2013 was a challenging but successful year for the Civil Service – our people survey scores show that nearly 90% of you are interested in your work, our record on learning and development is at its strongest since 2009 and more of you are being recognised for what you deliver, not how you deliver.
2014 will present its own challenges, as many of you will know if you are dealing with the flooding around the UK at the moment. There will no doubt be many more unpredictable challenges that we have to overcome, but we know we will continue to face spending challenges, there will be a vote on Scottish independence and we will begin to see the build-up to next year’s general election.
In amongst this, I am absolutely determined to ensure the Civil Service is stronger than it’s ever been by driving forward the implementation of Civil Service Reform.
It is impossible to overstate the importance of ensuring that all civil servants have all the skills they need to carry out their job. There will be an even greater emphasis on learning and development in the year ahead, with a focus on the four priority areas of digital, commercial, project delivery and change leadership.
There are lots of opportunities to improve your skills on the Civil Service Learning website so have a look and start planning your training. Keep your eyes peeled for a refreshed self-assessment tool which will launch next month, and will form an important part of the end of year review process.
If the Civil Service is to be the best that it can be then it is crucial that civil servants are able to work together seamlessly.
Last year many of you were issued with a new pass which allows you to access many government buildings in Whitehall. Over the coming year this will be extended across the country, saving time and increasing flexibility. Meanwhile, the new security classifications will come into operation in April, making it easier to share information with each other.
In the year to come I am determined for us to make further progress towards becoming a truly ‘digital by default’ Civil Service. Civil servants should be able to tap into the digital resources available to us in our personal lives, and use them to make our working lives easier and deliver a better, more efficient, service to the public.
Social media is an important part of this, and I want to see civil servants have access to these tools where they need them. I’ve been using Twitter for nearly 2 years, and have found it to be a really useful way to engage with people across the world on the work I’m doing.
We will undoubtedly face many challenges, and be presented with many opportunities, over the next twelve months. However I am more confident than ever that we’re building a strong and modern Civil Service.
My new year’s resolution is to meet as many of you as possible over the coming year to hear from you directly about Civil Service Reform. I will keep you posted on how I’m getting on, but would welcome hearing about your resolutions in the comments section.
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Update 16th January. Thank you for your comments below. Sir Bob has replied in a new post here.