Latest Public Sector News

18.07.16

Warning over cost and job losses of new government departments

New prime minister Theresa May’s decision to change the boundaries of government departments has been criticised for potentially creating an increased cost and the risk of job losses.

After May formally took over from David Cameron as prime minister last week, it was announced that she was appointing David Davis in the new post of secretary for the UK’s exit from the European Union.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) also merged with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to create the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Responsibility for universities also transferred from BIS to the Department for Education, and Liam Fox has been appointed as the new secretary for international trade.

Think tank the Institute for Government (IfG) previously recommended that the ministry for leaving the EU initially operates out of the Cabinet Office, in order to reduce the cost of creating a new ministry.

In response to the decision, the IfG welcomed the fact that May has made her government’s focus on Brexit and developing alternative methods of trade clear.

However, it criticised the potential cost of the new departments, warning that establishing the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills in 2007 came with an initial cost of £15m.

Julian McCrae, deputy director of the IfG, said: “The PM has clearly indicated how her government will proceed and given it the political leadership to move its agenda forward.

“However, she has created a series of distractions with other departmental changes, which only add to the burden on Whitehall. It remains to be seen whether these changes are more successful than previous attempts at shuffling around of departmental boundaries.”

Meanwhile, Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, said: “Big changes in the Civil Service are not unusual under new governments but they are still incredibly unsettling for staff.

“We would oppose any attempt by Theresa May’s government to use this as an excuse for more cuts and closures, and we believe the Brexit vote means the Civil Service will need massive resources in the coming years.”

The PCS is seeking a meeting with the government to discuss the implications of the UK’s vote to leave the EU on Civil Service departments where there is EU funding.

It is also seeking reassurances about the position of its members who are EU nationals.

The changes to departments also mean that there is no Cabinet minister with official responsibility for fighting climate change, drawing protests from environmental campaigners.

(Image c. Stefan Rousseau from PA Wire and Press Association Images)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become a PSE columnist? If so, click here.

 

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the open more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News

comment

Camberley inspired: investment and regeneration

11/03/2019Camberley inspired: investment and regeneration

The decline of the Great British high street has been one of the greatest c... more >
Swindon's solar-powered recycling centre saves council cash

11/03/2019Swindon's solar-powered recycling centre saves council cash

Steve Cains, head of power solutions at Public Power Solutions, the wholly-... more >

interviews

Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

17/12/2018Digital innovation in the public sector: The future is now

One of the public sector’s key technology partners has recently welco... more >

the raven's daily blog

Councils Can: LGA launches Spending Review campaign

18/03/2019Councils Can: LGA launches Spending Review campaign

Lord Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association, outlines his organisation’s campaign to make sure local government tops to government’s list for this ye... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >