Civil servants could face competency exams under Tory reform plans

2 January 2020, 05:33 | Updated: 2 January 2020, 06:48

The plans are part of a set of sweeping reforms set to start after Brexit
The plans are part of a set of sweeping reforms set to start after Brexit. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Civil servants could be forced to take exams to prove they are competent as part of a series of planned sweeping reforms set to hit Whitehall, says Tory manifesto author.

Campaign insider, Rachel Wolf, who helped establish Conservative election promises has hit out at civil servants, branding them "woefully unprepared" Boris Johnson and Dominic Cumming's planned series of reforms.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph newspaper, Ms Wolf said reported plans for merging, creating or abolishing departments are just a "tiny fraction" of the changes set to be implemented.

Ms Wolf said the changes, set to begin in the spring after the UK is due to leave the EU at the end of the month, will end the "merry-go-round" of officials changing jobs every 18 months, where civil servants who have "spent more than 18 months in a post is seen to have stalled."

Dominic Cummings is the Prime Minister's most senior adviser
Dominic Cummings is the Prime Minister's most senior adviser. Picture: PA

However, the Conservative insider dismissed suggestions the civil service will be "politicised" under the reforms which the PM's special adviser Dominic Cummings is likely to have a big influence over.

Ms Wolf said Mr Johnson wanted to run "the most dynamic state in the world".

The reforms are designed to make Whitehall more dynamic
The reforms are designed to make Whitehall more dynamic. Picture: PA

She said one of the biggest changes is likely to be in the area of Whitehall recruitment and training.

In her front-page Daily Telegraph piece, she said: "I wouldn’t be surprised if officials, and special advisers, were set exams."

She also predicts that civil servants will be "reoriented to the public", rather than "stakeholders".

Many officials "cannot believe the Prime Minister and Dominic Cummings mean business", she writes, and "as a result, they seem woefully unprepared for what is coming".

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