A letter from FDA General Secretary Dave Penman was published in Saturday's Times, in response to the newspaper's leading article which stated that the civil service "tolerates failure" and is "risk-averse".
Read the letter online:Civil servants and the blame gameThe Times
As The Times website is behind a pay wall, the published letter is also reproduced here:
Sir, To say that failure is tolerated in the civil service (leading article, Aug 29) is unfair to civil servants. The civil service is now at its smallest since 1945. There have been big cuts in staff, pay and budgets since 2010, and these will continue for the foreseeable future. It is also easy to blame civil servants for being risk-averse. It is their job to speak truth unto power. Most politicians, however — and especially ministers — have absolute faith in their own ideas. Running government is complicated, and flagship projects can run into difficulty, in the private and the public sector. Having clarity of objectives, and recognising at the outset that ambitious political commitments can be difficult to deliver, is what is necessary. The blame culture and briefing against individuals will not encourage risk-taking — quite the opposite. Of course, the civil service needs to continue to reform, as does every major organisation. However, the civil service also needs recognition of the value that it already brings; fair reward, as pay levels for the more senior grades are woefully behind any market comparison; and the resources necessary to match the commitments of government. Dave Penman General Secretary, FDA
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