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Wednesday 16 January 2019

Civil service turnover: Without fundamental reform, Government “will only repeat mistakes of the past”

Responding to the Institute for Government’s report Moving on: the costs of high staff turnover in the civil service, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman said:

“This report from the Institute for Government rightly shines a light on the reasons why turnover in some critical areas of the civil service is too high.

"It also illustrates the true cost of this turnover: millions of pounds of taxpayer money and reduced efficiency.

“We welcome the recommendations that would enhance the role of HR across the service, drive greater data led analysis of turnover and address some of the strategic workforce planning weaknesses.

“The report recognises that stagnating pay progression has led to staff moving roles, as this is the only way to improve their salaries. However, the Institute for Government has failed to understand the history of pay in the civil service or the inherent flaws in the system, which were evident before the current period of pay restraint.

“Civil service pay has remained largely unreformed for 25 years. Staff turnover is only one of many problems that need addressing. A series of sticking plasters, focussing on a small select group rather than the broader weaknesses in the system, will only repeat the mistakes of the past.

“Fundamental reform of how pay systems operate - both in departmental bargaining and for the Senior Civil Service - is long overdue, having been stuck in the ministerial 'too difficult' tray for over a decade.

“Whilst the rest of the public sector has embraced the ending of the pay cap as an opportunity to drive reform, the civil service is once again the bottom of the public sector pay league.

“If ministers are serious about addressing the weaknesses identified in the report, root and branch reform of pay structures is essential. That inevitably requires a level of investment that the Treasury has consistently shown it is not prepared to fund.”
Notes for editors
1. The FDA is the union for senior managers and professionals in public service, representing more than 18,000 members at grades HEO and above. Membership includes senior civil servants, government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across the 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 www.fda.org.uk. General Secretary Dave Penman tweets as @FDAGenSec. 
4. For more information contact: 
FDA Communications Officer Tommy Newell on 020 7401 5588 or 07738 729 145 or email on tommy@fda.org.uk
FDA Communications Officer Laura Gilbert on 020 7401 5589 or email on laura.gilbert@fda.org.uk
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