FDA in the media

Links or notices of recent FDA mentions in the media

4 August

BIS Sheffield Closure: FDA update

Civil Service World reports that plans to relocate approximately 100 civil service jobs from Sheffield to London have been put on ice as a result of machinery government changes.

The former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) had previously announced the closure of the St Paul's Place site in Sheffield back in spring.

The FDA's National Officer Victoria Taylor told CSW the FDA was looking for "all the conversations about BIS 2020 to just be stopped" while the new government structures bed in. "We can come back to those once people feel a bit more secure and things have settled down," she said.

Taylor stressed that the FDA would "continue to work with the employer on behalf of our members to mitigate against any compulsory redundancies".

She added: "As pieces of work have moved to other government departments, opportunities have arisen to consider how the civil service can retain staff with key skills and experience. We continue to support our members and participate fully in talks with all departments involved in the machinery of government changes."

Read the full article:

Brexit shake-up lifts redundancy threat for some BIS Sheffield staff
Civil Service World


1 August

Civil Service Compensation Scheme update: FDA response

An article Civil Service World outlines why a delay has been sought to the implementation of revised redundancy rules in wake of political changes in the last month, FDA general secretary Dave Penman reiterated FDA's views that the latest proposals for the CSCS were unjustified and part of a "broader agenda" to reduce terms across the public sector.

Penman said "The FDA, Prospect, GMB, Unison and the Defence Police Federation unions have accepted that the initial offer forms the starting basis of a reformed, negotiated set of arrangements and we have been meeting regularly with Cabinet Office officials to make further progress. Those negotiations are continuing.

The General Secretary goes on to explain why FDA agreed to participate in talks with the government, where other unions have not:

"FDA believes that sufficient progress had been made in [the] negotiations to continue with further discussions, and recognises that it has a clear responsibility to continue to influence the negotiations and protect, as far as is possible, the redundancy terms in the civil service," he said.

"This can only be done by being party to these negotiations. Further improvements will be required in order to reach any final agreement."

Read the full article:

Brexit slows Cabinet Office's plan to overhaul Civil Service Compensation Scheme
Civil Service World

18 July

BBC, Daily Mail, New Statesman, Civil Service World and Politics Home report FDA response

Penman blasts Cameron's 'astonishing act of hypocrisy' in increasing redundancy pay for his Special Advisers while cutting civil service redundancy terms

The FDA has responded to the news that one of David Cameron's final acts as Prime Minister was to ensure his Special Advisers with long service are paid an additional six months of severance pay, costing the Government an extra £282,892.

As reported by the BBC, Daily Mail, New Statesman, Civil Service World and Politics Home, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman called this "an astonishing act of hypocrisy from Cameron, increasing redundancy pay for his Special Advisers whilst in the middle of cutting redundancy terms for the rest of the civil service. It sends a clear message about who he valued most".

In a letter to the former PM and his Principal Private Secretary (PPS), civil service Chief Executive John Manzoni gave his "strong advice" that these additional payment should not be made, adding that "legal advice supports this position". Manzoni ended his letter by stating that if Cameron decided to proceed regardless, he "would request his written direction in order to do so".

Cameron's PPS Simon Case responded to Manzoni by letter, stating that the former PM "does not wish to exacerbate an already difficult and uncertain time for [the Special Advisers] by inferring that their long and loyal service is not fully recognised" and "has directed [Manzoni] to proceed accordingly".


18 July

Penman calls for 'new comprehensive spending review' following Prime Minister's Whitehall reorganisation

Following machinery of Goverment changes made by Prime Minister Theresa May last week, the Department for Energy and Climate Change has been folded into the Department for Business.

The newly-named Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be headed by former Communities Secretary Greg Clark. Some of the responsibilities previously housed at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will also be moved to other departments.

Penman told Civil Service World: "This [reorganisation] will of course raise questions and uncertainties for civil servants working in merged or re-organised departments and the government should move quickly to reassure staff.

"More fundamentally, it raises the question of whether the civil service has the right resources in the right places in order to deal with the consequences of the referendum and the new structure of Government.

"Decisions are being taken daily in departments to implement priorities decided upon in 2015, but the challenge now facing the civil service is a very different one to that imagined by George Osborne last December."

