Cabinet Office admits Whitehall leadership and HR must improve after poor results in senior staff survey

The Cabinet Office has admitted improvements are needed in Whitehall leadership and HR following disappointing results in a biennial survey of senior civil servants.

Just one in five senior leaders said poor performance was dealt with effectively in their department. Only one-third felt that change was well managed, with the same percentage satisfied with the approach to performance management in their organisation.

In a statement, the Cabinet Office said: “Some of the things we are doing are long-term reforms and their impact has not yet been fully felt across the Civil Service. But nevertheless, it is clear from the survey that we still have some way to go.”

The results of the survey of 2,985 senior civil servants, released by the Cabinet Office earlier this month, are likely to come as a blow to cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell and Gill Rider, director-general of leadership and people strategy.

Both have been keen to improve leadership and professionalism across Whitehall, with Rider previously saying she had been “impressed” by the standard of leadership.

But it was not all bad news for the Cabinet Office. Almost all respondents said they were committed to succeed.

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