Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Did she fall or was she PUShed? The latest MOD redundancies are announced...


Yesterday was ‘R Day’ – the point where thousands of service personnel found out whether they were being made redundant or not. The process identified those at risk of redundancy many months ago, and based on the many military colleagues that Humphrey saw, there appeared to be three reactions:

a.       Disappointment that they would be leaving HM Forces unwillingly

b.      Delight that they had been selected for voluntary redundancy

c.       Disappointment that they hadn’t been selected for voluntary redundancy.


It was telling that despite the difficult jobs market, 72% of those on the redundancy signal were volunteers. Many the author spoke to couldn’t believe their luck that they were going to receive large sums of money to leave the military, and spoke of being able to pay their mortgage off and never work again. For most of those on the list yesterday, there was real excitement at the thought of looking to start again, merged with a tingling of fear and discomfort as the reality of their decision set in.
It is ironic that almost everyone in HM Forces seems to have an exit plan. From day one people seem to talk about life after the military, and what they’ll do when they get outside. It feels at times that people see serving in the military as some kind of prison sentence, and that all they can do is complain about how bad it is. It is genuinely unusual to see people publicly admit to loving working in the military, and you often see people mutter about someone being ‘dangerously keen’. Life in the military is like working the worlds longest notice period – you know from day one when you will be required to leave the military, and this is perhaps reflected in many peoples attitudes.

That said, it is genuinely surprising to see just how many mid ranking officers (e.g. SO2-1*) have chosen to go in this round. It was seemingly without irony that the Daily Telegraph, which usually complains about the number of Staff Officers suddenly began referring to those affected in gushingly positive terms, implying the military would suffer from their departure.

There are a lot of good officers seeking to leave early, and this will hurt the military. While an attrition rate is inevitable – of the 500 cadets entering Dartmouth each year, only a fraction will ever make it to Admiral – it is still worrying that some very good officers, with the potential to go a long way have left. Although it will not in itself present a problem now, one has to wonder how the Armed Forces will be affected in 10 - 20 years’ time as a result of the people leaving now.

It is hard to see a way around the budget crisis though without moving to manpower cuts, particularly to the army. While the Navy and Airforce man the equipment, the Army has always ‘equipped the man’. An overheated equipment programme needs cuts in manpower to make savings on ground forces equipment. There is no point having an army of 100,000 if you can only afford to buy sufficient equipment for 80,000 troops. The reality is that military personnel are extremely expensive to recruit, train, employ, house, pay and provide good conditions for. When there are budget problems, often the only solution is to reduce headcount, as the associated savings are far greater than could otherwise be the case with just cutting the equipment programme.

There has been an inevitable amount of negative media coverage about these cuts. The papers seem to major on the losses to the Army, and note that yet more cuts will be required in order to bring the force to its future strength of 82,000. As usual there were lots of sniping comments about why no penpushers seemed to be going, and far too many articles failed to put in context the fact that 40% of the MOD civil service is being lost.

One MOD civil servant departure that was slipped out quietly, and which seems to have garnered little attention is the early departure of Ursula Brennan, the Permanent Under Secretary (PUS). The news that she is instead moving to the Ministry of Justice is a damning indictment of the decline of the MOD as a ‘great department of State’ in the civil service career structure.

It would previously have been nearly unthinkable for a PUS to leave MOD to go to a different department, particularly a smaller and less high profile one. The MOD was, along with Home Office, Treasury and FCO, one of the major departments where PUS did not usually leave to go elsewhere in the civil service, but instead they retired.

So why leave now? While the truth of the matter will almost certainly never be known, it is easy to speculate as to what prompted this decision. From the outset there has always been a suspicion that ‘Ursula’ (as she is referred to by many MOD types) was appointed simply because no one else wanted the job. Some civil servants known to the author expressed the view that she never seemed truly comfortable in the MOD. She didn’t join until 2008, and has only ever done the 2nd PUS and PUS job. She had no institutional background, and perhaps wasn’t seen internally as the classic ‘MOD civil servant’.

The MOD is a very different department of state to most Government departments. Its Civil Servants ‘go native’ for the Military. It is often said that some Civil Servants are more military in posture, language and dress than the Military. There is a very close relationship between the Civil Service, the Military, PUS, CDS and Ministers, and one in which there is a far more intimate sense that PUS is not a remote figurehead, but is someone who matters and is accessible to people at all levels. It would be fair to say that many of those who dealt with her found her a pleasant person, and very sharp. You don’t become a 4* civil servant unless you have some excellent skills. But, the author has heard from some of the nagging suspicion that for all she did, she didn’t come across to some in her department as someone who intrinsically 'got Defence'.

