Conservative manifesto blasted for ‘failing civil service on pay'

Written by Jim Dunton on 19 May 2017 in News
News

Union says Theresa May’s vision ignores pay and retention issues that will hamper public sector’s ability to maximise the potential of Brexit

Prime minister Theresa May. Credit: PA

The Conservative Party’s just-published election manifesto has failed to recognise the pressures the civil service is operating under and will hamper the nation’s ability handle Brexit negotiations, one of the sector’s main unions has warned.

Prospect said the 88-page document, titled Forward Together, was devoid of any new thinking about the civil service and wider public sector in a “glaring omission” for a sector facing its biggest challenges in a generation against a backdrop of pay and retention difficulties. 

The union, which has 28,000 professional, managerial, and specialist members working for the civil service, said that if the Conservative Party – currently enjoying a 17-point lead over Labour in the opinion polls  –  was to deliver on its repeated pledge of delivering “strong and stable government”, it would need a strong and stable civil service.


RELATED CONTENT


Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham said the only conclusion civil servants could draw from the omission was that the Conservatives were “offering more of the same – more pressure on jobs, greater pressure on staff and a further downgrade of expertise”.

“The incoming government will need the civil service to deliver on Brexit and its wider policy agenda,” he said.

“Yet staffing numbers have been slashed by 26% in recent years and the unprecedented squeeze on pay has led to increased recruitment and retention problems.

“Uncompetitive pay and long hours are now a hallmark of working in the civil service."

Politicians from all parties have expressed their concerns about the civil service’s capacity and capability to deliver the incoming government’s agenda alongside the tsunami of work resulting from Brexit, he highlighted.

“Failing to ensure that the civil service is able to recruit, retain and motivate the skilled professionals it needs is ill-founded and bordering on recklessness.”

Share this page

Further reading in our policy hubs

Add new comment

Comments

Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted on 22 May, 2017 - 08:42
When I joined the Civil Service 36 years ago, there was a pay scale for each grade that staff could at some point expect to reach the 'dizzy heights' of, progression pay rises that rewarded loyal service, a cost of living rise, 2.5 privilege days per annum and a non-contributory pension. Now, although the pay scales remain, progression pay rises no longer exist, the staff who stay experience stagnated pay due to the 2 year pay freeze from 2012-2014 followed by 1% capped pay rise thereafter; those who have the audacity to progress to a higher grade are rewarded with the withdrawal of 1.5 privilege days; all staff have had the imposition of pension contributions which whilst those in the Private Sector may feel totally appropriate, is certainly not what was offered under the original terms and conditions of Civil Service employment. Notable that MPs pay and conditions have not reflected the same pay constrictions and moving goal posts - I just live in the hope of reaching my promised retirement age of 60 before they change that too!

Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted on 22 May, 2017 - 08:52
When I joined the Civil Service 36 years ago, there was a pay scale for each grade that staff could at some point expect to reach the 'dizzy heights' of, progression pay rises that rewarded loyal service, a cost of living rise, 2.5 privilege days per annum and a non-contributory pension. Now, although the pay scales remain, progression pay rises no longer exist, the staff who stay experience stagnated pay due to the 2 year pay freeze from 2012-2014 followed by 1% capped pay rise thereafter; those who have the audacity to progress to a higher grade are rewarded with the withdrawal of 1.5 privilege days; all staff have had the imposition of pension contributions which whilst those in the Private Sector may feel totally appropriate, is certainly not what was offered under the original terms and conditions of Civil Service employment. Notable that MPs pay and conditions have not reflected the same pay constrictions and moving goal posts - I just live in the hope of reaching my promised retirement age of 60 before they change that too!

rick aston (not verified)

Submitted on 23 May, 2017 - 12:38
by ignoring the civil service unions and also upsetting millions of oap's with the winter fuel allowance i think mrs may could be committing political suicide, whether by design or just total indifference and arrogance has yet to be determined...

Deb (not verified)

Submitted on 30 May, 2017 - 19:57
I have felt the squeeze of a pay cap being a civil servant and its becoming a real problem now.. we will have to use food banks soon if this carries on..shouldn't the conservative party care??

Contact the author

The contact details for the Civil Service World editorial team are available on our About Us page.

Related Articles

Related Sponsored Articles

A radical re-think for public sector transformation
2 November 2015

With the ‘low-hanging fruit’ exhausted, the public sector must approach new government saving...

Successful partnerships: working effectively with central government
26 August 2014

TCS is keen to contribute to the topic of successful partnerships between the public and private...