FDA in the media 2013

Links or notices of FDA mentions in the media from 2013

18 December

The latest issue of Civil Service World included an opinion piece by FDA General Secretary Dave Penman, examining the big issues of 2013 and looking at some of the challenges expected over the year ahead.

Penman used a ‘glass half-full or half-empty’ approach to deal with each pertinent issue from the past year, adding that “the challenge to deliver reform with significantly and increasingly reduced resources continues unabated.”

He saw positives in the ‘Civil Service Reform Plan: One Year On’, as it was “refreshingly honest, recognising where more needed to be done.” However, this was “tainted by the blunt and ideological attack on terms and conditions [which] remain a bone of contention. Savings will be miniscule compared to the erosion of trust.”

Penman also referred to the lack of a “balanced discussion” over total reward, “with the Government continuing to ignore evidence of the yawning chasm between senior staff reward levels in the private and public sectors. This issue will not go away, as the Government struggles to recruit and retain the talent needed to carry out its work.”

Looking to 2014, he said: “For the civil service to continue serving the British people to the best of its ability in the challenging fiscal and political environment ahead, it needs stability. At our alternative White Paper launch it was noted that, for the first time since the Second World War, all three main political parties have recent government experience. Given that whoever wins the election will be left with similar challenges, is there an opportunity here to establish some cross-party consensus on civil service reform? Will politicians be up to that challenge?”

Read the full article:
Opinion: Dave Penman, FDA

10 December

London daily business paper City A.M. included an opinion piece from FDA General Secretary Dave Penman, on the subject of IPSA’s proposed recommendation to increase MPs’ pay by 11% in 2015.

Alongside an article by Political Director of the Taxpayers’ Alliance Jonathan Isaby, which opposed the pay rise, Penman outlined the importance of keeping MPs’ and public servants’ pay out of the political arena.

He said: “News that MPs could be paid £74,000 a year from 2015 – an 11% pay rise – has been met with widespread outrage. But it’s time public sector pay, including that of MPs, stopped being used as a political football. It should be a reasoned, fair and considered matter, as it would be in the private sector.

“The decision in 2009 to set MPs’ pay via an independent body was the right one in the wake of the expenses scandal. MPs’ pay needed to be dealt with independently and fairly.

“The debate on MPs’ pay has not highlighted any weaknesses in the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority’s (IPSA) analysis or argument. It’s as true for MPs as it is for other sectors that reward plays a critical role in recruiting and retaining the best talent.

“We want the best people running our country. The answer is not to brush IPSA’s recommendations under the carpet, it’s to apply this evidence-led approach to setting pay throughout the public sector.”

Read the full City A.M. article:
Are UK politicians right to criticise plans to award MPs an 11 per cent pay rise in 2015?

6 December

The FDA’s and ARC’s responses to the 2013 Autumn Statement were featured in The Guardian online.

In a round-up of reactions on the Guardian Public Leaders Network, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said: “"The Chancellor has once again used the Autumn Statement to announce further cuts in departmental budgets beyond those already planned. And once again there was no indication of what he expects departments to stop doing, with resources being so dramatically reduced.

"By 2015 departmental budgets will have been cut by just under a quarter, yet the demands being made of the civil service continue to increase, with radical changes to welfare, business regulation and criminal justice primed to continue at break-neck speed. The government is creating a perfect storm of unrealistic demands and low pay for those delivering key public services. Something has to give and it can be no surprise that many of the most talented and senior staff are increasingly considering careers elsewhere."

ARC President Gareth Hills commented on the Chancellor announcing new measures to tackle tax avoidance and evasion: "ARC welcomes the introduction of a new power requiring taxpayers using avoidance schemes that have already been defeated in the courts to pay the tax they are trying to avoid upfront. However, the Chancellor could have gone further by introducing a penalty or surcharge regime for all users of avoidance schemes on tax finally payable over and above amounts returned as due.

"The Chancellor said it would be economic madness to increase the rate of corporation tax. The real economic madness is that the Chancellor, along with this Government, does not recognise that sustained and additional investment into HMRC is part of the solution to closing the tax gap.

"In not taking up ARC's Budget 2013 proposals of investing £312m for a return of £8bn the Government continues to miss the opportunity to grab the most compelling invest to save argument ever."

Read the full Guardian Public Leaders Network article:
Autumn statement 2013: key points and expert comment for public leaders

Read the FDA’s press release:
Government continually cutting departmental budgets while expecting exceptional civil service results is unrealistic, says FDA

Read ARC’s press release:
ARC Autumn Statement response: The real economic madness is to not invest in HMRC

Penman was also quoted in The Mirror’s and The Daily Record’s coverage of the Autumn Statement, alongside General Secretaries of the PCS, GMB, Unite and Unison trade unions.

Penman said: "As the Government continues to roll out radical changes to welfare, business regulation, the criminal justice system and border control, budgets for the departments delivering these reforms are again being decimated.

"Criticism of the civil servants implementing these multibillion-pound projects continues unabated, while the civil service struggles to cope with reduced resources and corrosive pay levels."

Read the full Mirror article:
Autumn Statement at a glance: George Osborne's announcements on pensions, tax, jobs, business and more

Read the full Daily Record article:

Autumn Statement live video stream and analysis: George Osborne unveils spending and tax cuts in mini-Budget

The FDA was also mentioned – in its previous guise of the First Division Association - in Sue Cameron’s Telegraph blog, referring to Lord Levene’s latest review of Ministry of Defence reforms and the furore that occurred 30 years ago when Levene was put in charge of MoD procurement.

