Staff numbers at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have marked a double-digit increase over the past 12 months, workforce data shows.
The recently-renamed ministry – which was known as the Department for Communities and Local Government until prime minister Theresa May gave it rebrand in January – said its efforts to respond to the Grenfell Tower tragedy and work to step up housing delivery were behind its swelling ranks.
According to its own statistics, MHCLG had 1,724 full-time staff working at the core ministerial department as of March this year, up by 17.4% from its figure of 1,468 in March last year.
The data showed that Senior Civil Service staff at the department had increased from 75 full-time equivalents to 96 over the period, a rise of 28%. FTE numbers at Grade 6 and 7 increased by around 20% to 562, while senior executive officer and higher executive officer count was up by around 15% to 698 FTEs.
Executive officer full-time equivalents were up 20% to 244, while administrative officer and administrative assistant numbers were up by 13.5%. to 72. The remainder of the 1,724 figure were interim managers and specialist contractors, numbers of whom actually dropped in comparison with the previous year.
An MHCLG spokesman told Civil Service World that the ministry was a “growing department” and that the increases in staff numbers were due to the response to the Grenfell tragedy in June last year, which has claimed 72 lives, and the government’s increased focus on increasing housebuilding rates.
Although MHCLG is not alone in bucking the trend for a shrinking Whitehall, other areas of growth in the recent months have been distinctly Brexit related.
In September last year think tank the Institute for Government noted that staff numbers in Whitehall had risen for five consecutive quarters since June 2016 – the month the UK voted to leave the European Union.
It said the ranks of the civil service had swelled from a post-Second World War low of around 384,000 to 392,000, with a distinct trend for growth at more senior grades.
Despite MHCLG’s year-on-year growth, it still has 12% fewer staff than it did in March 2011, 10 months after David Cameron’s coalition government came to power and ushered in the current period of austerity.