One-third of civil servants looking to leave posts ‘as soon as possible’

Public sector managers have today called on the chancellor Philip Hammond, and new minister for the Cabinet Office, Damian Green, to urgently withdraw and revise the Treasury’s pay remit guidance for 2017-18.

In a letter written by the FDA –  which represents senior managers and professionals in public service – the chancellor was told to remove the 1% pay cap and revise the government’s strategy for public sector pay or face services in the UK being undermined.

It comes after a survey of FDA members found that a third of civil servants would like to leave the Civil Service ‘as soon as possible’, whilst 83% expressed dissatisfaction with overall pay arrangements in the public sector.

Other findings of the survey include 83% of respondents saying their organisations suffered from recruitment and retention difficulties, whilst 86% did not believe that their organisation was sufficiently resourced.

Today’s news comes the day after three unions also called for the 1% public sector pay cap to be removed, and for public sector workers to be given a 5% pay rise.

“The FDA believes that a new government has the opportunity to revisit the remit guidance issued just ahead of the purdah period,” the letter written by Dave Penman, general secretary of the union, read.

“In addition, we believe that the delayed publication of the Senior Salaries Review Body recommendations and government response can be brought together with the reissuing of a revised pay remit guidance for delegated grades.

“Properly funded, this could provide a viable framework for pay reform in the Civil Service that is capable of addressing the very real issues we are raising around morale, recruitment and retention,” he continued.

“If this opportunity is not seized, it risks undermining the successful delivery of the government’s agenda which is, of course, the overriding objective of the Civil Service.”

The letter also called on Hammond to launch a new Spending Review to ensure that all departments are properly resourced to ensure that public services remain sustainable in the future.

Naomi Cooke, assistant general secretary of the FDA, also commented on the pay survey, stating: “Pay restraint has turned into pay decline as inflation, pension contribution hikes and a refusal to reform pay frameworks takes its toll on civil servants up and down the country.”

She added that workloads had grown as pay had fallen, meaning it was hardly surprising that dedicated civil servants were being driven to the end of their patience by a policy that was presented as an economic necessity in 2010 but had now become “a convenient habit”.

“The new government needs to prioritise resourcing the Civil Service properly to meet the challenges of the year ahead,” she concluded. “This means fundamentally changing the approach taken to civil service pay so that it rewards and motivates those people tasked with delivering the government’s agenda.”

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