Press release

Shake-up of civil service training

Reforms are now underway to make civil service training more modern, efficient and cost-effective.

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

Reforms are now underway to make civil service training more modern, efficient and cost-effective, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, announced today.

In a shake up, estimated to save the taxpayer around £90 million a year, the civil service will move away from expensive residential and classroom-based training to focus on work-based and online training. 

Francis Maude said: 

We need to transform the civil service into a modern, dynamic and innovative organisation and part of this process is to ensure that we invest in the right skills needed to ensure excellence in public services.

For too long we have relied on expensive residential and classroom-based training, duplicating effort across departments.The new Civil Service Learning will focus on work-based approaches, including e-learning and will directly involve managers in the training process.

The reforms in training will save around £90 million per year and at the same time improve the quality and impact of training. It will also create greater flexibility by sourcing much of the training from external providers including small and medium sized enterprises.

As part of these reforms, the National School of Government will close on 31 March 2012. Until then the School will remain open for business and provide a range of products to support Civil Service Learning.

Changes to civil service training are now well underway and are expected to be completed by April 2012. Some of these include: 

  • Learning and development in the Civil Service is moving away from residential and classroom to work-based and e-learning, increasing line manager’s involvement. Figures for 2010 to 2011 show a 76% increase in online training days in government departments.
  • Training will focus on business needs and building the priority skills the Civil Service needs for the future. These include, building leadership capability and talent and improving performance management
  • The new Civil Service Learning (CS Learning) operation, established in April 2011 in the Home Office, will buy training for the whole Civil Service replacing inefficient duplication across departments.
  • The National School of Government will close on 31 March 2012. During 2011/12 the School remains open for business, and is providing a range of products to CSL to support the delivery of the Common Curriculum.

Sunningdale Park is a commercial training venue and will continue to be fully operational after the closure of the National School of Government.

Notes to editors        

  • The reforms in training now underway will save some £90 million per year on 2009 to 2010 spend, estimated at £275 million.
  • An audit of learning products in 2009 showed that there were over 250 different leadership courses on offer in government departments, using 52 framework contracts with suppliers.
  • CIPD’s annual survey into the effectiveness of learning and development says that work-placed learning, including things like coaching and mentoring, is both the most popular, and most effective form of learning.
  • CS Learning will not provide business-specific technical training, such as how to administer a new benefit or operate an IT system. This will remain the responsibility of the relevant department, which will retain some Learning and Development (L&D) resource to deliver this as appropriate.
  • Heads of Profession will continue to lead in identifying needs for profession-specific skills, such as legal or policy-making work. CS Learning will support professions to develop their curricula. This will include advice on curriculum development as well as procurement support where a cross-departmental need is identified. Budgetary arrangements for profession-specific learning are unchanged. 
Published 1 March 2012