Government playing politics with civil service departments

8 June 2009

(For immediate release)

Government playing politics with civil service departments

The establishment and abolition of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) in only 20 months was condemned by the FDA as a vast waste of taxpayers' money for which the Government should be held to account. The FDA is the union representing senior managers and professionals in the civil service.

FDA General Secretary Jonathan Baume said:

"More than £7 million of taxpayers' money has been wasted so far in setting up the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills and then abolishing it 20 months later. Merging it back in to BERR - as the new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - can only be assumed to be for party political expediency rather than for better government. There is a responsibility on Parliament to ensure that the Government is held to account for this entire farce.

"Ministers don't seem to grasp how much time and money is spent in setting up a new government department, or in merging work into a new department.

"There are accommodation moves, printing of vast quantities of headed stationery and forms, the alignment of business systems - including the IT and finance functions - and on top of this, considerable work required on the people aspects of a department. Ironically these discussions are just concluding in DIUS as the department is abolished. It is very expensive, time consuming and demanding of resources.

"All of that time and money expended on this process over the past 20 months has been wasted, and more is to be spent on the incorporation of DIUS into BERR. It is time and money diverted from helping those in need of education and training at the very time when this is needed most."

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 18,000 of the UK's senior civil and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

2. Members in HMRC are represented by the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC), a section of the FDA.

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

4. For further information contact:

Jonathan Baume, General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07976 951191.

Oliver Rowe, Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5588 or 07590 838696.