Cameron notes “the very fact that he was an outsider who had not spent his entire career at the ministry put the backs up of the top brass but when they found out how much he was going to be paid all hell broke lose. MPs went on the attack, the mandarins’ trade union then known as the First Division Association, was furious and the popular press was scathing.”

Read the full Telegraph blog:
If the public sector wants superstars then it needs to pay top dollar

2 December

Penman was quoted in the most recent issue of Civil Service World, in a special report on civil service accountability. 

The publication surveyed former Secretaries of State amongst others for their views on the future of the civil service, including whether a Commission is needed and what they think about Ministers’ personal appointments to Extended Ministerial Offices (EMOs). 

On EMOs, Penman expressed fears over “ the danger that ministerial offices staffed by personal appointees will ultimately be loyal to their minister, not the taxpayer.” 

However, he admitted to having less concern following the publication of the Civil Service Commission rules created to govern this process, seeing them as a “really good way of trying to find a balance between the demands of ministers for greater support, and the necessity to have that political objectivity that’s at the core of the civil service. 

“Ministers are going to have to account for the fact that they are extending ministerial offices at a time when departments are shrinking, but one of the advantages of this process [as set out by the CSC] is all of that will be visible.” 

Read the full Civil Service World article:
Special Report: Civil service accountability

19 November

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Shelagh Fogarty programme, discussing imminent Government guidance expected to give Ministers power to personally appoint up to ten extra staff to form Extended Ministerial Offices (EMOs).

Interviewed alongside Akash Paun from the Institute for Government, Penman said: “When the announcement was made in July we had serious concerns about them being personally appointed by the Minister and the creation of a political group within a department.

“But I think the rules as they have been published by the Civil Service Commission address a number of those concerns: it has to be an individual who brings in an expertise, or an experience that’s not currently available; it’s time limited; they have to be managed by an existing civil servant; and there’s greater oversight if any individual has previously worked for the Minister or worked for that political party. I think there’s a sensible set of arrangements that have been brought into play for this, which hopefully address most of the concerns that we had.”

Penman admitted that some concerns remain: “What happens when a Minster moves? Do we see a whole group of experts and people that are working closely with the senior management of a department move with that Minister because they’re associated with that Minister? There are some issues about how this is implemented but we are reassured around the checks and balances that have been put in place by the Civil Service Commission.”

Listen to the full interview:

Penman was also quoted in The Times, which also covered Ministers being able to personally hire political appointees.

Referring to concerns that the plan could result in the politicisation of Ministerial support, he said: “The danger is that ministerial offices staffed by personal appointees will ultimately be loyal to their minister, not the taxpayer. Good government involves permanent, politically impartial civil servants supporting current and future ministers without fear or favour on either side.”

Read the full article:

Civil service clash looms over jobs for cronies 
(Please note that The Times online is behind a paywall)

The Times story was also picked up in The Mail online and on African information online portal Africanseer.com, with both repeating Penman’s quote.

7 November

FDA Assistant General Secretary, Rob O’Neill, has been quoted in an article in the Guardian on the universal credit scheme that is set to launch in 2017.

The story revealed details of the public accounts committee’s report on the scheme, which found it had been ‘overseen by “alarmingly weak” management’ and lays the blame directly with DWP’s permanent secretary and other senior managers for these failures. In Mr. Devereux and his colleague’s defense, O'Neill said: "Ministers must accept their responsibilities for any difficulties in the delivery of the project. It is ministers who determine the priorities, time scales and resources available. It is unrealistic to expect simple solutions to complex problems."

Click here to read the full article.

9 October

Helen Kenny, FDA National Negotiator and its union lead on defence, was quoted in Civil Service World newspaper and Civil Service World on-line (on 14 October) in an article 'Playing with fire - how civil service leaders are managing defence redundancies'.  The article reported on how the MoD's task enacting widespread job cuts is "made uniquely difficult by the political sensitivities around armed forces redundancies".  According to Kenny, "the need to cut numbers and the presentational risks around armed forces redundancies are combining to create peculiar outcomes: the MoD has been placing military staff in roles which could be carried out by civil servants".  Read the full online article.

18 September

ICAS, the professional body of chartered accountants, reports from the recent Parliamentary ARC event –‘Delivering for the Nation: Tax myths, challenges and opportunities’. Written by ICAS Director of Taxation, Elspeth Orcharton, the article states: “ICAS shares with ARC and the FDA, the senior HMRC staff representative bodies, the view that investment will be required to accelerate the narrowing of the ‘tax gap’.” Read the full article: Tax avoidance: 'Oh no, not Starbucks again...'

6 September

FDA's General Secretary, Dave Penman, was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme alongside Bernard Jenkin, chair of PASC, about the PASC report on civil service reform, which recommended that a parliamentary commission on civil service reform be set up. He was also quoted on BBC News online. Read the item here and The Times(which is behind a pay wall): “While the FDA agrees that civil service reform is too important to be done without a comprehensive study of the challenges being faced, any proposed Commission should not be restricted to the opinions of parliamentarians alone". 

Read the full FDA press release on the PASC report.

