General Secretary's message to members following UK vote to leave the EU

General Secretary Dave Penman has issued the following message to all members of the FDA:


As you are well aware, the leave vote in the European Union referendum - with all of its attendant economic, political and constitutional consequences - is one of the most significant events in the UK's post war history.

From the moment it became evident that Britain had voted to leave the EU it was clear that we are now in unchartered territory, with little or no precedent governing what is about to happen next.

On Friday morning, as the pound tumbled and the Bank of England and the Treasury sought to steady the markets, I said that the people of our country were already understanding the benefit of a permanent and politically neutral civil service.

Both in the preparation of contingency plans for this outcome and assisting the transition of a new Prime Minister and possible Government, the civil service will ensure that the functions of Government continue and our vital public services are maintained.

In these turbulent times, the civil service will be a force for stability in the country and many of you will be directly involved in ensuring this outcome.

There is no doubt that the challenge for the civil service in delivering the mandate from the referendum will be enormous.

Huge swathes of policy and legislation will need to be re-considered and decided upon by Ministers, Government and Parliament. All of this is required whilst maintaining our public services and carrying out business as usual.

In the days and weeks ahead the FDA will be discussing with departments and the Cabinet Office the consequences of all of this, for our members and the service as a whole.

There are obvious implications both for the resources available and the skill-set required to deliver the agenda that has been set by the outcome of the referendum.

This poses significant challenges for the civil service and those working within it, particularly given the context of the continuing squeeze on resources across public services.

I know many of you will have concerns and questions that at this time cannot be answered. Every hour brings fresh political or economic uncertainty.

Despite early speculation, it will take some time to fully assess the implications for the civil service. I want to assure you that the FDA will be part of that dialogue, however it impacts upon our members.

Just as you, committed public servants, can provide a solid foundation for the citizens of the UK in these uncertain times, so the FDA will be there supporting you and advocating on your behalf.

If you have any thoughts about the challenge ahead and how the FDA can help support members, please do not hesitate to get in touch directly.

Dave Penman
FDA General Secretary