fact that civil service pay and remuneration "continues to be a concern".

"That is why, under the Workforce Plan published in July, we will focus on developing a reward system that is fair to both civil servants and taxpayers, yet flexible enough to attract, retain and develop the best talent from all parts of society," the cabinet secretary said.

"We want to recognise commitment and achievement but also the value of the skills we need, such as digital and commercial, to provide the best possible service to the public."

The new survey would, Heywood said, also include specific questions on bullying and harassment, after last year's survey showed a rise in the proportion of civil servants saying they had experienced discrimination, the first uptick on this measure since the exercise began.

"More than 10% of respondents in half of civil service organisations said they had experienced bullying or harassment at some point in the last 12 months," said Heywood.

"This is unacceptable and so this year, we have added new questions on bullying and harassment that will provide us with greater insight into the proportion of incidents that go unreported, and the extent to which issues are being satisfactorily resolved."

The cabinet secretary also said he would be seeking to find out how widely the new "Civil Service Vision" – launched in June and focused on "improved outcomes", "skilled people", "effective leaders" and making the organisation "a great place to work" – was understood by the workforce.

"The people survey feedback will help test the extent to which we are making the vision a reality," he wrote.

Staff wishing to take part in the survey are advised to contact their managers or check their departmental intranet. As ever, CSW will be taking a detailed a detailed look at his year's findings when they are published at the end of the year.

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