Civil service needs stable and unified leadership, says FDA

Commenting on the announcement that Sir Bob Kerslake is to stand down as Head of the Civil Service, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said:

"The civil service will face a greater challenge over the next Parliament than it has since 2010, with further cuts in resources that will match - if not exceed - those delivered already.

"What the civil service needs is stable and unified leadership to face up to those challenges, both in terms of its internal structure at the top and critically, between officials and Ministers.

"The speculation around Sir Bob's position - and the off-the-record briefings that have accompanied it - will have done little to reassure civil servants of politicians' and Ministers' understanding of the qualities of leadership, which MPs themselves are often so quick to accuse public servants of lacking.

"Squaring the circle of centrally-driven reform in a delegated departmental structure, and matching the ever-increasing demands with ever-reducing resources, whilst also maintaining and improving the quality services the public expects, is not a challenge for the faint hearted.

"If the new role of Chief Executive is to succeed and genuinely deliver the pace of reform that the Government says it wants, then it will need the support of Ministers in departments as well as at the Cabinet Office."

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union for the UK's senior public servants and professionals. FDA membership includes more than 19,000 senior civil servants, Government policy advisors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors, prosecutors and other professionals work across Government and the NHS.

2. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

3. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at

4. For further information contact:

· Dave Penman, General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07967 503827.

· Kay Hender, Communications Manager, tel: 020 7401 5589 or 07980 700747.