Magazine article Public Finance

Civil Service Standards to Be Raised

Magazine article Public Finance

Civil Service Standards to Be Raised

Article excerpt

The architect of Whitehall's attempt to broaden the skills base of the civil service has warned potential mandarins that the standard for senior posts will be higher than ever in future.

Sir Richard Mottram, chair of the task force that created the Cabinet Office's professional skills for government (PSG) programme, has also sounded the death knell for a Whitehall tradition: the generalists' at the apex of the civil service.

In an interview with Public Finance, Mottram, permanent secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions, said future senior civil servants must display higher levels of professional training, experience and qualifications than his generation of mandarins had started out with.

'Public services have developed substantially in recent years and the skills and experience required to formulate policy and manage those services have also developed,' he said.

'Some of my own training was very short. Very quickly you could end up in charge of organisations employing hundreds of thousands of people and I believe, absolutely, that you could have a more structured approach to helping people build their capabilities to manage organisations.'

Mottram later outlined the PSG initiative at a Public Management and Policy Association seminar on May 18. Cabinet secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull launched PSG in 2004, to ensure that the civil service 'has the right blend of skills and expertise, at every level, to deliver government priorities'.

It divides civil servants into three job groupings: policy expert/analyst, those involved in operational delivery and those delivering corporate services. …

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