Civil Service 'faces exodus of mandarins'

Whitehall union chief says Government should stop criticising and increase pay

Pension cuts, job losses and public criticism from ministers will trigger an exodus of civil servants unless the Government agrees to more competitive pay deals, the new head of the union representing senior Whitehall mandarins has warned.

Treasury economists, tax inspectors and lawyers will be enticed by better pay and conditions to the private sector, triggering a "crisis" and a bigger bill for taxpayers, according to David Penman, who takes over as general secretary of the FDA this summer.

In an interview with The Independent on Sunday, Mr Penman also condemned David Cameron's attack on Whitehall staff as "enemies of enterprise" and accused some ministers of conducting "government by private email", deliberating undermining the role of civil servants. The FDA has 19,000 members, including permanent secretaries, diplomats, tax specialists, schools inspectors and health service managers.

Last month the FDA voted to accept the Government's pension reforms, which demanded increased contributions from workers. It followed three years of pay freezes for the most senior staff, and increased workloads as colleagues are made redundant. Mr Penman said: "At some point you get to a situation where our members are saying 'enough's enough'. And those who have got the choice will start to go. If you don't start thinking about that now, you'll end up coming to a crisis point."

Staff turnover rates at the Treasury hit 28 per cent last year, up from 22 per cent in 2010. Late last year staff were reportedly emailed asking if they had any friends who wanted to work there, with officials remarking that staff turnover is now "higher than McDonald's". A Cabinet Office spokesman insisted that resignation rates across the senior Civil Service are low at just under three per cent.

But Mr Penman said the Treasury is "probably the area where people are most mobile and most competitive and interesting to the private sector". He added: "If you have got that in a recession, what are we going to face when we start coming out of recession?"

He conceded that it was a difficult case to make, even to propose pay rises at a time when the economy is still struggling, but insisted that you have pay if you want the best people in top-level jobs running the country. "If you are attacked in the street, who do you want prosecuting the case on your behalf? Do you want one of the best lawyers the Government can supply, or one of the cheapest?"

Tensions have risen between civil servants and ministers in recent months, culminating in the proposal from the departing Tory policy guru Steve Hilton that Whitehall jobs be cut by more than half and policy-making outsourced to think tanks. Mr Cameron also caused offence in a speech last year when he attacked civil servants as "enemies of enterprise".

Mr Penman warned that such damning public criticism of staff would not be tolerated in any other walk of life. "You would never expect the chief executive of any major company to talk about their staff like that. The Prime Minister shouldn't... What do you think the impact would be on morale and productivity?"

He also criticised the way Jonathan Stephens, the permanent secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, was left in the dark about the contact between ministers and advisers with News Crop during its bid for BSkyB. "There's a degree to which they operate government by private email accounts. I think there was a degree to which ministers and some of their conduct exposed and undermined the role of the permanent secretary in the Civil Service."

Suggested Topics
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Infrastructure Lead, (Trading, VCE, Converged, Hyper V)

£600 - £900 per day: Harrington Starr: Infrastructure Lead, (Trading infrastru...

Software Solution Technician - Peterborough - up to £21,000

£20000 - £21000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Software Solutio...

Supply teachers needed- Worthing!

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: Supply teachers needed for va...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed Rand...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering