Sir Humphreys face axe in Whitehall reforms

THE CIVIL Service characterised by Yes Minister's Sir Humphrey Appleby is to be swept away by radical reform, the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Richard Wilson, announced yesterday.

The moves to make the public sector more flexible and more business-orientated will mean large numbers of early retirements. Older staff - who tend to perform less well in appraisals - may find themselves targeted to "create more space at the top", while bright young managers may be head-hunted for promotion. Between pounds 30mand pounds 35m will be set aside to pay for severance schemes and for extra expenditure on recruitment and marketing, according to one of a series of reports.

The changes, aimed at making the service more modern, were ordered by Tony Blair but the details have all been drawn up by senior civil servants. They will be aided by pounds 100m in extra funds over the next two years, with departments bidding for their share and contributing a further portion of cash themselves. Among the targets for the future, which have been set out on a New Labour-style pledge card, are plans to recruit more women and ethnic minority staff to senior positions.

There will be a new flexibility which will make it easier for staff to move between departments and to move between the public and private sectors either permanently or on secondment. Plans are being drawn up for changes to the Civil Service pension arrangements so that staff who do this are not disadvantaged.

Stronger leadership will be promoted through a team of Civil Service "champions" responsible for different areas of reform, and some departments will bring in outside organisations to help them review how they plan their operations. There will be new pay and appraisal systems, and new "talent spotting" programmes will lead to the promotion of bright young managers who may be outside the Civil Service fast stream. Performance- related pay will be used increasingly to reward good work.

One of a series of groups set up to plan the reforms has suggested that the National Audit Office should be brought in to oversee how departments are improving their performance. It was headed by Michael Bichard, the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and Employment.

The programme will last between three and five years. "Sir Humphrey was invented 20 years ago and I don't think he would have recognised management as an important part of his responsibility," Sir Richard said. "Over the next 20 years we want the service to have a much stronger sense of leadership, not just from the top but all the way down the line," he said.

Civil Service unions were involved in drawing up the reforms, and broadly welcomed them yesterday. John Sheldon, joint general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said the changes should benefit all staff.

"The key test will be that this programme of reform involves all of the Civil Service whatever their grade, wherever they are located, whatever their gender or ethnic background," he said. Paul Tyler, the Liberal Democrat cabinet office spokesman, said civil servants who failed should have their pay cut. "Few would argue with rewarding good performance but it will be interesting to see if this principle cuts both ways and bad performances result in pay cuts," he said.

Leading article,

Review, page 3

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
British author Howard Jacobson has been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Java Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

SAP Functional Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £45,000 - £55,000.

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Functional ...

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn