HR to play a pivotal role in reshaping the Civil Service

A new skills development programme for the Civil Service will give HR a key role in changing the face of the public services, according to the service’s HR chief.

The Professional Skills for Government scheme, launched last week, aims to ensure that those with the potential to reach senior grades have a consistent level of skills and experience in three broad categories: policy expertise, operational delivery and corporate services.

Alice Perkins, director general of the Corporate Development Group at the Cabinet Office, told Personnel Today the programme would help civil servants put together strategies that were deliverable ‘on the ground’ as well as helping them deal with a changing and ever more complex world.

The new system would offer a clearer framework for development, which before had often been left to individuals and HR would be put centre stage to bring about the change, she said.

“This gives the HR community a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the contribution they can make to the transformation of the public services,” Perkins said.

Under the corporate services category of the programme, high-flying civil servants will need to gain a greater understanding of HR issues.

This would also mean that HR was better respected by senior members in their departments, who would have a greater understanding of the HR function and would be able to work better in partnership with HR staff, according to Perkins.

“People in policy and operational delivery need to understand what they can expect people in specialist functions to deliver for them,” she said.

Civil Service HR looks to be in for a serious shake up after the Gershon report into government efficiency earlier this year found the public sector typically spends two to three times more per employee on HR.

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