Staff survey points to capability woe at DoH

The most senior civil servant in the Department of Health (DoH) has voiced fears that the department will get a mauling when it undergoes its capability review next year.

The DoH is set to undergo the in-depth analysis of its performance, with the results published by summer 2007. But employee research carried out earlier this year has revealed that less than 10% of staff thought the department was well managed. It also found that less than one in 10 felt inspired by the department’s leaders.

Acting permanent secretary, Hugh Taylor, said the results of the staff opinion survey were making him focus early on the forthcoming review, which he understatedly described as “an MOT for the department”.

“When less than 10% of employees tell you they think the department is well managed, you should start getting worried – which I am,” he told delegates at the CIPD conference.

In July, the Home Office, the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA), the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Education and Skills were all subject to capability reviews, which were ordered by cabinet secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell.

All but the DCA were found severely lacking in their management and leadership, with the Home Office judged a “seriously poor performer” in its leadership’s ability to motivate staff. Personnel Today subsequently revealed that the HR directors at all four departments were leaving their jobs, although the government has denied they had been forced to go.

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

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

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