FDA in the media 2015

Links or notices of recent FDA mentions in the media

3 December

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman is quoted in Civil Service World, responding to a reports that the Chancellor is looking to cut voluntary civil service redundancy payouts by a further six months.

Penman said: "At some point, the Government will discover that you can't simply continue to attack the pay and conditions of civil servants without consequences.

"As recently as this week, Civil Service Chief Executive John Manzoni and Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock admitted to MPs that new pay arrangements were needed for the increasing numbers of civil service specialists.

"The FDA negotiated and agreed these terms with the government and Conservative minister Francis Maude as recently as 2010, who at the time described them as sustainable 'in the longer term' - the Government's definitions are clearly different to ours. Any additional changes can only serve to further erode morale.

"With pay levels rising in the private sector and comparable pay at its lowest level for more than 20 years, the government needs to understand that a coherent strategy is necessary to motivate, recruit and reward the very public servants they are relying upon to deliver the spending cuts announced by the Chancellor last week."

Read the full article:
George Osborne 'seeking fresh curbs to civil service redundancy pay'
Civil Service World

 

FDA National Officer Martin Furlong was quoted in Schools Week, defending performance bonuses paid to staff at the Education Funding Agency, an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Education.

Furlong said: "In the past five years the total remuneration [for senior civil servants] - including bonuses, pensions and pay awards - has reduced in value by a quarter.

"The reality is that the cost of the very limited performance-related pay in the civil service is subject to strict performance criteria, is not without scrutiny and is not paid out as an automatic entitlement. The vast majority of senior civil servants do not receive it."

Read the full story:
Education Funding Agency staff bag £510k in bonuses
Schools Week

 

26 November

Spending Review response: FDA on BBC Breakfast

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman appeared on BBC Breakfast programme on BBC One on Thursday 26 November to discuss the impact of the previous days Spending Review announcements.

Penman told business journalist Steph McGovern: "The estimate is that there will be around 100,000 job losses in the public sector. For us the concern is about maintaining public services with such dramatic cuts in public spending.

"In the Home Office the admin budget's going to be cut by 30%, in the Ministry of Justice that's going to be 50%… The Chancellor needs to be honest with taxpayers and public servants about what can no longer be done."

BBC Breakfast is not available online for rights reasons.

 

25 November

FDA in The Guardian and Civil Service World

The FDA issued a press release responding to yesterday's Spending Review announcement, which was quoted in The Guardian and Civil Service World.

The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) - FDA's section representing professionals in HMRC - also issued a press release in response to the Spending Review.

Central government and the spending review: 'doing a lot more with a lot less'
The Guardian

Spending Review verdict: reaction from the FDA, PCS, Prospect, the Institute for Government, the RSA and the CBI
Civil Service World

 

23 November

FDA on BBC Radio 4 World at One, responding to reports of 12,000 civil service job cuts at Ministry of Defence

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman appeared on Radio 4's World at One programme, in response to sources telling the BBC that there will be 12,000 civil service job losses at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as part of the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review.

BBC Radio 4 World at One programme on 23 November 2015
(28 minutes and 21 seconds into the programme)

 

22 November

FDA General Secretary in The Sunday Times on potential civil service job cuts

The Sunday Times also reported on potential civil service cuts ahead of the Spending Review, announced by the Chancellor of Wednesday 25 November.

Job cuts to shrink civil service to 1940s size

The Sunday Times
(please note that this article is behind a pay wall)


Spending Review: FDA on HMRC in The Daily Mirror

The Daily Mirror has also been speculating on forthcoming cuts to be announced in the Spending Review, reporting Penman's comments on the impact of reduced resources in HM Revenue and Customs.

What will be in the Autumn Statement 2015? All the cuts expected in George Osborne's Spending Review
The Daily Mirror

 

18 November

FDA in The Independent: Penman questions whether Ministry of Defence could be 'spending too much time and money looking to recruit from outside'

The Independent has quoted FDA General Secretary Dave Penman's response to reports that the Ministry of Defence is spending money on headhunters to recruit externally.