Penman added: "The new Chancellor needs to quickly reassess those priorities and undertake a new comprehensive spending review, recognising the additional capacity and capability that the civil service needs to make a success of the disengagement from the EU, on top of the day-to-day-business of delivering world-class public services across the UK."


18 July

FDA responds to Civil Service Workforce Plan in CSW

Civil Service World also reported the FDA's response to the Workforce Plan in its in-depth analysis of the document's implications.

Penman shared his concerns over how the Plan will actually work in practice: "The civil service is never short of good ideas, it's always the implementation that lets them down, and that often comes down to resourcing… Managing secondments and talent across departments should be something the civil service is good at, but it doesn't put enough resource into it"


14 July 

Civil Service Workforce Plan: FDA response

Penman raises fear of 'two-tier workforce structure' in opinion piece for the Guardian

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman has responded to the newly-published Civil Service Workforce Plan, which was launched at Civil Service Live in London on Tuesday, by Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock.

In an opinion piece for the Guardian, Penman welcomed the aligning of the graduate Fast Stream and non-graduate Fast Track schemes as "a start at a single talent pathway that we have long argued for".

He also praised the focus on leadership, and identify and nurturing talent, as "in reality, good leaders are made, not born". However, Penman raised concerns that "the easy option will be to look externally first, frustrating internal talent and creating a two-tier pay structure".

Read the full article:

Loyal civil servants could lose out in two-tier workforce pay plan
Guardian


14 July

Penman tells CSW of concerns that 'there is nothing in this entire plan about working with the trade unions'

Civil Service World also reported Penman's response to the Workforce Plan, as he raised concerns that it could lead to an increase in "people brought in from outside on market premiums and internal staff getting paid significantly less with no way of catching up".

While highlighting his alarm that the plan fails to mention working with trade unions, the General Secretary added that the FDA does welcome its "focus on a more coherent strategy for the civil service and how it's people are going to manage the challenge of helping the Government deliver its objectives for this parliament - which has just got ever-greater thanks to Brexit".

Read the full article:

Civil service workforce plan: unions warn of "two-tier" pay risk
Civil Service World


4 July

FDA questions civil service resources and accusations of politicisation at Institute for Government debate on the repercussions for Whitehall, post EU referendum

On Thursday, the Institute for Government (IfG) hosted a debate on the implications for Whitehall after the UK's vote to leave the EU. Speakers included former Cabinet Secretary Lord Turnbull, Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee Chair Bernard Jenkin and Department for Communities and Local Government Permanent Secretary Melanie Dawes.

Referencing facts provided by the IfG that up to 55% of UK law is based on European legislation, and that the FCO is going to face a budget cut of about 45% in day-to-day resources over the next five years, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman questioned whether it's possible for civil service's role to be "be delivered as a zero-sum game with no extra resources".

Penman also criticised comments made by MPs during the referendum campaign, stating: "I have to say some of the comments, including some of yours Bernard, where you talk about the politicisation of the civil service during this campaign, is only really undermining that trust [between Ministers and civil servants]… that is going to be critical I think going forward."

Penman's question and its responses can be read here.

View the full debate:

Institute for Government event 'After the Referendum: The implications for Whitehall'
(Penman's question begins at 58 minutes and 7 seconds)


4 July

UK votes to leave the EU: FDA in the media

CIPD reports union's concern over 'enormous challenge' to civil servants over the UK leaving the EU

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) cited FDA General Secretary Dave Penman in an article on the challenges facing the civil service during the process of the UK leaving the European Union.

Penman said: "We know that the civil service will continue to be a force for stability in the country, even through these turbulent times. But the challenge is enormous."


4 July

Daily Express: FDA talks of 'serious concerns' over civil service workload as UK leaves EU

The Daily Express reports that Minister for Government Policy and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Oliver Letwin has called on the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) to draw up a paper on how the UK's exit from the EU can be achieved.

The article includes Penman's comment that "huge swaths of policy and legislation will need to be reconsidered and decided upon by Ministers, Government and Parliament. All of this is required while maintaining our public services and carrying out business as usual."

Penman added that many FDA members "have serious concerns about how we will implement this at a time of political and economic uncertainty."


