Shadow Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has pledged to change the culture of recruitment of civil servants in the wake of today’s National Audit Office report, Recruiting Civil Servants Efficiently.

The report – covered in today’s Daily Telegraph and by the BBC – makes a number of criticisms of the inefficiency of Whitehall recruitment procedures and its retention of staff once they are recruited.

The report states:

  • It typically takes 16 weeks
    to recruit a new civil servant, with internal costs of between £556 and
  • It should be possible to cut costs by 68%, saving £35 million a year across Whitehall.
  • Between 14% and 52% of civil service recruits left within a year of being taken on, based on a study of the six largest employers in government.
  • 40,000 central government jobs were recruited last year, but only a fraction were advertised to the public.

It states that “central government’s external recruitment processes do not fully deliver value for money” and goes on to criticise the lack of centrally held data on the cost of government recruitment.

Mr Maude has also separately established that of the 40,000 vacancies filled each year, only about 6,000 of those jobs are advertised on the Civil Service jobs extranet. Furthermore, only half of that figure are advertised on the section of that site which can be viewed by members of the public, in other words, fewer than one in ten of the vacancies.

Francis Maude reckons that this is not good enough and that advertising central government jobs to the public on the internet would save recruitment costs, highlight questionable positions and open up central government jobs to competition.

He concludes:

“It is unfair that central government jobs are being hidden from the public. It’s time to open up Whitehall’s closed job shop. Making greater use of the internet will save money, expose unnecessary bureaucracy and ensure healthy competition in the job market.”

Jonathan Isaby

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