MoD risks an internal cold war by going outside to hire big-hitters
The Independent

 

17 November

FDA tells Daily Mirror: 100,000 civil service jobs could be axed following cuts in upcoming Spending Review

The Daily Mirror has quoted FDA Assistant General Secretary Rob O'Neill, responding to yesterday's announcement that seven departments - including HMRC and DWP - will receive cuts of an average of 21% before 2020.

100,000 jobs could axed after George Osborne confirms Whitehall cuts of 21% in Autumn Statement
The Daily Mirror

FDA in Civil Service World : Ministerial leadership has to respond Civil Service People Survey results

Responding to the publication of the 2015 Civil Service People Survey results, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman told Civil Service World that while "there is clearly a challenge to the managers of the civil service in the latest people survey results, the Ministerial leadership also has to respond to the question of how these issues can be addressed in a context of a service being expected to deliver ever more with ever less".

Jeremy Heywood names tackling discrimination as top priority from People Survey results
Civil Service World

 

16 November

FDA defends CPS members on spending cuts
The FDA "expressed concerns as to the ability of the CPS to undertake its role during this period". The union "argued and continues to argue that the service needs to be adequately funded to discharge its duties."

Fears funding cuts will prevent justice from being done
The Portsmouth News

 

13 November

FDA mentioned in Belfast Telegraph over plan to cap civil service pay-offs in Northern Ireland

FDA's National Officer for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Jim Caldwell, gave evidence on exit payments legislation for at the Northern Ireland Assembly's Committee for Finance and Personnel alongside representatives from Unison and NASWUT which was reported by the Belfast Telegraph.

Unions 'will go to court' over plan to cap civil service pay-offs

Northern Ireland unions could fight exit payouts cap in courts
Belfast Telegraph

 

4 November

FDA tells Guardian: Junior doctor pay rise offer shows 'public sector pay restraint policy is coming apart at the seams'

The Guardian Public Leaders Network has quoted FDA General Secretary Dave Penman, responding to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt offering 40,000 junior doctors an 11% pay increase.

Penman said Hunt's offer was "further evidence that the Government's policy of pay restraint in the public sector was coming apart at the seams."

Junior doctors offer: 'public sector pay restraint is coming apart at the seams'
Guardian Public Leaders Network

ARC in Civil Service World
Civil Service World quoted ARC's press release in an article covering the Public Accounts Committee's report criticising HM Revenue and Customs.

HMRC in Public Accounts Committee's firing line again after making "little or no progress"
Civil Service World

 

12 October

In his regular monthly opinion piece in Civil Service World , FDA's General Secretary Dave Penman reports on his time at Civil Service Live and the importance of representation for middle managers in the civil service.

Penman says the middle managers 'feel pressure from above to deliver strategic goals while receiving ever decreasing resources and pressure from below, as they are in the firing line for management decisions for large numbers of staff.'

Read the full article:
Dave Penman: Whitehall's middle managers tell our union they feel like an abandoned army
Civil Service World


11 October

In an article in The Independent  FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was quoted on the issue of the pay disparity between the public and private sector.

Penman said:

"Public sector workers who have delivered record-breaking efficiencies and helped turn the economy around are being excluded from this economic upturn.

"If private sector earnings continue to outstrip public sector pay at this rate, the Government will struggle to recruit and retain the talented workers needed to make its policies a reality."

Read the full article:
Private sector wages 'growing three times quicker than public sector'
The Independent


9 October 

FDA's Assistant General Secretary, Naomi Cooke, was quoted in The Telegraph over the weekend.

In a story on the 'major raid' on civil service pensions, Cooke said:

"With four more years of pay restraint facing civil servants, many will start to question the purpose of saving in the civil service pension scheme.

"If they opt out, the result will be greater reliance on state provision in later life and also reduced income to the Treasury now as they would no longer receive members' contributions."

Read the full article:
Government planning £7bn assault on 'gold plated' final salary pension schemes
The Telegraph


24 September

FDA National Officer for Scotland, Jim Caldwell, is quoted in The Herald responding to an Audit Scotland report, which highlights the increasing workload pressures on the country's Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

The report reveals that fewer cases are being completed within target timeframes, indicating that this is due to budget reductions and a rise in more complex cases, including sexual and domestic abuse crimes.

Caldwell said: "We believe there's not enough money in the system and not enough prosecutors in the system. Unless things change, the service is going to continue to decline and it's the public who are going to suffer."

He added: "We're not saying we've got to crisis point, but clearly it's becoming incredibly difficult to deliver the service that the public expect and our members want to deliver."

Read the full article:

Pressure mounts on sheriff court system
The Herald


16 September

BBC Radio 4's current affairs documentary series, File on 4, investigating major issues at home and abroad, looked into how budget cuts, job losses and internal reforms have affected performance and staff morale at the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The BBC's Home Affairs Correspondent Danny Shaw spoke to those on all sides of the argument and Civil Service World covered the story on their website this morning.

The FDA highlighted the issues its members are facing by issuing a press release putting their side of the story across. Civil Service World reported FDA's National Officer for the CPS Jawad Raza, stating that staff were "working longer hours, dealing with greater numbers of cases and having less time per case".

Listen here:

CPS: Prosecutors on Trial - File on 4, BBC Radio 4

Read the full article:

Former chief prosecutor warns of "dangerous" cuts to Crown Prosecution Service
Civil Service World

Read the full press release:

Crown Prosecution Service needs sustainable levels of funding to meet demands placed upon it, says FDA


14 September

In its coverage of the Trade Union bill being put before Parliament, Wales Online has quoted the FDA's Assistant General Secretary Naomi Cooke.

The article, which quotes members of Plaid Cymru and Conservative MP David Davis speaking out against the Bill, highlights the study carried out by New Economics Foundation (NEF) and the University of Greenwich, funded by FDA and other trade unions.

The study showed that stronger trade unions could actually benefit the UK economy and the Wales Online article warns that should the Bill go ahead this will no longer be a possibility.

Cooke said:

"This report shows that Government attempts to reduce the role of trade unions is potentially damaging to the economy as well as to society... The evidence is mounting that long term wage depression in the public sector and a divisive approach to employee relations undermines growth and productivity."

Read the full article:

Trade union reform plans trigger call for Royal Commission amid warnings UK is missing out on £27.2bn - Wales Online

Read the full press release:

Lack of trade union membership is costing the economy billions, finds new study


8 September

The Civil Service World website included an opinion piece by the FDA's Assistant General Secretary, Naomi Cooke.
 
Cooke outlines the latest Spending Review calls for further cuts to departmental spending and what this will mean for the future of the civil service, not just in terms of productivity but in terms of staff moral and future recruitment into the service.

Cooke says:

"The civil service is finding, and will continue to find, that it cannot deliver everything. Cut too many staff and any blip in demand will send a service into meltdown. Civil servants are qualified, trained professionals. They invest in the civil service and the civil service invests in them. If departments make cuts without working out how to deliver their obligations they will end up begging leavers to return - and at what cost?"

Read the full article:

Opinion: The Spending Review calls for yet more cuts to departmental spending. But at what price?
Civil Service World


3 September

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman is quoted in The Guardian, responding to reports that a pilot scheme launched by the Cabinet Office is re-recruiting retired and redundant civil servants to Government jobs.

The article states that a leaked document has shown some former staff are being re-employed using zero-hours contracts when full-time employees cannot cope with the workload.

Penman responded that the Government is "not using the term 'zero-hours contract', but that is exactly what is being suggested."

Read the full article:

Government scheme to rehire former civil servants on zero-hours contracts
The Guardian


26 August

On Wednesday 26 August Naomi Cooke was quoted in both The Guardian and Civil Service World on the chief secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands letter to public service pay boards that said:

"The government expects pay awards to be applied in a targeted manner to support the delivery of public services, and to address recruitment and retention pressures. This may mean that some workers could receive more than 1% while others could receive less.

"There should not be an expectation that every worker will receive a 1% award."

In The Guardian Cooke said:

"Instead of persisting with thoughtless pay caps and encouraging divisive bidding wars for a share of 1% the government should be engaging in a positive discussion about the setting of public sector pay,"

Cooke told Civil Service World:

"Ministers' developing habit of reaching for legislative means to manage the public sector workforce instead of engaging and consulting those affected is deeply concerning.

"Arbitrarily removing one part of a pay framework with no consideration of what is left makes no more sense when managing the civil service than it does when playing Jenga.