1 July

 UK votes to leave the EU: FDA media coverage

Penman voices resource concerns in the Guardian

Page three of yesterday's Guardian included a report on the FDA's concerns over civil service resource needed to carry out the UK's exit from the European Union.

 FDA General Secretary Dave Penman outlined that while "we know that the civil service will continue to be a force for stability in the country, even through these turbulent times? the challenge is enormous".

 "Many of our members have serious concerns about how we will implement this at a time of political and economic uncertainty. Many of these questions cannot be answered right now," he added.

FDA view on new EU unit in CSW

 Civil Service World reported yesterday on the launch of the new EU Unit within the Cabinet Office, created to start planning options on the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. The unit will be led in a Permanent Secretary capacity by Olly Robbins, currently Second Permanent Secretary at the Home Office.

 Civil service resources: FDA tells Global Government Forum "there's no fat in the system"

 The Global Government Forum website quotes the FDA in its five-part 'Guide to Brexit', focusing on: how the country voted to leave the EU; the process for negotiating an exit; who'll run the negotiations; whether the departure is inevitable; and the likely outcome.

 On the EU exit process, Penman explained: "It's not just about the divorce: the unravelling from Europe, and what that means in terms of legislation… It's such a fundamental challenge to the government and the civil service… it's hard to imagine a department that won't be affected".

 "It's a no-brainer that we'll need extra capacity and capability; how that's resourced is a matter for the next Government," he added. "There's no fat in the system, so if you draw people in from other parts of Government you'll be losing capacity elsewhere."

 He also expressed disappointment in the "pointed criticisms about the role of the civil service in a referendum. We're probably going to have Brexit ministers in key departments, with the potential to think that the civil service didn't act correctly. So there's a big issue around rebuilding trust."

Immediate response to UK vote to leave the EU:
FDA in the Guardian, FT and CSW

On Friday, the FDA issued a press release, which was reported by the Financial Times, the Guardian, Civil Service World, Public Sector Executive and the Government Opportunities Newsroom, stating that in this period of political uncertainty, "the people of the UK are already understanding the value of a permanent and politically neutral civil service".

Penman called for incoming Government Ministers to make sure the civil service has "both the capacity and capability" to meet the challenge ahead.

Other stories of interest

Successful negotiations - what Whitehall needs to do to prepare
Blog from the Institute for Government's Robyn Munro

Whitehall has no roadmap for the gargantuan task of enabling Brexit
David Walker, Contributing Editor of the Guardian Public Leaders Network.


27 June

On Friday, the FDA issued a press release raising concerns over the civil service resources needed to carry out the UK's exit from the European Union. The union's response was reported by the Financial Times, the Guardian, Civil Service World, Public Sector Executive and the Government Opportunities Newsroom.

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman outlined how in this period of political uncertainty, "the people of the UK are already understanding the value of a permanent and politically neutral civil service. From contingency plans to deal with the inevitable economic turmoil, to shepherding Government through a change of leadership and political directional more fundamental than most General Elections, the civil service will ensure that the functions of Government continue to serve our country and deliver our vital public services".

Penman called for incoming Government Ministers to make sure the civil service had "both the capacity and capability" to meet the challenge ahead.

"As we now begin to consider the process of removing the UK from EU decisions and structures, the Government of the day will be faced with determining what will replace them and how this will be implemented," he said.

"Whether it's negotiating new trade deals with the world, implementing a new immigration policy, creating a new system of farm subsidies or sustaining regional development, the civil service will be tasked with delivering the vision for the UK that will follow this result."

Penman added: "All sides in this debate recognise that negotiating an exit from the EU will be a complex process, taking a significant amount of both time and resource. Whoever leads the Government will need to ensure that they provide the civil service with the resources and expertise necessary to deliver this outcome."

Read the full story:

Civil service must be properly resourced to deliver Government commitments following UK exit from EU, says FDA
FDA press release


21 April

FDA responds to Senior Salaries Review Body report and pay guidance for the civil service

The Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) published its annual report on 21 April, including recommendations for senior civil service pay, to which the Government responded shortly afterwards.

The FDA issued a press release, which was reported by Civil Service World (CSW), stating that the SSRB and the Government had missed an opportunity to address senior civil service morale and retention in the long term.

