Survey reveals extent of unrest at Department for Work and Pensions

More than four out of five employees at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have no confidence in senior management, a staff survey has revealed.

The DWP’s 2004 survey, obtained by Personnel Today, shows that only 18% have faith in senior management at the department, down from 26% in 2003.

Almost 78,000 DWP employees – 57% of staff – took part in the survey, which found that less than one in five felt their contribution was valued by managers.

In a message to staff, the head of the DWP, Richard Mottram, said he was “sure the findings will be a matter of concern to managers across DWP as they are to me and my executive team”.

However, only 15 per cent of staff believed management would take action on the problems identified by this survey.

A source at the DWP told Personnel Today that problems with senior management stemmed from the merger of the Department of Social Security with the Department of Employment, which created the DWP.

The source said that virtually all the senior positions had been taken by managers from the Department of Employment, who brought with them ‘hardline and regressive thinking’.

A spokeswoman from the DWP said it was important to see the results in context as the DWP was going through a large change programme to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the services the department delivered.

She said the DWP was making progress in HR and had made significant changes to its performance and development systems.

“We are a very good employer with a large number of positive and progressive policies,” she said. “We are an investor in people, have excellent flexible working arrangements, win diversity awards and provide excellent occupational health and employee assistance support services.”

DWP staff survey 2004

The bad:

– 21% of staff believe they are given a real opportunity to improve their skills

– 23% believe career and develop- ment needs are being met

– 18% of staff (down from 26% in 2003) expressed confidence in senior management

– 15% of staff believe that management will take action on the problems identified by survey

The good:

– 81% of staff agree their part of DWP does an important job

– 72% believe that their part of the DWP is committed to customer service

– 62% of staff agree that their job makes good use of their skills

– 67% of respondents accept that their line manager recognises and acknowledges when they have done their job well

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