Jobless should get vacancies by text message, urges Cabinet secretary

Cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell has called for government departments to notify jobseekers of new opportunities by text message.

He told civil servants this week that innovation was required to improve government services during the economic squeeze.

Speaking at a conference hosted by civil service title Whitehall & Westminster World, O’Donnell said: “Expectations of technology are growing all the time. Why can’t people get texts about jobs to their mobile phones?”

He explained that the economy would continue to decline “for some time to come”, putting departmental budgets under pressure.

Middle managers needed to improve their ability to identify and channel good ideas, he said. “I hear a lot of frustration, because people have ideas at the bottom – and I know the permanent secretaries don’t turn these ideas down – but there’s a blockage in the middle somewhere.”

O’Donnell added that the economic crisis was driving bright graduates towards the Civil Service.

“The one silver lining is that applications to the Civil Service fast stream are up 22%,” he said. “They don’t want to work in banking anymore.”

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