General Secretary Dave Penman said: "The independent pay review body for MPs led the way last year in producing thorough, evidence-based recommendations that looked at all the issues, not just what would be acceptable to headline writers. Faced with similar evidence, the SSRB has once again proposed inadequate tinkering with the pay system for senior civil servants, despite knowing that the system has failed.

"With a gender pay gap that seems cast in stone, hundreds of senior civil servants being paid less than the staff they manage and external recruits being paid an average of £20,000 more a year, it's no wonder that morale and motivation levels remain subterranean. Yet once again, we have only concern and sticking plasters from the SSRB; no proposals for reform and no sense of urgency to which the Government would feel obliged to respond.

"The FDA called on the SSRB to be bold and our members called on it to address the unfairness. The Government cannot preside over a pay review system that is independent for MPs, yet wilfully ignore similar evidence when it comes to its own staff.

"The Government expects a lot from the leadership of the civil service: it's time they were able to expect a fair deal in return. If the review body approach cannot deliver, an alternative way forward needs to be found."

Read more:

After reform of MPs' pay, civil servants deserve better than sticking plaster approach from review body, says FDAFDA press release

Departments get more Senior Civil Service pay freedom as review highlights "major" anomalies
Civil Service World

Thirty-Eighth Annual Report on Senior Salaries 2016
SSRB report

Senior Salaries Review Body: Written statement

Response to SSRB report from Prime Minster David Cameron

The FDA also issued a press release responding to the publication of the 2016-17 pay guidance for the civil service from HM Treasury.

Penman said: "At a time when the civil service is being asked to deliver ever more elaborate policies with ever fewer resources, civil servants are constantly being asked to work more flexibly; it's time the Chancellor led by example and loosened the stranglehold on civil service employers."

 


21 April

FDA welcomes Court of Appeal ruling over unlawful amendments to Department for Transport's staff handbook

CSW also reported the FDA's reaction to the Department for Transport (DfT) losing a legal bid to enforce changes to its staff handbook, which reduce the amount of sick days employees can take before triggering disciplinary proceedings.

FDA National Officer representing DfT, Martin Furlong, told CSW: "This is about fairness and consistency across the department. We continue to be ready to discuss the underlying issues with the department in due course."

Read the full article:

Legal blow for Department for Transport over staff sick day changes
Civil Service World


20 April

Penman accuses Select Committee Chair of 'grandstanding'

After the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) Chair Keith Vaz asked Home Office Second Permanent Secretary Olly Robbins to leave an evidence session, having referred to Robbins' answers as "unsatisfactory", CSW reported the FDA's criticism of Vaz's approach.

Penman said: "The HASC Chair's performance, as that is exactly what it was, is a particularly unfortunate example of the approach that some Select Committee members have adopted.

"By interrupting Robbins' evidence 11 times in little over 5 minutes, and repeatedly asking him 'do you understand that?' over the 20 minute session, the Chair demonstrated that he was not interested in getting to the facts, but instead was grandstanding for a wider audience.

"Select Committees play a vital role in our democracy by holding Government to account, but this sort of behaviour is little more than an ego trip wrapped in the cloak of noble purpose and only serves to undermine credibility."

Read the full article:

FDA chief Dave Penman: committee chair was "grandstanding" over Olly Robbins row
Civil Service World


18 April

FDA on BBC Radio 4's Today in Parliament

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was interviewed on Radio 4's Today in Parliament, discussing how MPs treat civil servants during Select Committee hearings. Former Public Accounts Committee Chair Margaret Hodge MP and current Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Bernard Jenkin MP, also shared their views.

The issue was raised after Home Office Second Permanent Secretary Olly Robbins was asked to leave a Home Affairs Committee session last week, after Chair Keith Vaz referred to Robbins' answers as "unsatisfactory".

Penman told of a meeting to discuss the FDA's concerns with the Chair of a Select Committee, where he "quoted verbatim what members of that Committee had said about civil servants, including questioning their intelligence, and the response from the Chair of that Committee was: 'Well at the end of the day, this is theatre'.

"I think that demonstrates at times what is wrong with approach of some Select Committees. Inevitably, because of the power that Parliament has, there is little control over this and so our complaints quite often fall on deaf ears."