In her time at the MOD, she has had to oversee the slashing of budgets, the balancing of the equipment programme, and the delivery of the SDSR. In her role as the head of the MOD civil service, she’s overseen a programme of massive job losses and site closure. In other words, she has had to be the bearer of bad news to many people.

A departure now probably makes sense. A new appointee will probably not be in before late 2012. This gives them barely two years to be up to speed before the next SDSR, which already seems to be creeping into view. Given the Levene review was clear that senior figures should spend about five years in post, a new PUS now will be able to be up to speed, advise Ministers on how the next SDSR should be conducted, and deliver it ahead of moving on in 2016-2017. This gives their successor time to do the same for the 2020 SDSR.

Whoever replaces her faces a very difficult task. Let’s set aside the implementation of the 2010 SDSR, preparing for the 2015 SDSR and delivering success on operations while remaining in budget. They will be leading a department which has seen both its PUS and 2nd PUS leave in the space of a few months (with the 2nd PUS role abolished). They will be leading a workforce where morale appears to be extremely low, and who is recoiling from the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. They have to deliver a change programme which cannot promise a vision beyond more job cuts and more work for those who are left. Unlike the private sector where a promise of cuts today could mean expansion and more money in the near future, there is no bright light that can be offered. The workforce is demoralised, undergoing a three year pay freeze, demonised and feeling as if it is the whipping boy for the mistakes of others.

The PUS will need to try to take steps to reassure an aging work force (reportedly 60% of MOD is aged over 40) that they still have a meaningful career path. This is to be done when recruiting is frozen, promotion boards are on hold, and when HR no longer exists to guide staff on logical career development. They also need to try to work out how to hold onto people with niche skills and roles, such as project managers, procurement experts, and intelligence specialists and so on. They need to work out how to replenish this finite resource too, as with the recruiting taps currently all but turned off for new entrants; there will come a point when skills are lost forever.

It will be most interesting to see who steps forward to take on this role and what they do to try to keep the MOD as one of the best places to be a civil servant in Government. It won’t be an easy job, and most likely a thankless one.

22 comments:

  1. "It is genuinely unusual to see people publicly admit to loving working in the military,. . . "

    Well, I did and do. Thirty-seven years and enjoyed almost every minute of it. Four years in MOD stretched my tolerance but I found myself working with some remarkably able, dedicated folk at all rank levels. It was also my first experience of working with Civil Servants above AO grade. I soon appreciated the quality, commitment and value they brought to Defence.

    Very much enjoyed the article as a whole. The world (never mind UK and MOD) is in constant white water, has been since the earliest days of civilization and will, I'm sure, continue thus forever. We all need to learn to navigate our own choppy streams.

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  2. We assume that the people Humphrey relates to hold the Queens Commission - I don't get the same impression from the O.Rs.

    My qualifications for giving this opinion.... I work for SSAFA Forces Help, and our workload has more than tripled during these turbulent times.

    I felt very sad after reading this article, because it doesn't reflect reality in any aspect, from the redundancies, the gloss put on the stories of the experienced service people glad to leave, from the happiness of the people left behind who have to fill the gaps.

    Its all a deception on a grand scale.

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  3. Ianeon - I'm not trying to put a positive gloss on what has happened. Actually I was trying to make the point that when 72% of the cuts can be filled by people who want to leave, what does that say about the current situation in the military?
    Everywhere is different, but from what I've seen, lots of people wanted out, or were dissapointed when they didnt get out.
    I'm sorry if you think that this is deception.

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  4. I'm not entirely sure I buy into the argument that this is the right time for the PUS to move on. The MOD has a massive change programme - aka transforming defence - in hand. The PUS was one of the few strong exponents right at the top of the need to do this. We're still at the front end. Levene was crystal clear abut the need for very senior people to stay in post longer. I heard a senior officer only today say "well that didn't show much commitment, did it?". There is a very real risk that what chance there was of actually delivering enough of the difficult things needed have actually been significantly reduced by Ursula Brennan moving on now. And the most convincing explanation I have so far heard around the bazaars for this is that, as when the MOD ended up with Bill Jeffrey, the Department is at the end of a Permanent Secretary merry-go-round where the MOD is now low on the Whitehall Totem Pole, despite the difficulty of the job - in this case sparked by the departure of Suma Chakrabarti from MOJ. And politically, MOJ is now more important than MOD.

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  5. There are many glad to have been selected, but your anecdote of one who can pay the mortgage and never work again must be very rare outside Main Building.

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  6. surely the time is ripe to re-imagine the MoD?

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  7. Ursula has always come across as a "Yes Sir, three bags full Sir" sort of PUS. There was never any impression of her fighting for her people and all those letters she has been sending out lately saying how the government cuts and pension reforms will benefit the civil service are laughable.

    Civil servants and military can smell bullshit a mile away, what they needed to hear was, "We are going to get shafted, not your fault but take it on the chin and soldier on as we have a plan." CDM has been selling that message all over the shop and he gets some credibility and respect for it. (only some because he likes to bullshit too!) Whoever is next does have a really tough job in front of them. I don't think Ursula will be remembered fondly...

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  8. If I were PUS I'd WANT to move on - savaged by PAC over the CVF programme, unable to coherently present an argument. She was out of her depth. Interestingly I suspect her DTransformation colleague will be following her to MoJ with his tail between his legs as he's equally unimpressive.

    No Sir H I think you're spot on, Laneon entirely misses the point, that >70% of the redundancies were voluntary and a significant number of experienced and qualified people have left before the redundancy round and continue to do so, supports the general feeling of man organisation in decline and as always those with talent are recognising this and leaving early. Good luck to them, I'd be doing the exact same thing If I had time-qualified for pension at this rank but in 18m I too will be off!

    Far from any form of gran deception Laneon I simply think you're not seeing the wider picture, I see this from a single service, joint and agency perspective as my work takes me around a broad part of MoD each week.

    A2

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  9. John - Most of the people I met in the position of paying off the mortgage were longer serving, and who would be able to use the lump sum to clear their mortgage, and pension to live off. Its not everyone, but its not just a pampered few either.

    Paul - how would you re-imagine the MOD?

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  10. Good article, and reflects my experience working in a major HQ. It was noticeable on Monday when the first people were unofficially told that they had got redundancy, that all were ecstatic. This was then reflected among a wider cohort (via, inevitably, Facebook...) on Tuesday, when the official announcements were made.

    While we were aware of personnel who had been made compulsorily redundant, this exclusively appeared to be more junior personnel - I am only personally aware of passed-over private soldiers or lance corporals being forced out: all of the officers I know were volunteers. In many respects, some being forced to leave under redundancy are doing so under very considerably better terms that they would receive had Manning Control Points been used to end their service [1]. At the other end of the scale, the numbers seeking to jump ship, if you believe them, are staggering - apocryphally there were 25 Army OF5 (full Colonel) redundancy slots in Tranche 1, and 125 officers applied [insert comments about sinking ships *here*...].

    This illustrates the risk to which the MOD is exposed, and it is one which 4-star members of the Defence Board have stated that they are aware of: the insidious effect of four years of salary freezes, allowance cut-backs, and rolling redundancies, upon morale. The term 'Redundancy Survivor Syndrome' describes the physical and psychological impact of redundancies on the remaining staff who didn't lose their jobs [2], and it is increasingly noticeable among service personnel. The problem which MOD faces is that while service in the military demand 'a unique liability and sacrifice and therefore Armed Forces personnel necessarily forego some rights and freedoms enjoyed by civilian society' [3] - the factors which once mitigated the disadvantages are being subjected to increasing and inexorable process of attrition. Accordingly, as Sir Humphrey notes, 'There are a lot of good officers seeking to leave early'. The problem, of course, is that it is not the time-servers and clock-watchers (with Regular Commissions) who are applying to leave - it is the 'Top Third' officers who know that they *can* get good jobs outside the Army. While the Army Personnel Centre seek to mitigate this by using reverse selection boards to choose those to whom to offer redundancy (i.e. offer the three available 'slots' to the worst of the 10 officers in a particular redundancy field who apply), this still only selects from those who volunteered in the first place. I am unsure what the appetite is to turn down 'top third' volunteers, and compulsorily force out 'bottom third' non-volunteers. As Sir Humphrey warns, upon that political appetite rests the calibre of the senior officer cadre in 10-15 years time: if we don't focus redundancy on the bottom third, we will reap the consequences in the future.

    Rumour has it that Tranches 3 and 4 of the Army redundancy scheme, planned to be 6,000 and 5,000 personnel in 2013 and 2014 respectively, may now be be combined in the a single Tranche 3 to mitigate the toxic effects on morale from the omnipresent sword of Damocles currently poised over service personnel's heads for four years under the Tranche 1-4 compulsory redundancy plan.

