Cabinet Office rethinks recruitment and rewards with new people plan

The Cabinet Office has released its Civil Service People Plan 2024-27 –  its first workforce strategy since 2016  – promising to speed up recruitment and deliver a new pay strategy this year. 

It also plans to reduce the Senior Civil Service, and revamp its training offer to focus on line management skills and deep subject expertise over the next four years. 

The strategy is focused across five key areas: learning, skills and capability; pay and reward; employee experience; recruitment and retainment; and the HR function. 

Cabinet Office minister John Glen said the plan is part of the government's bold agenda of modernisation. “The people plan sets a clear vision for the civil service to be as skilled, agile and productive as it can be to support this effort,” he said. “We have made significant progress in our programme of reform, and will keep striving to improve the civil service’s capabilities, people and culture to ensure it is fit for the current and future challenges our country faces.”

Here’s a summary of the key points: 

Pay and reward strategy 

A Civil Service reward strategy will be rolled out by 2030 focusing on rewarding Civil Servants to drive better productivity across government while delivering better outcomes for taxpayers

A new Senior Civil Service strategy will also be published this year, setting out how this group will become “smaller, more skilled, and better rewarded”. This includes a new pay framework and a training programme focused on improving the capability of lines managers through a set of externally accredited standards. 

DDaT in focus

The plan places particular significance on growing and supporting DDaT roles across government by promising to develop a 200-person upskilling programme for these professionals, and adding additional Senior Civil Service roles to the existing DDaT capability framework.

A new digital pay framework is also being introduced to provide better pay progression within grade for DDaT roles, based on capability. 

A new digital learning platform 

The plan details the new Government Skills Campus – a digital platform that aims to improve access and visibility to the learning curriculum. The campus will introduce the first pan-CS skills taxonomy to provide consistency in approach to defining and measuring skills, along with a skills passport scheme. 

HM Revenue and Customs and the Cabinet Office will be the first to access a pilot service in the coming weeks.

Recruitment reform

The plan promises to “speed up recruitment and open up as many entry routes as possible” to attract a broader range of talent. This includes bringing in more external hires to senior roles and creating more entry routes through secondment opportunities. Discovery Pilots will be launched across the Civil Service to test and refine new approaches to recruitment.

To “fully open up the Civil Service” a new brand, advertising campaign will be implemented. The plan also promises to make better use of executive search.

The Government Recruitment Service (GRS) Transformation Programme 2023-26, which has been introduced to overhaul the current service, will focus on automating the most manual repetitive processes of the GRS operational service and deliver a Digital Change and Applicant Tracking System (ATS) Replacement over the next three years.   

HR reboot  

A new HR Functional Strategy will be delivered setting out how capability should be built across the HR function to ensure the civil service has "the right people with the right skills in the right roles".

There is also to be a new Shared Services Strategy for Government that aims to transform the HR back office of government by replacing “outdated, cyber vulnerable, legacy IT systems with modern, user friendly, cloud-based systems.” 

Two shared service centres went live in 2022, the third is expected in 2024 and the remaining two in 2025. Departments will join as current service contracts expire with all departments onboarded in 2028. 

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