FDA's Assistant General Secretary Rob O'Neill responded to the public statements of Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pension’s that the team of civil servants originally in charge of the Universal Credit programme were to blame for its problems saying: “Iain Duncan Smith’s comments go to the very heart of the ongoing debate about the accountability of Ministers and civil servants. They represent a growing blame culture in Government where Ministers blame civil servants but fail to take any responsibility when things go wrong or overrun".

Rob O'Neill was quoted in the Financial Times, The Independent, and the Express and Star.

Read the full FDA press release.

11 July

Dave Penman appeared on BBC Radio Wales Morning Call phone in programme on MPs' pay.  Listen again (38 minutes 545 seconds in).

Penman also wrote an opinion piece for the Guardian Public Leaders Network 'Ministers hand picking civil servants will create a political 'firewall''.  He wrote: "the FDA championed the idea of providing ministers with greater support in our alternative white paper ... But the idea that a minister can personally appoint a group of officials runs the real danger that greater support will not be personalised, as IPPR suggested, but politicised".  Read the opinion piece.

Penman was also quoted in the Guardian, the BBC website, Local Gov online, the Morning Star, and the Huffington Post.

10 July

The FDA was quoted on the BBC website, in Public Service online and in Civil Service World, regarding the publication of the Civil Service Reform Plan: One Year On document, which mentions introducing fixed tenure appointments for Permanent Secretaries.

The BBC website reported that "senior public officials trade union the FDA - which represents around 18,000 civil servants - warned Whitehall could be politicised, with mandarins depending on politicians for their careers."

Read the full story on the BBC website: Ministers to 'hand pick' civil service staff 

The full Public Servant article can be read at: Political appointees en route to Whitehall 
The full Civil Service World article can be read at: Maude set to announce move to 'extended ministerial offices' 

Read FDA's press release: Professionalism not politicisation is the key to good ministerial support

4 July

John Restell, Chief Executive of Managers in Partnership, FDA's joint venture with Unison, appeared on ITV's Daybreak this morning responding to new Government proposals unveiled today to make hospital directors criminally accountable for failures in their care. The announcement comes after a string of NHS scandals in which 14 NHS hospitals are under intense scruitiny for their board performance.

According to Restell, "Managers in the NHS who are worth their salt want to be held to account" He said: "the question is, is prosecution the way to change the culture of the health service? Already managers at board level are responsible and culpable under criminal prosecution and the Care Quality Commission has the right to prosecute." 
Restell concluded that "the question is are we really clear about the offence which is being committed? Because if there is no clarity, not only will people not want to come in to do these jobs in hospitals but the board behaviour will just become more deeply ingrained in the hospitals themselves." 

Watch a clip of Daybreak from 6:12-6:17

25 June

An FDA survey of Scotland's prosecutors has revealed serious concerns amongst staff over lack of preparation time, staffing levels and workload.  According to the survey 23% said that they had insufficent time to prepare their cases, 46% said they had unrealistic time pressures and 33% frequently have unachievable deadlines.

The results of the survey were revealed initially in a front page article in the Scottish Daily Mail on Monday 24 June, with further coverage on 25 June in the Morning Star, Herald Scotland, and on STV News. The full survey will be published at a later date. 

Read FDA's press release 
Scottish Daily Mail article (link to Pdf as unavailable on-line)
Morning Star
Herald Scotland

20 June

A National Audit Office Report 'Building capability in the Senior Civil Service to meet today's challenges' highlighted the need for action on pay revealing that senior civil servants had suffered: "A real terms pay cut of 17.4% between April 2009 and March 2013" and that changes to pensions and bonus payments means that the erosion in the value of the total pay package "will be even greater". The report found a "widening pay gap between public and private sector pay [which] risks making it increasingly difficult for the SCS to recruit and retain the best people".

Read the full FDA Press release

Articles quoting FDA's Dave Penman:
Read the Guardian article
Read Public Service Reform hub
Read Public Finance article
Read Civil Service World article

17 June

The FDA participated in a Guardian Public Leader Network debate on pay inequality in the public sector.  FDA's Helen Kenny joined with Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, Wendy Bradley, who retired from HMRC in 2012, Pamela Cole, research officer at PCS union, Steve Brooks, director of the Electoral Reform Society Wales, Stephanie Elsy, managing director of a business delivering efficiency in public services, and Catherine Griffiths, the pay and review deputy policy lead at the Public Sector Manager's Association (PPMA) and head of organisation, design and strategy at Birmingham city council to debate the inequity of pay in the public sector on Friday 14 June. 

Read a round up of the discussion here.

14 June

FDA's General Secretary Dave Penman wrote an opinion piece in Civil Service World ('Why Maude is wrong on appointments') arguing that allowing ministers a greater say in appointing civil servants will not help to strengthen accountability.  In the article, which is on-line and in print, Penman challenges Maude's assertion that "ministers want civil servants to provide robust challenges and take risks" saying this "is not the experience of many civil servants who do just that".