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  11. On that note, what many of us find *cripplingly* hypocritical, and utterly toxic to morale in the Armed Forces, is that compulsory redundancy have applied thus far exclusively to the military: the civil service have only taken volunteers, as this BBC report notes:

    BBC News, 25 January 2012: MPs brand compulsory armed forces job cuts 'grotesque'
    "For military redundancies to be compulsory in 40% of cases, yet for civilian redundancies to be compulsory in none, is so grotesque that it requires an exceptionally persuasive reason."

    While the underlying rationale that "there are enough civil service volunteers" is accurate, what that overlooks is that:

    ** Civil servants applying for redundancy are almost exclusively the 'top third' who are good enough to get jobs elsewhere ** The 'bottom-third' of oxygen thieves, time-wasters and clock-watchers (sometimes euphemistically referred to as 'process-focussed' - i.e. they come to work, go through the motions, generate/deliver nothing, then go home), remain in the MOD. This failure to utilise the redundancy programme to undertake a clean sweep of the MOD civil service is inexcusable.

    Speaking of inexcusable, let's not even begin to talk about how civil servants are virtually impossible to sack (they're just moved to the Redeployment Pool), and how their can perform abysmally without adverse consequences (their appraisal reports, with the exception of the most recent, are not used for promotion or remuneration purposes - in stark contrasts to service personnel's SJARs and OJARs.)

    On 22nd June, the Defence Board is meeting to decide what Target Operating Model to endorse, following the recommendations of the Gray Report ('Review of Acquisition for the Secretary of State for Defence') [5]. It will apparently choose between a Trading Fund, Executive Non-Departmental Public Body, and a Government Owned Contractor Operated entity. This may set the conditions for a far more laissez-faire 'hire and fire' culture within DE&S, which will be truly fascinating to watch: let's see how many of the civil service survive on their merits, rather than by virtue of iron-clad conditions of service...

    References:

    [1] http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/DefencePolicyAndBusiness/RebalancingArmyManpower.htm

    [2] http://www.personneltoday.com/articles/2009/06/10/51021/survivor-syndrome-among-staff-is-hindering-employers.html

    [3] http://www.forcespensionsociety.org/COBSEO-unique-nature.pdf

    [4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16706452

    [5] http://www.rusi.org/analysis/commentary/ref:C4AF850322FE64/ and http://www.mod.uk/defenceinternet/aboutdefence/corporatepublications/policystrategyandplanning/reviewofacquisition.htm

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    1. As Sir Humphrey has pointed out compulsory CS redundancies have not been needed in the MOD because enough people have taken voluntary redundancy. In fact it seems that anyone who can get a decent package has taken advantage of the early release scheme.
      Civil Servants are also not 'impossible to sack', that's an old myth.

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  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. The 'spambot' filters can be a little strong sometimes. If you've posted a comment and it doesnt appear, then that usually means it is parked in the Spam section of the dashboard.
    I try to check this at least daily, and always put any comments (except actual spam!) into the blog.
    Don't hesitate to email me if you can't see your comments.

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  14. Dear SO2

    Before sounding off about things you clearly don't know enough about, if you and your military colleagues think your civilian counterparts are pampered, privileged or protected, try comparing what's happening to our pay and pensions and yours. I didn't, for example, see your pay-off terms being cut immediately before lay offs started. I don't see your pension being made contributory at the same time as being reduced in value and delayed in payment. I notice that the military have continued to receive annual increments when we have not. I don't hear proposals that your leave entitlements should be cut back. And, granted the redeployment pool is a farce, if we're so impossible to get rid of, how come we're down by about nearly 15,000 or about 17% in 2 years compared to a military reduction of, if I recall, about 7-8000, some 4.5%. And if you think your morale is toxic, try looking at ours. Frankly, while I agree you're suffering as well, you've so far been better protected than any other group of people paid by the state - for good reason. The point is, we both have grievances. But it doesn't help anyone to go round making fatuous comparisons about who's suffering more. Our terms and conditions are very different because we're there to do different things. So please stop going round making these pointless comparisons because taking our problems out on each other has real potential to damage what we both believe in, the defence of our country.

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  15. Mmm... The points I made (perhaps more caustically than necessary - but singularly unemotive prose is *so* dry, don't you think), were raised by civil servants themselves bemoaning the failures of the system which employs them. (These were, however, what one might call 'top third' civil servants - they would stand to be better remunerated under a more responsive personnel system.)

    I agree that the military have been insulated in many ways -but that should not imply some 'vow of omertà'. There are areas where we could properly be criticised (the short termism leading to £Ms being spent on SSSA in London, as opposed to investing in long-term renting, for example).

    On a point of information however:

    1. "Pay-off terms being cut immediately before lay offs started".

    Military pay-off terms were cut a few years ago - no one noticed the significance at the time, because we don't have a union to watch out for us, or speak for us.

    2. "I don't see your pension being made contributory at the same time as being reduced in value and delayed in payment."

    It's a misnomer to call the pention non-contributory - pay is less than it otherwise would be because of pension provision. In 2015 the military pension will be further significantly reduced in value, a process which commenced in the move from AFPS 75 or AFPS 05 in terms of both moving and reducing the Immediate Pension Point/Early Departure Payment. Post-2015, this worsening will accelerate.

    3. "I notice that the military have continued to receive annual increments when we have not..."

    We have been subject to a four-year pay freeze along with much of the public sector. The retention of the annual increments represented the bare minimum the government could do to avoid a haemorrhaging of personnel even greater than that which we are currently observing.


    Personally, I would support a more laissez-faire, hire and fire, culture for both the military and civil service. To do otherwise encourages sloth and inertia. My focus upon the civil service in my initial comments was merely because the goverment's lack of willpower to 'weed out the worst' in the civil service is one of the area which compares unfavourably with the military redundancy package, and thus - I felt - was a relevant follow-up to the main post. The Army is currently designed the 'New Employment Model' to shake up military terms of service - I respectfully submit that an equivalent radical review of civil service terms and conditions is long overdue.

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  16. SO2 - thank you for your posts, and particularly for putting some really cogent arguments together, along with references.
    I agree with the vast majority of what you say, but would differ on a couple of issues.
    Firstly, the issue of downsizing - as noted, the MOD was indundated with 15000 civil servants clamouring to get out in the first phase of VERS. Thats effectively the entire three year target hit in a few months. On one level thats fantastic as it means the threat of compulsory is all but gone.
    The problem is that MOD was probably taken by surprise at just how many people wanted to go so quickly. While the MOD was attacked for letting people go without skill mapping, I dont think the MOD could actually map out the profiles of its staff currently. So, any redundancy programme relies on mass, not targeted effect.
    The next issue is firing the bottom 33% of the civil service. In theory this sounds great, but the problem is how do you rank this bottom third? The problem of losing specialist grades, and adopting a 'mixy blob' of people under generic grade titles is losing visibility of what different people actually do.
    How do you rank an intelligence analyst against a project manager against a munitions depot manager against a rocket scientist? All are ostensibly the same grade, but all do very different jobs. Its not like the military where the combination of line numbers & clearly defined trades/specialisms at each rank enable better grading. Instead the CS has to theoretically rank against its peers across lots of business areas.
    In a dream world (oh for the chance to be PUS for a day!), the CS would be able to offer better incentives to good staff - such as moving up spine points, or retention bonuses. It would be able to make it easier to get rid of poorly performing staff to. The problem is that to get a flexible workforce, you need firstly to muzzle the unions (and having seen first hand just how difficult it is to do business when a 'Pilgrim' is spoiling for a fight with the Department, then my strictly personal view is that this needs to happen ASAP). Next you need to have flexibility to offer better pay scales to qualified staff. Bring back financial incentives for certain types of training, and allow staff with good skills the ability to earn more.
    The CS is shackled by only letting people earn what everyone in their grade earns based on seniority. Until you can pay for talent, and reward it, you will continue to see a brain drain of good people with scarce skills. The issue isnt so much at the junior end, or at the senior end, but in the mid levels - the C2-B2 grades, where people have niche skills and get no career benefit from having them. Until you reward people, they will jump.
    Now try getting the Govt of the day to support a system which will pay civil servants more money...

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  17. Thanks you for a constructive response to what I will admit was a somewhat intemperate response. As I said, I don't actually think it's very helpful to compare military and civil service terms and conditions - including the lay off systems - because they're different for good reason, and such comparisons have a tendency to generate more heat than light, as my own previous response demonstrated! So unless you strongly want to carry on with that particular debate I'm inclined to park it at this point.

