There are over 300,000 civil servants in the UK. The COVID-19 pandemic has led many government departments to move away from their location strategies to enable people to work at home during the pandemic, which the majority of civil servants have been recognised as doing successfully.
Despite this, of the c.2000 jobs advertised on civil service jobs today, only one is advertised as ‘nationally’ and none advertised with an option for permanent home working. This is not reflective of the society we now work in or the communities we serve.
There is a real opportunity to truly become a diverse organisation of the future that moves away from arbitrary and outdated working practices that required a fixed location to be necessary. Whilst there are obviously instances where remote working does not work, for example prison guards that need to be on site, and individuals will have personal preferences, the vast majority of civil service roles can be performed elsewhere.
It is time the civil service abolishes it’s existing insistence on roles being matched to locations because of personal preferences of senior leaders or junior managers, and opens up its opportunities to really enable the best of the best to take up roles and deliver the civil service of the future, leading the way for other nations and position ourselves as the best civil service in the world.
Whilst this would create challenging for some of our inner city business, it also puts trade and custom back into our flagging coastal towns and supports the governments ambitions to move roles out of Whitehall.