Read the full article in Civil Service World
Read the Civil Service World editorial on civil service reforms in the same issue                

7 June

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman took part in a live online discussion on the Guardian Public Leaders Network on the civil service reform plan - one year one, and focused on the impact the reform plan has had on civil servants. Penman was part of the expert panel, alongside Director of the Institute for Government, Peter Thomas; Matthew Flinders, Professor of Politics at the University of Sheffield; Director of Communications and Research at Prospect, Sue Ferns; Sean Worth, Strategic Advisor at MHP Communications and a fellow of the think tank, Policy Exchange; and national Vice President of PCS, Paula Brown. In response to a comments on how civil service reform should take place, Penman said: "Lord Browne has called for a Royal Commission and Bernard Jenkin, Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee has called for a Parliamentary Commission.

"It seems clear the Government are against a broader review, Francis Maude made that plain on Tuesday at Policy Exchange and Sir Bob echoed those points yesterday. They see it as a distraction.

"I don't think any of the main political parties are grasping the scale of the challenge to public services with such dramatically reduced resources over such a sustained period. The civil service has got to be more than a means to reduce the deficit. They simply cannot keep taking out such massive resource without a profound impact. If they want it all, better public services with dramatically reduced resources, then it needs a more fundamental overhaul."

Read the round-up of the live discussion: The impact of the civil service reform plan: what the experts say 

3 and 4 June 2013

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was quoted in Monday's Times responding to an Institute for Government report which recommends that Ministers should be able to choose their Permanent Secretary from a shortlist.

Penman said: "If a civil servant thinks the only way to get on is to align themselves politically with a Minister that will then impact not only on the role of Permanent Secretaries but also further down the civil service."  Read the article: Ministers should get final say on jobs for civil service chiefs.

Read the FDA press release: Ministerial appointment of permanent secretaries 'a step too far'

In response to the recent Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) report on public engagement in policy making, the FDA was quoted in the Guardian Public Leaders Network, Public Servant online and Civil Service World.  Guardian Public Leaders Network reported Penman's view that good policy-making must "engage wider stakeholders and measure public opinion in a meaningful way" and that the civil service's "vital role" of presenting final policy advice to Ministers should be maintained.

Public Servant quoted Penman as saying: "Implementing policy should never be separate from creating it, and a good policy is one that is well-informed and can be implemented. The FDA firmly believes that the civil service's vital role of presenting final policy advice to Ministers must be retained, ensuring that advice is objective and reflects all the costs, evidence and options available." 

Penman was quoted in Civil Service World in print and online. He said: "The report makes a number of welcome recommendations which would enhance the ability of wider society to contribute to policy formulation. However, this must also be resourced and requires political commitment to a broader engagement process."

Read the full articles: MPs call for 'wiki-style' approach to policy which seeks public opinion(Guardian Public Leaders Network)

Civil servants must be guardians of more open policymaking (Public Servant)

PASC: Train ministers and civil servants in open policy making (Civil Service World)

Read the FDA's press release in full: PASC report is right to state that civil servants should remain 'the guardians of the policy process'

The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) issued a press release on how pay inequality still exists for female workers, one hundred years on from the death of Suffragette Emily Davison.
ARC President Gareth Hills said: “In HMRC, women in senior grades can be paid up to 8% less than their male counterparts for the same work, dependent on grade, location and working pattern. In addition it is significantly more likely that men’s salaries are in the top quartile of the pay range and much less likely to be in the bottom quartile.
“The problem persists because HMRC’s decision to withdraw previous pay progression arrangements where employees advanced through the pay scales has been exacerbated by successive years of pay freezes and the continuing 1% pay cap. That has had a disproportionate impact on women, leaving them disproportionately underpaid, often by thousands of pounds.”

Read ARC's press release in full:
At the centenary of Suffragette Emily Davison's death, pay inequality still exists for female workers says ARC

20 and 23 May 2013

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was interviewed on the BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast Show on 20 May, regarding the announcement that civil servants at the Department of Health will be expected to spend 20 working days each year working on the NHS front line.

Penman said: “This is an extra month of work… the Department of Health has been cut by 15% and staff are already working a huge number of excess hours.

“We will welcome this if it’s a genuine development opportunity… the test is whether this is simply a stunt from the Secretary of State on the back of the Francis Inquiry, whether he is genuine about it and whether he backs this up initiative with resources.”

Penman was also quoted on the same issue in the current edition of Civil Service World on 23 May. He said: “If this initiative is about civil servants who are developing policy having a greater understanding of the NHS frontline – rather than being a publicity stunt on the back of the Francis Inquiry – it is to be welcomed; but to be taken seriously, it has to be backed up by resources.”

Read the full article:

Health dept work placement plans ‘absurd’, says Jenkin
Civil Service World 

16 and 17 May 2013

Public Administration Select Committee chair Bernard Jenkin's speech to yesterday's Annual Delegate Conference, calling for a Parliamentary Commission on the future of the civil service, was mentioned in yesterday's Telegraph and today's Financial Times, and online in the Guardian Public Leaders Network, Public Servant and the Glasgow Herald.

In a piece by Whitehall columnist Sue Cameron written prior to Jenkin's speech, the Telegraph refers to Jenkin "making common cause with Dave Penman, the canny Scot who heads the FDA, the mandarins’ trade union".

The article states that Jenkin was to make a "tub-thumping speech to the FDA’s annual conference castigat[ing] Mr Maude’s reform plan, saying it fails to address the fundamental question of what the civil service is for. It is not based on any particular vision, he claims, but is simply the product of a series of rows, blunders and public disagreements with officials that date back to the last government."

