12 October 2012 

On Wednesday the Guardian reported on a letter sent by the UK Cabinet Office to Civil Service agencies. Every HR director has been asked to consider cost saving conditions of service, of how to “…cut holidays, lengthen working weeks and reduce flexible working…” for their 450,000 employees.

The Guardian encourages, and publishes feedback comment.  Many articles get a minimal response. Few seem to get more than a dozen responses.  Appalled civil servants and gloating others however have leapt to their keyboards. Within 30 hours more than 360 reactions have been posted about the Cabinet Office proposals.

Agencies were told that “…the civil service reform plan states that each department will undertake a review of their terms and conditions. Your review should ensure that your Department, and collectively the Civil Service, continues to be a good employer, offering terms and conditions comparable with, but not beyond what a good modern employer would provide…  This will open up opportunities for employees to develop and build expertise….We wish to offer terms that reflect best practice in the private sector rather than the average.”

Self interest has been heightened by the prospect of cuts to family-friendly policies such as childcare, flexitime, working from home, parental leave, part-time working,and job sharing. The list of conditions for review include gifts and hospitality, whistleblowing, apprenticeships, work experience, advances of pay, allowances, excess hours, weekend working, travelling time, eye tests, legal representation, relocation fees, reward vouchers for good work, and cash advances of travel expenditure and subsistence payments.

Reforms,,to be implemented over a two year period from April next year, are expected “… to make the Civil Service faster, more unified, focused on outcomes not process, and ultimately more enjoyable to work for…”  It seems that a portion of Guardian readers think differently.