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The Civil Service Commission won’t reform the appointment process for permanent secretaries without the backing of the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC), first civil service commissioner Sir David Normington has told CSW.
Permanent secretaries’ tenure is too short and the high turnover is sometimes to blame when “things go wrong”, according to former cabinet secretary Lord Butler, who also warned that civil servants “aren’t encouraged to speak truth to power”.
Three-quarters of former secretaries of state surveyed by Civil Service World support the calls for a commission to consider how the civil service should develop and reform.
Baroness Martha Lane Fox is stepping down from her role as the government’s digital champion, after more than three years in the job.
But if the Treasury gives way, civil servants could do the job.
One of the two remaining consortia bidding to run the Ministry of Defence agency Defence Equipment & Support has pulled out of the competition, leaving chief of defence materiel Bernard Gray’s plans for a ‘Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated’ organisation in disarray.
The Home Affairs select committee is today calling on the home secretary to rethink her decision to ban khat – a plant which has a stimulant effect when chewed – and warns that the decision has “not been taken on the basis of evidence or consultation”.
The government should send more civil servants to the European Commission (EC) as part of their regular career paths, chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has said.
The Major Projects Authority (MPA) is extending its range to cover 100 more projects from next year, CSW has learnt.
HMRC has opened a voluntary redundancy scheme in an effort to lose around 2,000 staff. Three quarters work in personal taxes and compliance, while a further 480 work in debt management and banking.
Prime minister David Cameron has called on civil servants to “talk truth to power and tell it like it is” in order to improve policy.
The gov.uk website is to be adapted to ensure that the civil service communications profession can more easily use it to run campaigns, the government’s executive director for communications Alex Aiken (pictured below) has told Civil Service World.
Cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood has intervened in a bid to end the political briefings against work and pensions permanent secretary Robert Devereux.
The civil service must “significantly” improve its ability to understand company accounts if it is to make effective use of open-book contracts, according to government chief operating officer Stephen Kelly and chief procurement officer Bill Crothers.
The annual Civil Service People Survey (CSPS) shows increased satisfaction with training opportunities this year, but another fall in scores associated with pay and benefits.
The Civil Service Commission has published the rules under which individuals can be appointed as civil servants providing support in Extended Ministerial Offices (EMOs). The rules, welcomed by the FDA trade union, set out a number of safeguards designed to ensure that appointments do not compromise the independence of the civil service.