IPPR Report for the Cabinet Office on overseas accountability and responsiveness in the senior civil service
This report was commissioned by the Cabinet Office to look at senior civil service practice in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Sweden, France, US, Canada and the EU. The report argues for strengthening the role of politicians in the appointment process, Penman said: "Institutionalising insecurity is not the way to a responsive, responsible civil service. Retaining a system of appointing on merit is fundamental to the maintenance of a politically impartial civil service. Ministers have opportunities within the current system to influence the appointment of senior civil servants but handing over the control of the appointments process to politicians as recommended by the IPPR could compromise that impartiality."
Read FDA's press release in response to the report
Read the full report
FDA participates in 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 deabte the inequity of pay in the public sector on Friday 14 June.
Kenny said: "The civil service reform plan doesn't refer to pay: if there were a structured, fair and transparent system of progression over a relatively short period of time then these problems would most likely be resolved. Pay freezes and caps are the worst kind of short term thinking and to believe that civil service reform will work without dealing with these issues is delusional. FDA has published an alternative white paper and in that we argue that responsibility for setting civil service pay policy for all grades represented by the union should be transferred to a strengthened, independent and autonomous salary review body."
Read a round up of the discussion here.
Why Maude is wrong on appointments
FDA's General Secretary Dave Penman has written an opinion piece in Civil Service World 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".
He continues: "Fortunately for the public, the current system is set up to ensure that civil servants speak truth unto power – and that does not happen by accident. It happens because the system demands that impartial, permanent and skilled civil servants have the power and knowledge to speak that truth. Of course ministers can affect the careers of civil servants – and they do – but in general the principle that a permanent civil servant is there to serve successive ministers and governments offers officials a solid foundation from which to provide the robust, evidence-based advice that the minister for civil service reform says his colleagues want.
Penman concludes: "What we do know is whoever wins the next election, the scale – and probably the pace – of cuts in public spending will remain. Time, perhaps, to genuinely re-think how our public services are delivered, rather than simply expecting the civil service to continue to do inexorably more with dramatically-reduced resources.
"The FDA has always held the view that government has a democratic mandate to determine the size of the civil service, but it must match public sector resources to public sector commitments. Uncomfortable as that may be for politicians, perhaps a commission – royal or parliamentary – is a way to gain some consensus on how this can be achieved."
Read the full article in Civil Service World
Read the Civil Service World editorial on civil service reforms in the same issue
FDA participates in Guardian Public Leaders Network Livechat on how to reverse pay inequality in the public sector and Whitehall
FDA Officer Helen Kenny was on the expert panel of a Guardian PLN Livechat on 14 June discussing pay inequality in the public sector and Whitehall. Other panel members included Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, Wendy Bradley, who retired from HMRC in 2012 and is currently a PhD research student at Sheffield University, Pamela Cole, research officer at the Public and Commerical Services Union (PCS) Steve Brooks, director of the Electoral Reform Society Wales. Brooks is also a board member of Women Making A Difference, Stephanie Elsy is managing director of a business delivering efficiency in public services. Catherine Griffiths is the pay and review deputy policy lead at the Public Sector Manager's Association (PPMA). Read a report of the conversation here (link)