Penman also added that he knew of "cases where individuals have not sought promotion - talented public servants - because with that will come a threat of ritual humiliation at a Select Committee hearing that could be career-defining".

Hear the full report:

BBC Radio 4's Today in Parliament: 15 April 2016
(Seven minutes, six seconds into the programme)

 

22 March

FDA National Officer for Scotland, Allan Sampson, was quoted in the Scotsman, the Daily Record, the Evening Express and the Deeside Piper and Herald, welcoming a report by the Fair Work Convention.

The Convention - a cross-sector body appointed by the Scottish Government including leaders in unions, business, councils, academia and charities - has published plans to help create a fair employment framework for Scotland.

In the union's press release, Sampson said:

"The FDA welcomes the report's statement that 'trade unions have a crucial role to play… in contributing to making workplaces more effective and prosperous for all'.

"At a time where the Government in Westminster is carrying out an unwarranted attack on the operation of trade unions via the Trade Union Bill, it is refreshing to see this report acknowledge their importance, in order to 'increase job security and equality and… help deliver wide-ranging individual and collective benefits'.

"The FDA also welcomes the report's call for 'investment in learning, personal development and career advancement'. Governments need to recognise that high-quality training and development outcomes require a genuine resource and time commitment.

"We call upon the Scottish Government and related employers to embrace the report's recommendation that organisations throughout Scotland provide an effective voice, security, equality of opportunity, and respect for employees."

Read the full story:

Unions welcome report calling for more extensive recognition to help challenge 'abuses of power'
Daily Record

Unions give backing to Fair Work Convention report
Scotsman
Evening Express
Deeside Piper and Herald


16 March

Reacting to the publication of the 2016 Budget, the FDA issued a press release that was featured in more than 50 national and regional publications, including the Daily Mail and the Times.

General Secretary Dave Penman said:

"Once again, when the Chancellor's numbers don't add up he comes to the well of public services to drink again by announcing further budget cuts.

"It's only three months since departmental budgets were set and yet departments are now expected to deliver an additional £3.5bn of savings in 2019/20 through another efficiency review.

"But that's not all. By announcing a change to the discount rate on public sector pensions - without any consultation - they are effectively removing a further £2bn from public services and transferring it to the Treasury to give the illusion of a surplus: a political con trick that can only further damage public services.

"This Government have consistently failed to explain to taxpayers and public servants how the resources it allocates to match the commitments it makes, despite the promise to do so. Unfortunately for the Chancellor, his smoke and mirrors on the pension contributions can't hide the fact that the cuts are significantly worse than his headline announcement."

Read a sample of the coverage here:

Chancellor claws back £2bn in 'stealth raid' on pensions
The Times

Budget 2016: pensions tweak "will take £2bn from departmental budgets" says OBR - as unions blast "smoke and mirrors" move
Civil Service World

Public sector unions condemn new Budget pressures on pensions
Public Sector Executive

George Osborne accused of 'back door' raid on NHS and other spending areas
The Daily Mail
Belfast Telegraph
Basingstoke Gazette

Bittersweet Budget as 'cocktail' of risks derails fiscal plans
Yorkshire Post
Wear Valley Advertiser
Chester Le Street Advertiser
South Wales Guardian
Express and Star

BT.com
AOL.co.uk


10 March

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was interviewed on yesterday evening's The World Tonight programme on Radio 4, discussing the freedom of opinions for civil servants on issues such as the EU Referendum.

After former Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) John Longworth stepped down from his role after stating his view that Britain should leave the EU, and guidelines on how to discuss the referendum were published by the Cabinet Office and the Charity Commission, presenter Ritula Shah asked how freely people in high-profile roles should be allowed to voice their opinion.

Penman's response was that "the question is about individuals and their responsibilities… The BCC had a very particular policy position of neutrality on this issue. As the Director General, if [Longworth] expresses an individual and personal position, it is very difficult to separate that from the organisation that he is the key individual representing.

"For my members as civil servants, they face a dilemma where they're supporting the Government of the day but in some cases individual Ministers are able to take a personal position opposed to the Government's position. There are rules, issued last week, which provide guidance to Ministers and provide guidance to civil servants about what they can and cannot do. So I think it really is about the circumstances and responsibilities of the individual rather than being a free-for-all for everyone.

