Civil service flexible working under review

HR managers in the civil service have been asked to review policies such as flexitime to bring what it offers more in line with the private sector, according to a leaked letter from the civil service HR director seen by the Guardian.

The letter says the review “should ensure that your department, and collectively the civil service, continues to be a good employer, offering terms and conditions comparable with, but not beyond what a good modern employer would provide”.

“We wish to offer terms that reflect best practice in the private sector rather than the average,” the letter reportedly says. It suggests several areas which are likely to be subject to change, including annual leave, occasional days’ leave, sick pay, hours of work, the ability of employees to move from one job to another and probationary periods.

Managers have also been ordered to review policies including flexitime, travel and expenses, disciplinary procedures and performance management.

The letter suggests staff will have to become more “flexible and collaborative” which includes them having “greater mobility”.

Other areas under review are compressed hours, working from home, parental leave, part-time working, job sharing and term-time working. The Guardian says the letter appears to suggest that part of the reason behind the review is media “caricatures” of public sector terms and conditions.

The proposals are not definitive, says The Guardian, and HR directors are asked to come up with other ideas to save money that are “deemed relevant”. It is envisaged that any changes will be brought in over two years, starting from April.

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