PASC chair calls for independent Parliamentary Commission on future of civil service at FDA annual conference

16 May 2013
(For immediate release) 
In his speech to the FDA’s annual conference, Chair of the Public Administration Select Committee Bernard Jenkin announced the need for an independent Parliamentary Committee to take a considered approach to the future of the civil service, and praised the role of the FDA in leading the debate on engaged reform of the civil service.

Jenkin criticised an approach to civil service reform based on blame and weak leadership, stating that “many recent failures of government stem from a tendency to think less about the long term than about the daily news agenda”.

He also highlighted the importance of trust and candour in the relationship between Ministers and civil servants: “Any effective administration depends upon trust amongst the leading protagonists, effective governance of the organisation, which in turn depends upon the quality of leadership at the top.”

Jenkin put forward the idea of a Parliamentary Commission as a solution to this, along the same lines as the Tyrie Commission into banking.

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said: “Bernard Jenkin is right to say that civil service reform is too important to be done in a hasty and piecemeal fashion. The FDA has proposed a commission to take a detailed look at civil service reform – facts not frustration should be the motivation for reform.

“The FDA White Paper sets out 20 recommendations for reform and we look forward to participating in the new phase of this debate that Bernard Jenkin had proposed.” 


Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union for the UK's senior public servants and professionals. FDA membership includes more than 19,000 senior civil servants, government policy advisors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors, prosecutors and other professionals work across government and the NHS.

2. 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".  

3. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union and at

4. For further information contact:

Dave Penman, FDA General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07967 503827 .

Kay Hender, Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5589 or 07980 700747 .