The Civil Service People Survey runs annually in every government department and agency across the UK Civil Service. Before 2009 this wasn’t the case: each department had its own questions, if it ran a survey at all, surveys happened at different times of the year with no common language and duplication of project management costs.
Now there is a core questionnaire, which enables detailed comparison between departments and agencies and provides an opportunity to more easily share best practice. Eliminating the duplication of project management costs has also been a key benefit, ensuring that managers and leaders continue to get detailed feedback from staff despite reducing departmental budgets.
Since 2010 the Civil Service has seen substantial reductions in the size of its workforce while also delivering major changes to the way public services are delivered meaning that employee engagement has been an important performance metric. As a public service, the Civil Service is subject to unique and in-depth scrutiny, but the People Survey includes some great positive messages that often get missed in media stories: 89% of civil servants are interested in their work and 80% say their manager is open to their ideas.
Civil servants do a wide range of jobs, from policy advisers in Whitehall to job centre advisers in Walsall, from tax inspectors to school inspectors, from coastguards to court clerks.
The Civil Service People Survey provides a way to compare departments and agencies that couldn’t otherwise be compared. The survey also enables analysis of groups that are spread across government departments, such as disabled staff.
By bringing together a coordinated ‘single-survey’ approach the Cabinet Office has been able to deliver strong value for money and provide powerful and insightful data that is used to hold senior leaders to account.