"Instead of seeking to legislate away civil servants' contractual rights, ministers should examine why those provisions were introduced in the first place."

Read the full articles here:

Public sector workers 'should not necessarily expect 1% pay rise'
The Guardian

Some civil servants set to lose out on 1% pay rise
Civil Service World


3 August

The Guardian Public Leaders Network and TUC Touchstone blog both featured articles written by FDA Assistant General Secretary Naomi Cooke, responding to the Government announcement of a consultation to cap public sector redundancy schemes. The FDA also issued a press release on this issue.

In the articles Cooke states: "The prospect of more than a decade of year-on-year pay cuts; a divisive performance management system; cuts to pension provision; restrictions on civil servants' freedom of speech; and ever increasing workloads that are taking people to breaking point is hardly a recipe for a happy workplace."

"The irony is that the very people who are being tasked with delivering the government's demanding agenda, ever more for ever less, are the very ones that this will continue to demoralise".

Read the full articles:

The public sector payout cap will affect average earners as well as the top brass
Guardian Public Leaders Network

Crude caps on public servants' redundancy payments are not value for money
Touchstone


9 July

The FDA and ARC both issued press releases commenting on the budget.

On public sector pay, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman pointed out that the public sector pay rises being restricted to 1% for a further four years excludes public servants from the benefits of the economic recovery.

Penman said:

"The Chancellor said today that 'Britain deserves a pay rise and Britain is getting a pay rise.' Unless, of course, you're a public servant."

ARC President Tony Wallace welcomed the announcement to re-invest three quarters of a billion pounds in HMRC to further tackle avoidance and evasion.

Wallace said:

"Since 2010 ARC has consistently made the case that an investment in the work of HMRC and ARC members will yield a significant dividend for the country … ARC is delighted that the Chancellor has accepted our case."

Both press releases were picked up across the media throughout the UK.

Read the stories here:

Budget 2015: Four more years of 1% public sector payrises, George Osborne confirms
Civil Service World

Public service staff face four more years of pay pain
Guardian Public Leaders Network

Budget 2015: Nurses and teachers' pay blow as savage Tories cap annual wage rises at 1%
The Mirror

Clashes loom over public pay curb
Express & Star

Public pay rises to be limited to 1% for next four years
Public Finance

More pain for public sector as Osborne caps pay rises at 1% until end of decade
The Herald Scotland

Civil servants 'not getting a pay rise like rest of Britain'
ITV News

Budget 2015: Surprise 'Living Wage' unveiled by George Osborne alongside further welfare cuts and a public sector pay rise cap
Belfast Telegraph

£350 boost for the middle class as 40p tax threshold raised: 130,000 taken out of higher rate - but Osborne is accused of 'moving too slowly'
Thisismoney.co.uk

Summer Budget: scope of tax avoidance crackdown widened
The Financial Times

Read the full press releases:

Budget excludes public servants from benefits of economic recovery, says FDA

ARC President Tony Wallace welcomes Chancellor's re-investment of £750million in HMRC


16 June

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman is quoted in The Huffington Post commenting on calls for an amendment to the EU Referendum Bill to include a purdah period.

Conservative, UKIP and SNP MPs have backed the Bill amendment, with the SNP's Alex Salmond stating that the Government could try to "rig" the vote via civil servants, while Douglas Carswell from UKIP spoke of his fear that "Whitehall mandarins and Sir Humphreys in Whitehall can't keep their Europhile views to themselves for a few weeks".

Penman said: "Civil servants have a well-established obligation to serve the Government of the day, as outlined within the Civil Service Code principles of objectivity and impartiality.

"All sides in the referendum campaign need to exercise caution against rhetoric that damages both the impartiality and integrity of the civil service."

Read the full article:

David Cameron could 'rig' EU referendum without a purdah period claims Alex Salmond
The Huffington Post


4 June

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman is quoted in The Telegraph, commenting on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) recommendation that MPs' salaries should be increased to £74,000, with the Prime Minister's salary potentially rising to £150,000.

As guidance published in April 2013 states that any department wanting to pay senior public servants more than £142,500 a year - the Prime Minister's current salary - has to get permission from HM Treasury, the article speculated over whether this figure could now also rise.