"Inevitably with something like the EU Referendum we have polarised debate around this and that includes whether people are free to speak or not."

Hear the full interview:

BBC Radio 4 The World Tonight: 9 March 2016

(Starts 24 minutes, 15 seconds into the programme)

 

29 February

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was quoted in The Guardian following much speculation, and argument, in the press and amongst politicians on the fairness of the recent guidance issued by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood for civil servants in the run up to the EU referendum.

Penman told Rajeev Syal:

"The FDA welcomes the clear guidance issued by Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood clarifying the responsibilities of both civil servants and special advisers on the handling of papers relating to the referendum.

"Civil servants are there to support the Government of the day and that Government's policies, which in this case is to remain part of the reformed EU.

"The continued wrangling from politicians over this issue will only serve to impact upon the smooth running of government and damage the essential relationship between civil servants and ministers."

Read more:

EU referendum row could affect functioning of Whitehall, says union
The Guardian


25 February

The Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC) - the FDA section representing senior HM Revenue and Customs officials - is quoted in the Financial Times, responding to a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on corporate tax settlements.

The PAC - a cross-party select committee of MPs - concluded that the £130m paid by Google in a recent settlement with HMRC seemed "disproportionately small compared with the size of Google's business in the UK". The Committee raised concerns about the "absence of full transparency" and called on HMRC to consult on opening the tax affairs of multinational companies to public scrutiny.

However, the article also reports the view of the Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation's John Vella, who felt that anyone looking into the details of tax settlements "must have considerable time and expertise", adding that he is "not sure MPs have enough of either". Judith Freedman, Professor of taxation law at Oxford university, also said a better system of scrutiny was required.

The Association of Revenue and Customs said it welcomed the report, which did not find that HMRC entered into any kind of "deal", and agreed with the opinions of Vella and Freedman: "We feel that a parliamentary committee . . . may not be best equipped to consider individual cases, which involve issues of complex tax law, accountancy and international treaties".

Read more:

'Impossible to judge' if Google paid enough tax, say MPs
Financial Times


23 February

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman is quoted in the Guardian, responding to a National Audit Office (NAO) report on the accountability to Parliament of taxpayers' money.

The report states that Permanent Secretaries, or Accounting Officers (AOs), now operate in an environment where Ministers often perform a more 'executive' role in policy implementing policy and seek greater involvement in top civil service appointments, while appointing increasingly influential Special Advisers to act on their behalf.

The NAO recommends that the "Cabinet Office should identify and put in place specific measures to change incentives for Permanent Secretaries to emphasise their AO responsibilities, alongside their duty to Ministers".

Penman questioned why these recommendations had only been suggested for civil servants: "As the report highlights, Ministers and their Special Advisers' increasing influence over the implementation of policy is judged to be one of the major factors that needs to be addressed.

"The report calls for specific measures to change incentives for Permanent Secretaries to be put in place, yet no similar approach has been suggested for ministers or their Special Advisers."

Read more:

Civil servants 'under pressure to agree with ministerial spending'
Guardian


15 February

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was quoted on the front page of the Financial Times, responding to a Cabinet Office document stating that there are plans to make civil servants redundant to make space for apprentices.

The Civil Service Compensation Scheme consultation states that the scheme "remains too expensive in light of the national debt and budget deficit leaving less money available to support those where necessary. This is especially acute because of the requirement to reduce current staff numbers due to both the spending review and the need to create space to allow for the recruitment of apprentices."

Penman condemned the Cabinet Office's mention of the need to increase apprentices within a consultation on redundancy: "We need an unequivocal statement from the Minister confirming that not a single job will be lost to make space for apprentices."

He added that the Government should not "use the drive to increase the number of apprentices in the UK as an excuse for making existing staff redundant".

Read more:

Civil servants face axe so 30,000 apprenticeships goal can be met
Financial Times
(please note that the full article is behind a paywall)


11 February

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was quoted in the Guardian, Civil Service World and Public Finance responding to a National Audit Office (NAO) report into members' experience of civil service pension administration.

The NAO found that when MyCSP took over the administration of the civil service pensions payroll in September 2014 it "did not cope with the workload", leading to members being "paid late" and experiencing "hardship and distress".

