Huge vote by DWP staff shows no confidence in senior management

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has suffered another dismal set of results in its annual employee survey.


The poll, completed by almost 70,000 workers, revealed a deep sense of dissatisfaction and job insecurity at the beleaguered government department.




  • Almost 90% of staff have no confidence in the DWP’s senior management


  • 87% don’t think the promotion system is fair, and 63% are not satisfied with their job security. Only 14% consider the DWP well managed.

Just 23% of employees think their pay is reasonable and their career development needs are met. And almost two-thirds don’t believe the department is a safe environment to speak up in. More than 80% think PDS – the department’s controversial performance appraisal system and the subject of past industrial action – is unfair.


In his message to staff accompanying the results, Leigh Lewis, the DWP’s permanent secretary, insisted the department was making progress. But the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents the vast majority of DWP staff, said the survey showed that senior management had “a long way to go” to convince workers they could manage the organisation properly.


A statement on the PCS website said: “It will seem very complacent to most employees to suggest that in most respects there has been an improvement. What possible satisfaction can there be in the result that [the proportion of] employees who have confidence in our senior managers has increased from 10% to a still absolutely abysmal 13%?”


A DWP spokeswoman admitted there was room for improvement. “As a department, we are going through a very large change programme involving large-scale staff reductions,” she told Personnel Today. “We will do everything we can to improve the results.”


Talks are due to take place in the next few weeks between the DWP, the PCS and other unions on pay, improving employee relations, and reviewing HR policies at the department.


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