Civil (servant) unrest

Government is stepping up plans to give its employees a right to run their own services as mutuals and the idea is that staff will be happier owning and running their own service. To test this, I have compiled data on staff engagement in the current models across Whitehall and wider government agencies.

For the first time, we have apples and no pears, as the previous Government sensibly started to run a single survey across staff. But some of the apples were kept unpublished so we submitted some simple freedom of information requests to dig these up.

The Staff Engagement League Table, to give it a posh name names Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as the worst place to work across government, followed by the Ministry of Justice. Those nice people at the Department for Education come top.

The basis for the data is the 2009 People’s Survey, which tracked 340,000 civil servants across 96 organisations of government. Most of the data is open, but some departments, including HMRC, the lowest scorer, and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), which has published material encouraging businesses to promote employee engagement, failed to publish their overall engagement scores. The survey is in the process of being repeated, and in the context of cuts, it is not clear that the overall results will be any better.

The point isn’t that if you become a co-op, everything is rosey. The point is that what matters is having a co-operative culture – top-down Whitehall has rarely been good at that, with some honourable exceptions, often among the arms-length agencies.

Engagement is a good test of how people feel about their job. All work tends at best is a two-way, co-operative process, based on mutual obligations that go way beyond a formal contract.

But here, for now, is Co-operatives UK’s league table of civil (servant) unrest:

Staff Engagement by Department
Government Department Total Engagement Score (Positive %)
1 Department of Education 63
2 The Cabinet Office 62
3 The Home Office 60
4 Scottish Government 60
5 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) 58
6 Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) 57
7 Crown Prosecution Service 56
8 Department for Transport 53
9 Ministry of Justice 51
10 HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) 37


2 thoughts on “Civil (servant) unrest

  1. I work at a hmrc contact centre as a tax advisor and i hate it. the amount of work we are expected to do is greater than of other civil servent at the same grade. it is lile being in a jail with our constant moves followed. and we are the only ones to suffer that way. we are not given enough info or training to help people correctly. we are under staffed and are now being told of further cuts but they expect us to work even harder with a 1% pay rise. theres so much more i can say n my collegues

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