The Declaration on Government Reform, which promises to make recruitment for all senior civil service positions open to external candidates by default, has been confirmed by Cabinet Minister Steve Barkley.
Barclay said the change – effective Friday, when it became clear that the government plans to cut 20% of its civil service over the next three years – diversify departments, expand the experience and open up opportunities for people outside London. The Cabinet Office said Barclay had written to cabinet colleagues outlining the changes and advising ministers that they should personally approve any request for SCS admission without advertising.
Although the nomenclature varies somewhat between departments, the senior civil service includes six key roles in the digital, data, and technology professions: chief digital and information officer; chief architect; DDaT Delivery Director or Deputy Director; chief data officer; chief technologist; and chief cybersecurity officer.
Reaffirming the entry into force of the outdoor advertising commitment to these and all other SCS positions, Barclay praised the “great work done by civil servants to provide public services to people up and down the country” and stressed the power of “diversity in leadership” to help organizations thrive.
“The way to achieve this goal is for the civil service to be able to choose from the widest range of talent so that we can hire the highest level staff,” Barclay said. “It will also contribute to our commitment to capacity building across the UK by shifting roles from London.”
Barclay acknowledged the government’s detailed plans to reduce the number of departments it had previously described as “expanding powers” for the career development of lower-ranking officials. He said a more open recruitment would be part of having departments hire better people.
“We want to reduce the amount of public service so that it returns to the level we had in 2016, but it remains important that when we recruit, especially for management positions, we can attract the best candidates for each position,” he said. .
Newly appointed first public service commissioner Baroness Gisela Stewart said at the FDA’s annual conference last week that she expects opening SCS roles to external default applicants to “significantly increase” the number of recruitment competitions overseen by the commission. She said that as a result, the commission should “develop”.
The Cabinet Office said all 7,000 senior civil service positions are now covered by the new policy, including any new positions recruited as part of the government’s commitment to relocate half of the SCS positions from London by 2030.
It says that the additional change will mean that all SCS roles will be promoted both side-by-side and promotion-based, which expands the opportunities for progression and diversity of candidate groups.
It has been shown that the promotion of senior positions based on promotion contributes to increasing the diversity of applicants, in particular, attracting more women to the senior classes, according to the Cabinet Office.
It is noted that currently 47.3% of positions in the SCS are held by women, compared to 35.9% in 2011. The department noted that this is, however, below the civil service average – the majority of the workforce is women.
The Cabinet of Ministers acknowledged that the representation of ethnic minorities in the SCS lags even further behind – 8.2% compared to 14.3% of the entire civil service. It says the new change in the Civil Service Recruitment Framework will increase diversity and “expand the experience and expertise of the civil service leadership.”