Penman said: "All of the evidence demonstrates that a new, intelligent approach is needed on pay for senior grades in the civil service, but the limit of the Government's ambition appears to be attracting recruits from the private sector who can afford to take a dramatic pay cut for the privilege of working in the public sector."

Read the full article:

David Cameron facing Cabinet split over MPs' pay
The Telegraph

FDA Assistant General Secretary Rob O'Neill was also quoted over the same issue in The Guardian.

O'Neill confirmed that "the FDA agrees that recommendations of independent review bodies should be followed and also urges that Ipsa's independent, evidence-led approach to setting pay should be extended throughout the civil service."

Read the full article:

MPs should get 10% pay rise, says regulator
The Guardian


27 May

Following the outcome of the official enquiry by the Cabinet Office into the leak of a controversial memo and former Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael's subsequent admission that he was responsible for the leak, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman has been quoted in The Herald and Civil Service World.

Penman said: "Politicians are more than aware that civil servants may become collateral damage when they choose to leak documents.

The consequences for a civil servant leaking information could have been catastrophic, but it would appear that different rules apply when it comes to politicians."

Read the full article:

Carmichael urged to stand down as MP after accepting responsibility for leaking dirty tricks memo
The Herald

Alistair Carmichael to blame for Nicola Sturgeon memo leak - but Scotland Office official in the clear
Civil Service World


19 May

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman is quoted in the Daily Mirror online, commenting on the Conservative Government's plans outlined in its manifesto to potentially cut HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) staff by a fifth.

Penman told the Daily Mirror of his concerns, with HMRC needing to invest in tax experts in order to deliver avoidance targets: "Tax avoidance is just one part of HMRC but it's a critical one. HMRC has already delivered the tax avoidance targets it was set in the last Parliament and that's because it invested in key people on the tax avoidance side.

"You are going after big accountancy firms - we're talking about £250,000-a-year tax lawyers - so it's critical you have well-trained people. It's about paying for experienced top tax professionals and they're not going to get the £5bn unless they invest more money.

Penman confirmed that he feels "HMRC staff have absolutely made the case that if you invest in tax professionals you will get a return of 10 or 20 times what you spend. Whether the Chancellor remains convinced is what has to be answered."

Read the full article:

Tories could cut a fifth of staff at department that chases tax dodgers, union warns

Daily Mirror

Reports from Guardian and Financial Times on 18 May - quoting Penman on the likelihood that the Government will cut 100,000 civil service jobs during the next Parliament - were also picked up elsewhere in the press:

Up to 100,000 more civil service jobs could go by 2020, union warns
CIPD

Tories may axe 100,000 civil servants over the next half decade, union warns
Hereisthecity.com

'Tories may cut 100,000 jobs over next 5 years'
Press TV (based in Iran)

Up to 100,000 civil servants could lose their jobs in the next five years
Public Sector Executive 


 

FDA General Secretary's latest Civil Service World column - New Government: New Deal

Penman's latest opinion piece features in the May issue of Civil Service World (CSW), outlining the reasons behind the FDA's 'New Government: New Deal' campaign.

Penman stated: "There can be no doubt that the new Government needs civil servants to deliver an additional £13bn in savings and an extra £5bn in tax revenue. What civil servants need in return is a new deal; one that puts valuing civil servants at its core, protecting their impartiality and integrity; that looks to develop the skills they'll need to deliver public services in the future, recognising this takes time and money."

He said the campaign is "no unrealistic wish list. Not only is it achievable, but I believe it is essential if the Government is to work with, rather than against, its staff over the next five years. Which is exactly what most civil servants want."

Penman called on the Conservative Government "to provide a vision for the civil service - a light at the end of the tunnel if you will - rather than simply more of the same... More radical change is on its way, and, to deliver that, the Government needs to take its most treasured asset with it."

Read the full article:

Dave Penman: If the Government wants radical change, it needs to take the civil service with it

Civil Service World


18 May

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman is quoted in the Financial Times front page story this morning.

The article outlines what is expected from the new Government and what this will mean for the civil service.

Discussing the new Government and the appointment of Matthew Hancock as Minister for the Cabinet Office Penman said that the "civil service was expecting equal or greater job losses in the next five years."

Read the full article:

Whitehall faces up to 100,000 fresh job cuts
Financial Times


Penman is also quoted in the Guardian discussing the expected losses for the civil service over the next five years.

He said:

"The DWP could lose 20,000 to 30,000 staff, the HMRC could lose 10,000 to 15,000 ... it is greater cuts than over the last five years and most of that is based around staffing, so it is not surprising.

"We are saying you need to match commitments with resources - you can't just cut that amount, then say 'get on with it'."

Read the full article:

Tories may axe 100,000 civil servants over the next half decade, union warns
The Guardian 

Our successful and lively Annual Delegate Conference (ADC) last Thursday that included a speech from the Chief Executive of the civil service John Manzoni and the launch of our new campaign, New Government, New Deal, was covered on both the Civil Service World website and the Guardian Public Leaders Network.

Will Whitehall's finest back a new John-Manzoni-model civil service?
Guardian Public Leaders Network

FDA union urges "new deal" for "exhausted" civil servants

Jane Dudman: The "Maude era" may be over, but what lies ahead won't be easy for Whitehall

John Manzoni: New Cabinet Office minister wants "collaborative" relationship with Whitehall
Civil Service World


12 May

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman is quoted in the Guardian Public Leaders Network online, in an article on trade unions' responses to a new Conservative Government.

For the civil service, Penman said that "the next five years is clearly going to be framed by the spending cuts outlined by the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement. What was aspirational before the election, and a bargaining position for a coalition, is now an unchecked reality for a Government with a majority".

Penman called on the Conservative Government to make sure civil servants are properly recognised, rewarded and resourced: "If the civil service is to be smaller but more able, the Government needs a vision on skills and reward that is more than a diktat from the Treasury. Five more years of the same will be self-defeating."

Read the full article:

Trade unions: in the next five years we have to unite like never before
Guardian Public Leaders Network

Penman is also quoted in Civil Service World (CSW), responding to Matt Hancock's appointment as Minister for the Cabinet Office and Oliver Letwin's move to "overall control" of the department.

Penman told CSW that Hancock would need to demonstrate "clear vision" of how the Conservatives' plans for further spending reductions would be met, warning that the civil service "cannot simply be treated as a tool for deficit reduction".

He added: "If it is to be smaller but more able, the government needs to outline how it will provide civil servants with the recognition, reward and resources they need to deliver the services the public expects."

Read the full article:

Francis Maude out as minister for the Cabinet Office as Matt Hancock takes the reins
Civil Service World


29 April

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was quoted in Civil Service World (CSW), responding to a statement from Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude about the civil service's performance management system.

Maude told CSW that performance management should change from managers categorising set proportions of staff as performing well, acceptably and poorly, to "a forced ranking system" where employees are individually ranked best to worst, in order to "avoid some of the gaming" of the distribution of the bottom 10%.

Penman said that forced distribution is "already one of the most divisive and widely criticised aspects of the performance management system. Bureaucratic, opaque and almost unchallengeable, it ticks the Ministerial box of identifying a quantifiable number of poor performers, but ask managers who have to administer it, or staff who want to challenge it, and you may get a different response.

"Any system that measures performance in a way that can result in individuals achieving all objectives set of them and more, but still finding themselves in the bottom 10% as a result of being anonymously ranked against individuals doing very different jobs for different managers, should in itself be consigned to the 'must improve' category".

Penman added that Maude's individual rankings suggestion "would only intensify the bureaucracy, resentment and challenge already inherent in the current system. Quite how this will improve team working and morale is beyond me."

Read the full article:

Francis Maude calls for change to civil service performance management which would see bosses give staff individual rankings
Civil Service World


30 March

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman appeared on Channel 4 News, discussing the role of special advisers in Whitehall. In a feature including journalist Peter Oborne and former Labour special adviser Damian McBride, Penman was questioned by Ukip MP Douglas Carswell.

Penman told Carswell that "special advisers are political animals and clearly in terms of politics and what happens on a day-to-day basis, there can potentially be areas where there'd be a conflict… and therefore at times there can be tensions".

Watch the full interview:

Go to Channel 4 News, scroll down the page to Catch up, then select Thursday 26 March and What's wrong with our politics… special advisers


The FDA was also referenced in The Guardian, regarding the recent changes to the Civil Service Code that restrict civil servants' contact with the media.