Read the full article:

Mauling for Maude over his plans for change
The Telegraph

The Financial Times referred to Jenkins's speech "to the First Division Association of senior civil servants, blam[ing] civil service deficiencies on a failure by ministers of all parties to provide 'the necessary effective leadership'."

Read the full article:

Senior MP calls for inquiry into future of civil service
The Financial Times

The Guardian Public Leaders Network reported that "speaking at the annual conference of the FDA union, which represents senior public servants, Jenkin recommended that an inquiry similar to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards be launched in order to discuss 'what should follow the civil service reform plan'... Jenkin... also said that any reform must be underlined by a "reverence" for the civil service among ministers. He said at the moment some ministers believed that "the civil service was to blame" for poor performance in government."

Read the full article: 

Jenkin calls for parliamentary commission on future of civil service
Guardian Public Leaders Network

Public Servant covered Penman's inaugural speech as FDA General Secretary. The article reported Penman's insistence that the civil service was "’not simply an alternative means to reduce the deficit’. Calling increased working hours for new senior civil servants ‘meaningless, dogmatic and insulting’, Penman conceded that this was ‘the toughest of times to be a public servant and a union representative’. Promising that the FDA would ‘rise to the challenges that lie ahead’, Penman said: ‘This government has picked a fight with civil servants over issues that can only be described as political dogma rather than austerity.’”

Read the full article: 

Fight with civil service is 'political dogma'
Public Servant

The Glasgow Herald online also reported on Penman's speech:

"The Government has picked a fight with Whitehall for reasons of 'political dogma rather than austerity', the leader of the senior civil servants' union has said.

“FDA general secretary Dave Penman accused ministers of ‘insulting’ officials by increasing the amount of hours they are expected to work when most were already far exceeding that.

“In his speech to the union's conference, Mr Penman said civil servants had been the victims of a ‘political fiction’ that their pay and conditions were too generous. He said: ‘This Government has picked a fight with civil servants over issues where it can only be described as political dogma rather than austerity.’

“Cuts to facility time, where officials were allowed to work on union issues, were a ‘reaction to what they see as growing militancy’.

“Mr Penman added: ‘All of the evidence, including the Government's own, shows how far behind the total reward package is for FDA members compared with comparable roles elsewhere in the public sector, never mind the private sector.’”

Read the full article:

Civil service austerity drive 'political dogma'
The Glasgow Herald 

12 May 2013

The Independent on Sunday quoted FDA general secretary Dave Penman, over mooted plans to put permanent secretaries on fixed-term four year contracts.

Penman said: "We don't actually think the civil service is broken. This seems to be an attempt at more ministerial control. Permanent secretaries are already paid thousands less than the going rate in the private sector. If you start messing about with them, they will go somewhere else.

"It just simply doesn't stand up to scrutiny. We believe it would deliver bad government. Those FDA members [who are senior civil servants] can sit on their hands and not do it. Permanent secretaries are there to service any minister and any government, and are not associated with a particular government or a particular minister."

Read the full article: 

Radical plans to make top mandarins 'chief executives'
The Independent on Sunday


10 May 2013

The latest issue of Civil Service World features a report from the launch of the FDA's alternative White Paper - Delivering for the Nation: Securing a World-Class Civil Service.

The article quotes FDA general secretary Dave Penman on his fears over 'contestable policymaking': "What’s important to us is, once you've got that policy advice in, who presents it? If you've let that policy work to an interest group, a think tank or even a commercial organisation operating in the field, then understanding their viewpoint, their influences, is critical to understanding whether you've received partial advice or not - and there are very few organisations out there which are genuinely impartial."

Penman refers to this principle is a "red line" for the FDA, while also raising concerns over “giving policy development to people who have no experience of implementation, no experience of delivery”.

Read the full article:

FDA: Open policymaking danger
Civil Service World

1 May 2013

A letter from FDA assistant general secretary Naomi Cooke was published in today’s Independent. Responding to an Independent article on public services and staff being transferred to the private sector - The great civil service sell-off - Cooke wrote that while this "might help private sector employment statistics, where is the evidence that it will improve public services?" 

Cooke used the Land Registry as one example which has "cut fees to the public consistently over the past 20 years, returned a profit to the Treasury and maintains a 97% customer satisfaction level". She asked: "How many privatised services - gas, rail, electricity etc - can point to such a record?" 

Cooke explained that "the FDA, the union for senior managers and professionals in public service, believes there is a strong case for reforming the civil service - this is why the FDA launched a plan for civil service reform in Parliament last week - but reform should not mean the incremental transfer of public services to the private sector with little or no future public accountability. 

"As government services is one of the few sectors of the economy that actually generates positive GDP results, while UK economic growth remains in a parlous state, employees and the public alike will look for a compelling justification for mutualising, privatising or otherwise transferring government services out of the civil service."

Read the full letter: 

Doubts over Whitehall sell-off
The Independent

26 April 2013

The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) press release over a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report was quoted in the Financial Times.

ARC President, Gareth Hills, said he had "seen no evidence to support PAC's view that there is anything inappropriate about secondments to HMRC or the Treasury. This report is another example of PAC missing the point about challenges facing HMRC and how ARC members are responding."

Read the full article:

Treasury hits back at Public Accounts Committee
The Financial Times



24 April 2013

Opinion pieces by FDA general secretary Dave Penman feature in both the Guardian Public Leaders Network online and in Public Servant.

