Government has ‘no strategy, only dogma’ over civil service, says FDA union leader

16 May 2013
(For immediate release) 
In his speech to the FDA’s annual conference, General Secretary Dave Penman told delegates that in making recent changes to civil service terms and conditions, “this Government has picked a fight with civil servants over issues that can only be described as political dogma rather than austerity”.

In his first speech to conference as General Secretary, Penman said: “The civil service is there to shape policy and deliver services, keep our borders safe, avoid tax evasion, improve our schools, prosecute criminals and represent our national interests abroad to name but a few. It is not simply an alternative means to reduce the deficit.”

He referred to recent increases in working hours for new senior civil servants – a third of whom already work more than 11 extra hours every week – as “meaningless, dogmatic and insulting”.

Penman outlined how the FDA’s alternative White Paper – Delivering for the Nation: Securing a World-Class Civil Service – articulates “a vision for the civil service, equipping it with the skills to deliver and how to improve morale and motivation... the big issues for FDA members are recognition, reward and resources”.

While admitting that we are in “the toughest of times to be a public servant and a union representative”, Penman told conference that “the FDA can rise to the challenges that lie ahead”. 

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 .