Liz Truss braces for Westminster revolt from civil service
New research has laid out how easy it is for civil servants to avoid facing consequences for their actions – but the facts have also laid bare an unusual trend.
Out of 310,320 civil servants, just 248 were under performance review and as few as 24-44 were dismissed for poor performance.
Compared to this low figure, the research also reveled that almost ten times as many civil servants “died in service”.
The research was gathered from 11 Government departments via Freedom of Information requests by the group Effective Governance Forum.
The EGF, a cross-party campaign group calling for improved public services and arguing the cost of government can be reduced by moving power out of Whitehall, says the figures demonstrate that civil servants’ jobs are “pretty cushy”.
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The 11 departments that provided the figures represent around 60 per cent of the total civil service headcount, though six departments – including some that have come under particular fire for their handling of various crises and rows – refused to provide their own figures.
Among those departments that failed to disclose their rate of dismissals were the Home Office and the Foreign Office, whose handling of the small boats crisis and the evacuation from Afghanistan respectively have led to questions about the departments’ competence.
Of the figures revealed, the tiny number of civil servant sackings represent around 0.01 per cent.
This is in comparison to the private sector, where the OECD estimates the average dismissal rate of staff to be between 3 and 4 per cent.
This is more than six times higher than in Whitehall.
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Patrick Barbour, the EGF’s founder, said the figures show the UK’s system of governance is preventing poor performance being penalised.
“This is a major cause of low productivity in the public sector, which has seen the fastest growth in the workforce in half a century. Our system of government is broken and needs radical reform.”
Tim Knox, also of the campaign group, added: “Many have felt for some time that a job in the civil service can be pretty cushy. Despite the many examples of government breakdown, these data show that hardly anyone ever gets sacked for poor performance.
“This can only be a failure of management – and the sooner this is recognised and acted upon, the better. To do nothing about it would be unfair on taxpayers, unfair on those Civil Servants who do actually work hard, and unsustainable.”
Conservatives have spent years deriding The Blob, the idea that civil servants, trade unions, quangos and parts of the media, have been deliberately frustrating their democratic mandate in order to get their own way.
From Brexit to woke policies, the Government has found itself repeatedly battling groups with power and vested interests in order to exert control and resist such slides to ‘wokeness’.
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