Following the FDA's petition on the issue, the Association of British Science Writers and the Science Media Centre have written to Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude to express their "deep concern" over the recent Civil Service Code amendments.

The letter states that the changes "will have a negative impact on the public understanding of science and the quality of the public discourse on some of the most important and contentious issues of our times… We urge the Government to think again about this policy and its unintended and undesirable consequences".

Read the full article:

Francis Maude warned by scientists over 'chilling effect' of new media rules
The Guardian

26 March

The Guardian Public Leaders Network features an article written by FDA Assistant General Secretary Naomi Cooke, on the effects of the civil service pay freeze.

Cooke states that "only the public sector seeks to recruit and retain highly marketable skills with bargain basement pay. The private sector realises that's a fool's errand."

She asks for the incoming Government to commit to "a review of civil service pay that engages civil servants and is genuinely open to the idea of reforming pay", but fears this will be unlikely as "the prevailing political view is that there aren't any votes in increasing public sector pay".

Read the full article:

Civil service pay freeze: the cracks are beginning to show
Guardian Public Leaders Network


24 March

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude confirmed changes to the Civil Service Code, stating that civil servants must ensure they have ministerial authorisation for any contact with the media.

As reported in The Guardian, The Mail, The TelegraphFinancial Times and Civil Service World, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman has responded that this "blanket ban on media contact for civil servants - made just 51 days before a General Election - is an unnecessary, unworkable and unjustified restriction on the work of the civil service."

An editorial piece in The Mail and Mayor of London Boris Johnson have also both criticised the Civil Service Code changes, while science organisations have also collectively expressed their "deep concern" to the Minister.

The FDA has issued a press release, in which Penman said: "The public has a right to open and transparent public services, yet this change now requires Ministerial authorisation before a civil servant can respond or make any contact with the media - from a prosecutor being asked for comment outside of court, to a job centre manager dealing with a local news story.

"Guidance to regulate contact between civil servants and the media is already in place and we can see no justification for this sudden, drastic change, other than intimidating civil servants into silence.

"Rather than being a genuine attempt to improve public services, this knee-jerk decision seems to have only been made to sate unfounded and misguided ministerial mistrust."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman has said that the amendment merely clarifies rules on official contact that were already in place, and said that David Cameron "doesn't share the view that has been expressed by some trade unions" that the change would make whistle-blowing by officials more difficult.

Penman responded: "Whatever exemptions may have been made for whistle-blowing, the unnecessary and unjustified changes made to the Civil Service Code will have the effect of making civil servants think twice before dealing with or responding to the media.

"The FDA feels this can only create a more opaque culture and is interested to see how the Prime Minister thinks this change will help lead to more openness and transparency in the civil service."


16 February

Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) President Tony Wallace was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live's Drive programme in response to recent HMRC press coverage, particularly around tax avoidance and evasion.

Wallace condemned the "corrosive message… that paying tax is no longer a good thing for society". He told presenter Tony Livesey that he feels "people pay tax in this country largely because the majority of the population believe in the goodness and the fundamental rightness of tax".

Wallace also mentioned "the continuous bashing of HMRC" by MPs and the media, which he described as "actually quite corrosive to the work that me and my members do and I think in the long term it could be corrosive to society.

"We as professionals are often faced with people across the table from us that are very often on at least double the salary that we are receiving. We just don't think that can be right on a societal basis, that people are rewarded more to avoid and evade tax than professionals are paid to try to protect the income stream to the country."

Hear the interview:

BBC Radio 5 Live Drive - 13 February 2015
(1 hour, 19 minutes and 55 seconds into the programme)

Wallace's 5 Live interview was also quoted in the Sunday Times
(the full version of the article is behind a paywall)

Wallace is also quoted in the Financial Times, in response to Labour party plans for a review into HMRC. 

ARC called for any review to be "conducted without preconceptions or a predetermined conclusion", following members being subjected to "unhelpful and unnecessary criticisms". Wallace said: "It almost seems to blame them [ARC members] for there being avoidance and evasion."

