Press release: John Glen sets out plan for modern Civil Service to deliver stronger public services

Cabinet Office

January 22
22:30 2024

  • Minister to outline value of Civil Service, with new measures to strengthen public sector delivery
  • Reform will focus on investing in technology, reducing unnecessary process and supporting talent attraction, retention and reducing staff churn
  • New line management standards across the Civil Service, underpinned by reviewing staff performance management approach, to support career development and help tackle rare instances of unchecked poor performance or serious issues with agreed office attendance
  • New guidance on staff networks will safeguard civil service impartiality, alongside review of network spending

In his keynote address at the Institute for Governments annual conference this morning (Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024), the Minister for the Cabinet Office, John Glen, will outline his long-term priorities to modernise the Civil Service into a more productive institution so it can deliver stronger public services through three key priorities:

First, unlocking the transformative potential of new technologies such as A.I. by increasing our ambition on the pace and scale of digital transformation in government. Second, unlocking new ways of working by streamlining and simplifying how government operates. Third, leveraging workforce potential by addressing problems of talent attraction, retention and churn through a smaller, skilled workforce that is better rewarded, with stronger performance management.

The Minister will highlight new line management standards, underpinned by reviewing staff performance management across Government, building on the good practice in place across most of the Civil Service. Line managers will be supported to work with their teams to develop civil servants expertise and skills with a more consistent approach across departments, while also addressing rare instances of unchecked poor performance.

He will also make clear that he believes face-to-face working and making full use of Government offices are the right way to deliver for the taxpayer and develop new talent. Data from surveying 30,700 civil servants shows that learning from others and staff interaction has consistently been found to be better supported in the office compared to at home.

Ministers will look at performance management guidance for senior civil servants to ensure that making full use of offices is factored into their yearly reviews.

Setting out the vital role the Civil Service plays up and down the country and emphasising the importance of ensuring it works as effectively and efficiently as possible, he will tell the audience that the Civil Service has to learn to do more with less.

He will also welcome recent successes like the 7.8 billion in efficiencies secured between 2020 and 2022 through central functional teams, like commercial, finance and project delivery - focusing on how to replicate these across the civil service.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, the Rt Hon John Glen MP said:

The Civil Service and the work it does impacts all of our lives in so many ways, we must therefore ensure it is fit for purpose for the long term, and delivers efficiently and effectively.

It is clear we have to do more with less. To do this, we must embrace new technology, empower those around us by working collaboratively in offices, and ensure performance management standards enable line managers to provide the best possible feedback and tackle consistent poor performance.

The Civil Service must adapt today to prepare for the urgent challenges of tomorrow. Our citizens deserve nothing less, and I know our committed civil servants are up for the challenge.

The Minister will also reaffirm the governments long-term commitment to implementing cutting-edge new AI technologies across the organisation. He will endorse the development of bespoke AI products designed to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy, improve the speed of public service delivery, and enhance how the government communicates with the public.

New guidance on civil service staff networks will also be issued shortly as part of wider plans to improve productivity and provide clearer advice on acting with impartiality in relation to diversity and inclusion.

The guidance will ensure civil servants have a better understanding of how best to balance staff network activity with their primary responsibilities and impartiality commitments unde

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