Job cuts threaten thousands of civil servants

More
than 100,000 civil servants and officials are to face the axe to release funds
for frontline public services, Chancellor Gordon Brown has announced.

Unveiling
his three-year spending review for government departments, Brown promised
above-inflation increases for defence and security while cutting jobs.

He
told Parliament that 84,150 civil service jobs would go, with a further 20,000
posts to be cut from the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, and
from the Northern Ireland Office.

Regardless
of the exact number of jobs that will have to be cut or transferred, David
Samuell, public sector director of HR consultancy DBM, said that it will be a
highly complicated and lengthy process.

"Coming
up with public sector job cut figures is the easy part. Actually moving vast
amounts of people to the other side of the country and often to completely new
jobs, is a mammoth task.

"It
will take a long time, and for many people it will involve a lot of complicated
issues, such as housing and finding jobs for partners and schools for
children," he said.

Will
Hutton, chief executive of think-tank The Work Foundation, said: "Research
into privatised companies clearly proves that efficiencies are possible of the
order the Chancellor wants across the public sector, but the jury is very
definitely still out on these proposals at the moment."

Hutton
said straight substitution of resources from the centre to the frontline was a
hollow promise, and that there was a "very real" prospect that
quality of service delivery would suffer.

"Creating
a more efficient environment and delivering organisational change is impossible
unless there is a plan to invest in the skills and systems that underpin
them," he said.

By Mike Berry

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