Read the article:

Labour draws up plans for review into HMRC dealings
Financial Times (full version of article is behind a paywall)

12 February

FDA's National Officer for Wales, Paul Neilson, was interviewed on the BBC Wales Today programme, discussing an employment tribunal judgment finding that two FDA members were unfairly dismissed from their jobs at the National Library of Wales.

Arwel Jones and Elwyn Williams were initially suspended and then demoted, following concerns over a procurement exercise where there were some technical breaches. The Library had already accepted that there was no question of fraud.

Judge J Thomas found that there was "no basis for a charge of gross misconduct", and that "the failure had not been one of misconduct but capability", brought about by the Library's failure to provide training. In the investigation of the case and their evidence to the tribunal the judge found respondents from the National Library of Wales gave "misleading answers" and remained "opaque and disengaged".

The judge concluded that "the disciplinary process has been conducted with a lack of commitment on the part of the respondent and an element of antagonism and defensiveness".

Neilson told BBC Wales Today that the judgment is "condemning of the senior management and of the trustees who sat on the disciplinary panel. It also criticises the auditors and the audit report that led to this whole case. So I think the implications for the Library are quite huge".

Watch the interview:

BBC Wales Today - 11 February 2015
(11 minutes into the programme)


23 January

Secretary of the FDA Procurators Fiscal Section, Fiona Eadie, was quoted in The Herald, responding to Scottish Government plans to cut Prosecutor staffing by £1.1m despite declaring a £92m Justice underspend.

The FDA has written to Scotland's Justice Secretary Michael Matheson asking for an urgent meeting regarding this issue.

Eadie said: "Unless this budget cut is reversed, we cannot see how the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service can continue to deliver current or improved standards of service with fewer staff. We fear that there will inevitably be an impact on the wider justice system and the service provided to the public.

"The reported underspend in the Justice budget, when our members are operating at the very edge of capacity, is frightening and to impose further cuts on Scotland's prosecutors will have repercussions for the whole of Scottish society."

Read the full article:

Union representing prosecutors claims cutbacks and warns of "justice in jeopardy"
The Herald


5 January

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman appeared on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, BBC News, Sky News and across the print media at the weekend, responding to the Conservatives' plans to cap public sector redundancy pay-offs at £95,000 if they win the upcoming election.

In a debate with Conservative Treasury Minister Priti Patel, Penman referenced the redundancy scheme deal made with Cabinet Minister Francis Maude in 2010, which Maude said was "fair for the longer term".

Penman stated that "many of [his] members will want to understand exactly what longer term means, in the context where just four years later we're already seeing changes to that scheme and we have the Conservatives announcing further changes."

He put to Patel that the current Government has "cut our members' pay, you've cut their pension, you've charged them more for their pension, you've already cut their redundancy pay and you're coming back for another bite of redundancy pay. What is it you expect from these people?"

Penman also pointed out that the announcement "is being portrayed as an attack on 'fat cats' - we have 'hardworking taxpayers' funding 'golden goodbyes' to people.

"The reality of this is this scheme will impact upon nurses, police officers, firefighters, midwives as well as the people I represent who are better paid: prosecutors and tax professionals who are bringing in extra revenue to the country."

He made clear that "this blunt instrument of a cap, which is clearly set so it isn't six figures, is not that way to deal with public sector redundancy arrangements. We negotiated a deal that was fair to taxpayers and fair to public servants and we want [the Government] to honour that."

Hear the full interviews:

BBC Radio 4 Today programme: 3 January 2015 (1 hour, 48 minutes and 10 seconds into the programme)
BBC News: 3 January 2015
Sky News: 3 January 2015

Read the full articles:

Conservatives to cap public sector redundancy pay-offs at £95,000
Financial Times

Tory vow to end six-figure pay-offs
Daily Mail

Conservatives vow to cap public sector redundancy pay-offs
BBC News

UK's Conservatives plan to cap public-sector redundancy payments
Daily Times (English language publication in Pakistan)

Tories vow to cap workers' pay-off
The Gulf Today (English language daily newspaper based in the United Arab Emirates)

The story was also picked up by the Press Association, so featured in many regional newspapers including the Lancaster and Morecambe Citizen, the Hastings and St. Leonards Observer and This is Lancashire.


For earlier FDA mentions, visit FDA in the media 2014