Back in October I asked every civil servant to take part in the annual Civil Service People Survey. An impressive 270,793 of you did, and I’d like to extend a big thank you to all of you who took the time to give your views – it is only by hearing directly from civil servants across the country that we can continue to improve.
Today marks the publication of the 2013 Civil Service People Survey benchmark figures. These results are brand new and so the real analysis will come later, but I wanted to offer a few early thoughts and hopefully kick-start the discussion. I want this to become a conversation at a team, departmental and organisational level about where we have made progress and where we can do better.
However I think it’s important firstly to reflect on our strengths. The People Survey shows us that despite the challenges we overwhelmingly remain interested in our work, have the skills we need to do our jobs, work with our teams to improve the services we provide and have managers that are open to our ideas and recognise when we have done well.
These are key components which a good organisation must get right, and I'm very pleased that the Civil Service has scored highly where these issues are concerned over the past five years.
Another encouraging sign is that learning and development scores are up again. I know that giving time to this is often easier said than done given the time demands that our jobs place on us, but I believe that it is vital to our future success. That’s why we reflected this in the Civil Service Reform Plan – each and every civil servant is now entitled to at least 5 days’ learning and development a year.
Our scores on leadership and managing change remain low, but I'm heartened that the visibility of senior managers has risen. Despite improvements the scores aren't good enough, that's why the leadership and management of change are central planks in both the Reform Plan and the Capabilities Plan.
Finally, I'm very pleased that the strongest improvement at the Civil Service level has been for the question on the ability to try something new, even if it might not work.
Innovation is at the heart of how we are going to deliver better products and services, to meet the long-term challenges facing Britain we need to think and work differently and we can't do that without taking risks.
However, as we all know the Civil Service level picture is only the tip of the iceberg and scores are much more varied across and within our departments and agencies. The results for your organisation and for your team will be coming out shortly so look out for them, and I would like everyone to get involved in thinking about how we use them to help make our organisations great places to do great work.