Press release

Level playing field for all civil servants to drive up performance

A new competency framework for the Civil Service will focus on results, continuous improvement and breaking down departmental silos.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

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In a move that will drive up performance across Whitehall, all civil servants will from April have to perform to a unified set of standards. Today the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, launched a new competency framework for the Civil Service which will focus on achieving results, continuous improvement and breaking down departmental silos.

The adoption of the framework fulfils an action in the Civil Service Reform Plan. It will apply to all 420,000 civil servants and will help deliver a more skilled, less bureaucratic and more unified civil service. The emphasis is on developing capability in digital, commercial and project delivery skills, as well as leading change.

The framework outlines the high standards of behaviour and skills required for recruitment, promotion and performance management. It will make it easier for line managers to identify effective and ineffective behaviour and to highlight learning requirements. Civil servants will find it easier to apply for jobs in other government departments. The framework also seeks to initiate a wider culture change that emphasises outcomes and results over process. Civil servants will be expected to achieve value for money, adopt a commercial mind-set and deliver at pace.

Later this year the Cabinet Office will publish a capabilities plan, which will identify what skills are in deficit and consider how the gaps will be filled. This will ensure the Civil Service can meet long term economic challenges and rising public expectations.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

Introducing a new competency framework is an important action from the Civil Service Reform Plan.

We want the Civil Service to deliver the best for Britain. Civil Servants complain that the Civil Service is all too often slow-moving, hierarchical and preoccupied with process. The new competency framework will help bring about a culture which prizes speed, flexibility and a focus on delivery. Commercial, digital and project management skills are not the preserve of a few specialists but are a priority for the whole of the Civil Service.

Instead of a jumble of individual departmental documents we now have a single, clear and coherent framework to help government work in a more joined-up way. We have stripped down the bureaucracy and focused on what really matters in terms of leadership and delivery, empowering civil servants to get on and do their jobs.

Sir Bob Kerslake, Head of the Civil Service, said:

Every civil servant should be proud of their role and ambitious to meet the rising expectations of the public, who rightly expect a first class service. The new competency framework will help ensure we have the right kind of skills and behaviours, which are true to our values but relevant to the challenges we face.

For the first time we will be consistent across government in determining how we want people in the Civil Service to work. Based on feedback from the early adopters, we are confident that the new framework will promote and deliver a faster, innovative and results-orientated culture.

The framework takes the Civil Service’s traditional core values – honesty, integrity, impartiality and objectivity - and aligns them to the Civil Service leadership model, which groups skills and behaviours under three key headings: setting direction, engaging people and delivering results.

It has already been adopted by five departments - BIS, DCLG, DCMS, the Home Office and the Valuation Office Agency - and will roll out across the rest of Whitehall from April this year.

The new Civil Service Competency Framework is available here and the latest information on civil service reform, together with the Reform Plan, can be found here.

Published 28 February 2013