Both articles outline the reasons behind the FDA's alternative White Paper, which will be launched at a Parliamentary event this evening.

Penman said: "Civil servants are not faceless bureaucrats, but real people striving every day to serve the Government and the public. They include those who stop tax evasion, prosecute criminals, improve the performance of schools, represent our national interests abroad and protect our borders. These are just a few of the key public service roles the FDA represents.

"The FDA is keen to ensure there is a longer term, more strategic debate about reform of the civil service; one that is built on a shared analysis of the challenges it faces and which looks at building political consensus."

Read the full articles:

How can we create a world-class civil service?
Guardian Public Leaders Network

Yes, the civil service needs to improve - but radical reform is not the way
Public Servant

12 April 2013

The Independent quotes FDA general secretary Dave Penman, responding to news that reforms to senior civil servants’ terms and conditions will begin this month. As reported in Civil Service World, a letter to all SCS members from Sir Bob Kerslake states that new SCS joiners - or those promoted within it - will have their annual leave cut and weekly working hours increased.

Penman said: “If implemented, this will further reduce the package for new senior civil servants on appointment or promotion, at a time when the Government’s own evidence demonstrates that the reward package for the SCS is far below any comparable package in the rest of the public sector or private sector.” 

Read the full article:

Civil service in revolt after being told to spend more time at their desks
The Independent

10 April 2013

FDA general secretary Dave Penman is quoted in Civil Service World, responding to news that reforms to senior civil servants’ working hours, annual leave and privilege days will begin this month.

A letter from head of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake, sent to all senior civil servants month indicates that new SCS joiners or those promoted within the SCS will have their annual leave cut and weekly working hours increased.

Penman said: “If implemented, this will further reduce the package for new senior civil servants on appointment or promotion, at a time when the Government’s own evidence demonstrates that the reward package for the SCS is far below any comparable package in the rest of the public sector or private sector.”

Read the full article: 

Kerslake set to reform SCS terms and conditions this month
Civil Service World

10 April 2013

The FDA is mentioned in a Guardian Public Leaders Network interview with Simon Fraser, permanent under secretary and head of the Diplomatic Service.

The article states: “Recent disquiet from the FDA union, which represents the most senior civil servants, showed the sometimes strained relationship between senior civil servants and the political leadership. Fraser won't be drawn on individual cases but is clear on what his staff need. ‘We need to give clear leadership to civil servants and represent them effectively, including in our relationships with ministers. Government works most effectively when there's a relationship of mutual respect between senior civil servants and ministers - it's very important.’”

Read the full article: 

Foreign Office chief Simon Fraser on his career highs and lows
Guardian Public Leaders Network

27 March 2013

In an opinion article on the Guardian Public Leaders Network, FDA general secretary Dave Penman questions why Chancellor George Osborne, in his 2013 Budget, appears to exclude public servants from his ‘aspiration nation’.

Penman asks how FDA members can be expected to aspire when Osborne has “for the second time in six months, cut departmental budgets beyond the 19% reduction outlined in the 2010 manifesto”, which comes without a “commensurate reduction in workload from the Government” and on top of an extended pay cap freeze of 1% until 2016.

Penman also debunks Osborne’s view that he has to choose between jobs and pay increases: “Governments face many choices about taxation and spending, but to simplify this process… is to insult the intelligence of the public and millions of dedicated public servants. 

“Every employer - and every Chancellor - has to ensure they have the right number of staff to deliver their commitments. They also have to offer a package that attracts the right talent and motivates existing employees… Higher workloads, uncompetitive pay and what seems like never-ending criticism from politicians and ministers have led to two-thirds of senior civil servants already looking for a job elsewhere.”

Read the full article:

Why exclude public servants from George Osborne's aspiration nation?
Guardian Public Leaders Network

27 March 2013

FDA assistant general secretary Rob O’Neill was quoted in Civil Service World regarding the reform of terms and conditions. Referring to the ongoing discussions between departments and trade unions, O’Neill said: “We are arguing that it will be a disincentive to go for promotion.”

Read the full article:

Cabinet Office backs down on terms and conditions reform
Civil Service World

26 March 2013

FDA general secretary Dave Penman was quoted in the Guardian about the reaction of public sector workers to the Budget.

Penman expressed members' fury at being "taken for granted" and said there was a real danger of losing the very managers the Government needs to deliver world-class public services: "FDA members have seen massive job cuts, their pay frozen, the imposition of a pension levy and now an extended pay cap."

Read the full article:

George Osborne's cuts push 'aspiration nation' beyond public sector workers
The Guardian

21 March 2013

FDA general secretary Dave Penman is quoted in today's Telegraph, Financial Times, City A.M. and online in the Local Government Chronicle responding to the Budget, which included confirmation of further departmental spending cuts of 1% and the extension of the 1% public sector pay cap until 2015/16. The FDA also issued a press release following the Budget.

Penman said: "The Government must look not just at the cost of the civil service, but also its value.  Continual cuts to departmental budgets and increased demand is not a sustainable long-term option. Something has to give and the Government needs to come clean about what sort of public service it wants to provide and make sure it is properly resourced. 

"FDA members have seen massive job cuts, their pay frozen, the imposition of a pension levy and now an extended pay cap. Two-thirds of senior civil servants are already looking for jobs elsewhere. Unless the Government addresses the key issues of recognition, reward and resources, both the Government and the public will lose the skills and experience needed to deliver world-class public services." 