The FDA issued a press release, in which Penman said that FDA members had endured a "chronic level of service that would be utterly unacceptable in the private sector".

"We welcome the NAO's investigation and support its recommendations - in particular the prioritisation of a thorough data cleansing exercise that is crucial to members getting the pension they have saved for, and for taxpayers to be confident in the proper cost management of the scheme," he added.

While MyCSP has improved, Penman raised the union's concerns about MyCSP's "capacity to handle the vast number of exits being processed at the moment and the forthcoming Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) reconciliation requirement."

He warned that "should the Chancellor decide to make changes to pension tax relief in the forthcoming Budget, we simply do not believe the scheme administration could cope."

Read more:

Three-quarters of civil service pension records are wrong or missing
Guardian Public Leaders Network


1 February

FDA in the FT and Civil Service World

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was quoted in the Financial Times speaking out against criticism of HMRC civil servants, relating to the Google tax settlement announced last week.

Penman explained: "The bottom line is that HMRC officials can only work within the law."

"Underpaid civil servants have been working tirelessly on behalf of the public to ensure that everyone - from multinational corporations to individuals - pays the correct amount of tax as the law requires."

The union issued a press release, which was also quoted in Civil Service World (CSW).

CSW's report provided more detail from the FDA on why civil servants should not be barracked for applying tax laws as they currently stood, and why Ministers need to invest in HMRC to achieve the results they want.

Penman said: "Governments and politicians of all colours are vulnerable to lobbying and accusations of being anti-business when it comes aggressive tax legislation. Tax officials are not."

He explained that "enforcement requires a continued investment in HMRC if it is to unravel the complex avoidance strategies of multinationals, and the many millions of pounds that these companies invest in big accountancy firms to support their strategies.

"HMRC has demonstrated that investment in highly-skilled public servants delivers results. During the previous parliament, HMRC achieved record-breaking revenues of more than £517bn, with compliance yields up by more than 43% since 2011-12. All of this was achieved whilst meeting Government demands to cut resources by around 25%", Penman highlighted.

"However convenient it is for politicians to use civil servants as political pawns, if Ministers are serious about further tackling multinationals, they need to provide tax officials with the legislation and resources to deliver the results they seek."

Read more:

Google's £130m tax pact: HMRC is not 'busy cutting special deals'
Financial Times

Civil servants "unfairly criticised" in Google tax row, says the FDA's Dave Penman
Civil Service World

Any Google tax settlement concerns lie with lawmakers, not tax officials, says HMRC union
FDA press release


FDA responds to BIS plans to close Sheffield office

Following an announcement by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Permanent Secretary Martin Donnelly that BIS' Sheffield office is to close, FDA National Officer Helen Kenny told Civil Service World:

"We are disappointed by the decision, and by the fact that we have not been consulted about it or even informed in advance of the announcement. However, we will fully engage with the department in an attempt to get the best outcome for our members."

Read more:

Unions attack plans to close Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' office in Sheffield
Civil Service World


26 January 

FDA speaks out on SCS pay

Following the submission the FDA and Prospect's evidence to the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB), the Financial Timesreported on the impact on the morale of senior civil servants, after six years of pay restraint alongside the recruitment of staff from outside of the civil service on higher salaries.

The FDA issued a press release on this issue that outlined key results from its SCS pay survey, which was also quoted in Civil Service World (CSW).

In the FT, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said that the Government's approach "of throwing money at new recruits from the private sector, while holding experienced civil servants down at the bottom of their pay scale, isn't working and is blocking efforts to resolve the ever present gender pay gap".

CSWquoted Penman's view that it is time for a "fundamental review of the SCS pay system".

The Review Body's recommendations are unlikely to be finalised until March 2016, at which point the Government will need to decide which recommendations it accepts and how they will be implemented.

Read more here:

Civil service outsiders receive £25,000 extra pay
Financial Times

Civil service unions call for "one-off" payrise as senior officials vent frustrations
Civil Service World

Written Evidence to Senior Salaries Review BodyFDA and Prospect joint evidence to SSRB November 2015

FDA calls on pay review body to act, as evidence shows rising inequality for senior civil servantsFDA press release


For earlier FDA mentions, visit FDA in the media 2015