    I don't know whether I count as top third or not, but I tend to be very cautious about views expressed on the workforce by much of the civil service leadership, and certainly by our political masters, whether in defence or elsewhere. In my own experience, there are few civil servants who can't be motivated to do a good job, especially in defence; which doesn't mean there aren't some. And I agree wholeheartedly, having tried to use them, that the current systems for getting rid of persistently underperforming staff are grossly unfit for purpose. But we have a real crisis of confidence in our leadership, who are, I think, widely seen as having consistently failed to live up to their side of the compact between leaders and led in the face of almost always inaccurate and usually actively prejudiced reporting on the civil service over an extended period to the point where their moral authority to ask their people to do difficult and unpleasant things is severely compromised. And I think this feeds through, to some degree, to a disinclination at middle and junior management grades to do some of the heavy performance-management lifting at the point where it matters. Any or all bright ideas on how to solve that condundrum gratefully received!

    You may be right about a stronger thrust on performance in our culture - indeed it is explicit in the Levene model, much of which makes good sense to me. The problem is, as Sir H points out in the next post, that we are unlikely to be allowed to incentivise this effectively. I look forward eagerly, but more in hope than expectation,to being proved wrong on this by the pending Civil Service Reform announcement.

    As to the specifics of redundancy versus voluntary, the MOD has a real legal problem here, deriving from our idiotic approach to workforce (non) management over a very long time. Making someone compulsorily redundant basically requires having sufficient skills and workforce data to demonstrate that the requirement for the job has gone away. We've so underinvested in this for so long that it would almost certainly have been impossible to construct a mass civilian redundancy programme in the MOD that would stand up to challenge in the courts. So a voluntary scheme was, in practical terms, a much better bet in terms of actually delivering the required end product. The really interesting thing is that of the nearly 15,000 who have left in the last 2 years, only about 40% have been paid off. The rest have gone of their own accord. Which makes me worried that many of our people have got so fed up that they've left even without any incentive.

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  18. As if our lords and masters were listening...

    "PM writes to staff about Civil Service Reform Plan
    19/06/2012
    ...The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has written a letter to all civil servants following today's publication of the Civil Service Reform Plan. The Plan sets out a series of specific and practical actions to address long-standing weaknesses and build on existing strengths which, once implemented, will lead to real change and a Civil Service that will look, feel and operate differently..."

    RLI: http://defenceintranet.diiweb.r.mil.uk/DefenceIntranet/News/DefenceNews/MOD/PmWritesToStaffAboutCivilServiceReformPlan.htm

    Internet: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/reform/letter

    Actual plan: http://resources.civilservice.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/CSRP-Final.pdf

    Haven't had time to read it yet, but as with everything in the MOD I'll wait to see how, in due course, the actual reality matches the flowing theoretical prose...

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    1. You will, I fear, be disappointed on reading it. There are not as many actions as the letter might lead you to believe, they are not all that specific - which makes it difficult to reach an informed judgement on whether or not they are paractical - and like much of what comes from the Cabinet Office and Treasury, they don't appear to show much understanding of the practical differences between small policy departments and large delivery departments, or between departments delivering services direct to the public and those that have a more indirect relationship.

      The main thing that will make the civil servioe look, feel and operate differently is that it will be a lot smaller, and will thus have to contract out more of what it currently does (short of a reduction in the role of the state that does not appear to be on the cards). This may or may not be a good thing. I am not so politically or academically doctrinaire to presume the answer to that up front. In practice, like most things, I suspect it will have both pluses and minuses. I do wonder whether or not the benefits and disadvantages of the disciplines of the bottom line and the profit and loss account outweigh the benefits and disadvantages of the flexibility that comes from doing things in house and a public service ethos. We will presumably find out. But it does seem something of an act of faith to assume the the civil service will be able to recruit, train and retain sufficient commercially skilled staff to manage such a regime successfully within the terms and condition currently on offer.


      PS - If you're on DII and need to refer to Civil Service reform material during the working day, and given the increasing challenge of getting stuff off the internet using IE6, I noticed yesterday that most of it is also now available in the People/Civilian section of the Transforming Defence site on the MOD intranet. But writing this at home on my PC, I'm afraid I don't have access to the relevant links.

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  19. I'm in the forces and I believe that the army has changed in a massive way over the last few years and even for the younger generation of soldiers now only wanting to do the minimum four years service. I believe that alot of the redundancies are a bonus for the people already thinking about getting out but feeling trapped in a way but getting a payout alleviates this problem so for the volunteers u think this is a good thing.

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  20. Interesting story in fact and we have a lot to get from it. I was expecting for this type of post. Thanks for this brilliant addition. I hope you will provide next post soon.

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