Magazine article Public Finance

Caution Urged in Search for Skills

Magazine article Public Finance

Caution Urged in Search for Skills

Article excerpt

The Home Office's finance director has urged caution in Whitehall's drive to professionalise its skills base - warning senior staff not to shift roles too quickly simply to meet new training requirements.

Helen Kilpatrick, the Home Office's director general of financial and commercial, told Public Finance that she was Very positive' about the Cabinet Office's Professional Skills for Government agenda.

The PSG initiative aims to bring more professionally qualified staff into the civil service, ensure that senior staff develop several areas of expertise and achieve parity of esteem across Whitehall policy making, corporate functions (such as finance, human resources and procurement) and policy delivery roles.

However, Kilpatrick, who enjoyed a successful career in local government before entering Whitehall in April, warned that the initiative has potential pitfalls.

'The idea that you should have experience in more than one broad area of work is a good one, and you should have a range of core skills...to join the senior civil service,' she said.

'But we need to ensure that we have the correct balance between the needs of the individual developing their career and the needs of the organisation. Coming into the Home Office, it seems to me that some people move around more quickly than is optimal. …

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