Equality and diversity jobs targeted in jobs cut drive

Diversity and inclusion jobs in the civil service could be scrapped as part of the Treasury’s plan to reduce headcount. 

In a speech at the Conservative Party conference, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced a freeze on the expansion of the civil service ahead of plans to bring headcount back to pre-pandemic levels, a decision  he said could save £1 billion next year.

Equality and diversity roles would be one of the first areas targeted as part of the plan. “Smashing glass ceilings is everyone’s job – not a box to be ticked by hiring a diversity manager,” the Chancellor said.

The Treasury confirmed in a press release following the speech that equality, diversity and inclusion spending in the civil service will be reviewed “to ensure it represents value for money for the taxpayer.”

Do more with less

The cap on headcount is part of a Public Sector Productivity Programme being carried out by the Treasury to create a “leaner and more effective workforce” in the civil service that delivers “high-quality public services at a lower cost,” the press release stated. 

The Civil Service workforce has grown year on year since 2016, with headcount currently  sitting at about 488,000. “Further unabated growth would not be fair to taxpayers or promote the efficiency they expect,” the Treasury said. 

A cap on headcount at its current level will be introduced with immediate effect. The cap - which will be in place for the duration of the current Spending Review period - does not equate to a recruitment freeze, and current recruitment campaigns will remain ongoing, the Treasury confirmed.  

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