More civil service HR chiefs head for the door as the cull continues

More HR directors in the Civil Service are to move on as the government continues its overhaul of Whitehall HR departments.

Last week, Personnel Today exclusively revealed that all the HR directors in departments that were scrutinised in recent ‘capability reviews’ had either left or would soon be leaving their jobs. Whitehall officials have insisted they will all leave voluntarily and not as a result of any internal pressure.

The government has now begun a central recruitment campaign, which is advertising top roles in six different departments.

However, Mike Watts, head of HR transformation at the Cabinet Office, said more positions would be advertised. “I am anticipating a few more [roles] that we are just trying to firm up before we can go live.”

The recruitment campaign, led by the Cabinet Office, had been set up to prevent different departments “going out in a higgledy-piggledy manner and potentially getting into a bidding war for the same talent”, said Watts.

The salaries on offer for the different jobs vary considerably, from £60,000 as HR director at the Treasury Solicitors Department, to £160,000 for the top jobs at the Home Office and HM Revenue & Customs.

However, Watts said the draw of “really meaningful work” was the reason to come to Whitehall, and not the money.

“Few organisations can offer the complexity and range of work that is on offer in the Civil Service, nor can they offer an opportunity to make such a real difference to people’s lives,” he said.

“This is a good place to come to. It has a good agenda and there is a huge appetite to up the pace in following that agenda.”

What’s on offer in Whitehall?

  • Home Office is looking for an HR director-general and is offering £150,000-£160,000
  • HM Revenue & Customs requires a chief people officer and is offering £150,000-£160,000
  • Department of Constitutional Affairs requires an HR director and is prepared to pay £120,000-£140,000
  • GCHQ is advertising for a head of HR services with a salary of £60,000-£85,000
  • Treasury Solicitors Department  needs an HR director also with a salary of £60,000-£85,000

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