UNION barons are gearing up to "strenuously resist" Boris Johnson's plans for a "seismic" shake-up to modernise Whitehall. The Prime Minister and key aide Dominic Cummings are drawing up reforms to create the "most dynamic state in the world", according to the architect of the Tory manifesto.
www.express.co.uk Rachel Wolf, who co-authored the Conservative Party manifesto, said civil servants could be forced to sit exams and the “merry-go-round” of officials changing jobs every 18 months will be stopped. Whitehall is “woefully unprepared” for the scale of change that will begin in the spring, she said. “If the party wants to win again, there can’t be the project overruns and delayed commitments that have symbolised government incompetence and waste for too long,” she added. But union bosses warned they are ready to oppose the modernisation plans.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Comments by Dominic Cummings that imply he wants to hire and fire at will reveal an anti-trade union mentality and will be strenuously resisted by PCS.” Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA, which represents senior civil servants, said he wanted to see a “much clearer plan” on how the reforms would work. “While painting the civil service as resistant to change might make a good headline, the reality is quite different and the idea that civil servants are rising ‘to their position of incompetence’ is so wide of the mark it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the realities of the modern civil service,” he said. Mr Johnson is expected to cut the number of Cabinet ministers and reorganise Whitehall once Britain has left the European Union.
Miss Wolf said reports of merging, creating or abolishing departments were just a “tiny fraction” of the changes set to be implemented. She insisted the Prime Minister and Mr Cummings “mean business”. “Cummings has been reading and thinking about how to transform the public sector for two decades. He does not think it is a distraction, but a prerequisite to delivering even the simplest promises,” she wrote in a newspaper. Recruitment and training are expected to be overhauled with more emphasis on boosting the numbers of civil servants with science and technology expertise. Officials and special advisers could be set exams to keep them up to date with developments. Civil servants will remain in departments for longer to ensure specialist knowledge is not lost and they are more accountable for the projects they are involved in.
Whitehall will also be told to focus more on the needs of the public. “The Government understands that in five years it won’t be judged on the way the Civil Service is designed but on whether it has delivered on its promises. “Public sector reform is the route to getting there,” Miss Wolf added.Read More