Read the full articles:

Public sector pay capped for fifth year as 95,000 strike over Whitehall reforms
The Telegraph

UK Budget 2013: Unions warn on public sector restraints
The Financial Times

Budget 2013: the public sector view
City A.M.

News round-up: sub prime warning on Budget
Local Government Chronicle

15 March 2013

An FDA motion to the 2013 TUC Women’s Conference was reported in the Morning Star online. The motion asked the TUC to support Counting Women In, the campaign for equal representation of women in Government.

FDA delegate Margaret Haig said: "There are currently more millionaires than women in Cabinet. 

"Decisions of national importance are being taken with no women at the table, and the different experiences and perspectives of half our country are not being heard."

Read the full article:

Women battle for workplace equality
The Morning Star online

13 March 2013

ARC’s press release on the publication of their Budget submission was quoted in the Tax Journal.  

ARC’s fully cost-submission outlines how an investment of £312 million in HMRC can lead to a gain of £8 billion.

ARC president Gareth Hills said: “Recouping lost taxes – from companies to individuals, from VAT to corporation tax – makes sense at a time of public outrage over tax avoidance, especially by large multinationals. To do so would also help address the current £100bn deficit providing an alternative to public sector spending cuts or tax increases. By investing in key personnel in HMRC, the government will be guaranteed a significant return. Now is the time for it to act, the time for it to be bold, and the time for it to back a cast-iron winner.” 

Read the full article:

Tax officials’ union and PKF back further investment in HMRC
The Tax Journal

21 February 2013

ARC's press release  of 19 February - Tackling tax avoidance: Public Accounts Committee needs to recognise the need for more HMRC resource and proper reward for staff, says ARC - was reported today by Accountancy Age.

ARC President Gareth Hills was quoted, stating it to be "disappointing" that the committee placed little emphasis on providing HMRC with further investment "over and above" the £77m announced in last year's Autumn Statement.

Hill said: "The scale of the overall budget deficit of £126bn, and the tax gap of £32bn, are such that the government needs to put significant investment into HMRC," he said. "Even relatively small scale investment of £120m would recoup currently lost tax of £3.7bn."

Read the full article:
HMRC needs more resources - ARC chief
Accountancy Age

20 February 2013

FDA general secretary Dave Penman was interviewed by the Government Computing Network about the challenges of 'digital by default', universal credit and the politicisation of the civil service.

Speaking about the 'digital by default' strategy, Penman said: "The nature of government is such that it is complex and difficult and things often take longer than people expect."

He explained that the issue is whether 'digital by default' is an invest-to-save programme, or one that needs additional resources to deliver services in a better way: "It's not an 'either or', and this goes back to, I think, one of the difficulties we have with all governments - but particularly this government given the scale of the efficiency savings they're looking for - that they need to match commitments with resources.

"So if they want to do something new and it is going to cost money, then they need to stop doing something else. And that is what governments are not very good at."

Read the full interview:
Digital delivery: a question of resources Government Computing Network

20 February 2013

ARC's press release - Tackling tax avoidance: Public Accounts Committee needs to recognise the need for more HMRC resource and proper reward for staff, says ARC - was reported by Public Servant and Public Finance.

Public Servant quoted ARC President Gareth Hills stating that a relatively small scale investment of £120m into HMRC would recoup currently lost tax of £3.7bn: "The scale of the overall budget deficit of £126bn and the tax gap of £32bn are such that the government needs to put significant investment into HMRC. "By investing in key personnel in HMRC the government will be guaranteed a significant return - one it could use to draw down the deficit, to avoid further austerity measures, or to fund economic recovery and growth. Now is the time for it to abandon caution, the time for it to be bold, and the time for it to back a cast-iron winner."

Read the full articles:

''Name and shame the £5bn tax avoiders'' Public Servant www.publicservice.co.uk/news_story.asp?id=22193

Tax avoidance advisers should be 'named and shamed', say MPs
Public Finance www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2013/02/tax-avoidance-advisers-should-be-named-and-shamed-say-mps/

19 February 2013

The Institute for Government (IfG) recently published supplementary analysis of the 2012 Civil Service People Survey, following the release of additional survey data on the main Whitehall departments and the SCS.

The IfG analysis states that the publication of SCS results is "probably in response to the FDA union, which claimed that senior civil servants were demoralised with two-thirds considering leaving the Civil Service".

It also concludes that "the SCS are markedly more engaged than their colleagues, and the difference has increased marginally since 2009. Indeed, the SCS are more engaged than they were in 2009 - in contrast to the FDA union claims that senior staff are demoralised with two-thirds considering leaving the civil service."

Responding to the IfG analysis on the Guardian Public Leaders Network today, FDA general secretary Dave Penman said he was pleased that the FDA's SCS survey had prompted the Cabinet Office to be more transparent and publish results for the senior civil service.

Penman said: "As the IfG has noted, satisfaction rates with pay and benefits have declined sharply. This reinforces the central message from the FDA's evidence to the senior salaries review body. Instead of arguing over survey statistics, what senior civil servants want is the government to address the very real issues they face with reward, recognition and resourcing."

Read the full article:
Whitehall chiefs are happier than their staff - but many still want to leave
Guardian Public Leaders Network

Read the full IfG analysis:

14 February 2013

FDA general secretary Dave Penman was quoted in The Scotsman, responding to the SNP government's estimate that Scotland will become a new state within 17 months of a 'Yes' vote in the independence referendum.

In the news story - entitled 'March 2016 target 'too early' say top mandarins' - Penman said: "The timescale seems rather swift and there are things that will require agreement between the UK government and the Scottish government.

"But it's also being done with very reduced resources because the Scottish Government is facing the same cuts as everyone else and that's a challenge.

it's a challenge and an issue that needs to be addressed. A lot of this work is policy work, but it's not in areas that they're funded to do. The UK government is not going to say 'Here's extra money to work for the SNP on independence."   

The full article is unavailable online.

10 February 2013

FDA national officer Jim Caldwell was interviewed on the Sunday Politics Scotland programme, discussing conflicts between the Scottish and UK central Governments and the upcoming Scottish independence vote.

Responding to comments from First Minister Alex Salmond that other countries have taken just 15 months to complete the independence process, Caldwell said "We really don't see how that is going to be done in that period.

"We may be wrong, it may be that... Westminster says yes to everything, or Holyrood concedes everything. We wait to see, but we believe it's going to be more difficult than perhaps is currently perceived.

The programme was shown twice on Sunday, on BBC One Scotland and the BBC Parliament channel.

Watch the full interview:
(44 minutes into the programme)

7 February 2013

Jon Restell, chief executive of Managers in Partnership (MiP), was interviewed on today's BBC Radio Two Jeremy Vine programme about the Francis report into failings at Stafford Hospital. MiP is the trade union for healthcare managers - it is also a section of the FDA and a national branch of Unison.

Listen to the interview in full at:
(8 minutes into the programme)

6 February 2013

Lord Wallace mentioned the FDA during a Lords' debate on the on the accountability of civil servants and the Constitution Committee Report.

The full discussion can be read at:

4 February 2013

During a Westminster Hall debate on HMRC capacity and resources, Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Catherine McKinnell, and John McDonnell MP mentioned the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) during a discussion on the return on investment in HMRC staff.

Read the full transcript at:
Hansard - Westminster Hall debate on HM Revenue and Customs

1 February 2013

In The Guardian, head of the civil service Sir Bob Kerslake responded to the results of the FDA's SCS survey, which indicated that SCS members' morale is so low that many are considering leaving their job.

Read the full story:
Whitehall at war? That's not what civil servants say
The Guardian

The results of the 2013 People Survey were also covered on the Guardian Public Leaders Network:

Only 29% of civil servants think change is managed well
Guardian Public Leaders Network

29 January 2013

The Guardian reported the results of the FDA's SCS survey, showing that the morale of two-thirds of senior civil servants is so low that they are considering leaving their job.

Read the full article:
Two-thirds of top civil servants are ready to quit jobs
The Guardian

The story was also reported on the Civil Service World website:

Morale dropping in SCS as dissatisfaction over salary packages rises

Fiona Eadie, FDA convenor for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) section - and temporary national officer - was quoted twice in the Scottish press.

Both the Sunday Mail and the Herald included a statement from Eadie in their reports on the results of a COPFS staff survey, which indicate a rise in bullying and harassment.

21 January 2013

Bullying at Crown Office rife, say staff
The Herald (Scotland)

20 January 2013

Revealed: One in four staff in criminal justice system say they are being bullied at work
Sunday Mail (Scotland)

17 January 2013

FDA general secretary Dave Penman's interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme was reported on publicservice.co.uk:

"Let's celebrate success of civil service"

Penman was also quoted in the Daily Mail:

Civil service is too slow and lacks business acumen says top mandarin days after Blair attacked it as 'not fit for purpose'
Daily Mail

16 January 2013

FDA general secretary Dave Penman was interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, about recent public criticism by politicians about the civil service, and whether a major reform of the current civil service model is needed.

Listen to the full interview at:
FDA general secretary Dave Penman on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme - 16 January 2013
(One hour, 20 minutes and 36 seconds into the programme)

The interview was also mentioned on the BBC website and in the Evening Standard:

Francis Maude: Ministers sometimes left in the dark
BBC News website

Civil service posts should not be politicised, says mandarin leader
Evening Standard

During the Lords' debate on the Public Service Pensions Bill on 15 January, Baroness Donaghy mentioned the FDA during the discussion on negative revaluation.

The transcript of the debate was published on 16 January as part of Hansard, the edited verbatim report of proceedings from both Houses.

The full discussion can be read via the clause 8 debate at: www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201213/ldhansrd/index/130115.html.

15 January 2013

I'm proud of Civil Service - we get along fine, says PM
The Times
(Please note that the full version of this article is behind a paywall)

If civil servants are the enemy within, ministers are marauders at the gate
The Times
(Please note that the full version of this article is behind a paywall)

11 January 2013

'Scallop consultations' face review
The Times
(Please note that the full version of this article is behind a paywall)

6 January 2012

Crown Office IT failings 'put prosecutions at risk'
Scottish Mail on Sunday

FDA national officer for Scotland, Fiona Eadie, was quoted regarding the major problems with the COPFS IT system.

She confirmed that the IT problems occurred after an upgrade and said: "There are large backlogs of cases. These problems need to be dealt with, and if that means significant investment in robust IT systems then ministers should provide it."