Francis Maude: Weed out poor civil servants


A senior minister says Whitehall managers must step up efforts to identify and dismiss poorly-performing civil servants.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said reforms would provide incentives for them to "take tough decisions and have difficult conversations" with staff.

Detailed proposals are expected to be published within the next few months.

The coalition agreement pledged action to "make it easier to reward the best civil servants and remove the least effective".

And Mr Maude told The Daily Telegraph he would act to ensure private-sector-style ranking of workers by ability was imposed across the service.

He said sacking someone should not be "easy" at any time - but rejected claims that it was any harder to get rid of civil servants than private employees.

"It is just that the recent history has been that performance management hasn't been very good," he said.

"What we will need to end up with is the way performance management is done in most organisations, which is you force managers to do rankings, to rate people in order of performance.

"Otherwise the temptation always is for everybody to be 'above average'.

"This will take time. There has been no incentive for managers to take tough decisions and have difficult conversations.

"That can change and it is one of the issues we will be addressing in our civil service reform plans."

A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Service union said: "When 200,000 of Maude's staff were on strike yesterday in a dispute over pensions entirely of his making, he was nowhere to be seen.

"People will see right through this desperate attempt to grab a headline, by the minister who brought us fuel panic and jerry cans in garages."

Dave Penman, deputy general secretary of the FDA, which represents senior civil servants, said: "We have yet to see details of the proposed white paper on civil service reform.

"The civil service already has rigorous performance management processes, including for the senior civil service a forced ranking approach to appraisal and a revision of these procedures, which was introduced only last month.

"As Francis Maude has said, it is simply a myth that civil servants can't be sacked or that it is more difficult to sack individuals who underperform in the civil service than it is anywhere else.

"We will, of course, expect full consultation if there are any proposals to change performance management for civil servants and have assurances from the Government that there will be full consultation on the white paper once published."

The Prospect union condemned the suggestion that performance management could be used to cull the civil service and said the Government should instead focus on how the service is coping with the loss of 80,000 jobs.

Deputy general secretary Dai Hudd said the idea of identifying and firing civil servants by ranking all government officials was wrong: "This would be a cruel policy and legally challengeable.

"It would set colleague against colleague and destroy collaborative working - worsening morale rather than improving performance, and creating a culture of back-stabbing, uncertainty and fear. It would increase stress and adds insult to the injury of job cuts, pay freezes and attacks on pensions.

"Even Francis Maude distances himself from this rhetoric by admitting that effective procedures already exist in the civil service for dismissal on grounds of performance.

"Blaming hard-working public servants and making ill-thought-through comments will not in any way contribute to making the civil service a more efficient and effective organisation. Comments like this are just another way of trying to push the blame for the Government's own errors - typified by yesterday's U-turn over the F35 jet fighter - on to individuals."


Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
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

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style