Call for evidence on Building Civil Service skills for future

21 January 2014

The Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) is carrying out an inquiry into the skills and capabilities the Civil Service needs to ensure good governance for both current, and future governments

The state of skills and capabilities in the Civil Service has been a long-running concern for PASC.  The Committee’s reports (listed below) all highlighted this issue as critical to achieving government policy and ensuring good governance:

This inquiry will:

  • explore how gaps in skills and capabilities are identified within the civil service;
  • examine the strength of the Government’s approach to training and development of civil servants;
  • scrutinise the abolition of National School of Government and the performance of its replacement, Civil Service Learning;
  • scrutinise departmental and cross-government policy with regard to professional qualifications and specialist expertise of civil servants;
  • explore the reasons for the employment of external consultants and contractors in the Civil Service; and
  • consider best practice in the public and private sector.

This inquiry will also continue the Committee’s on-going consideration of the quality of strategic thinking, leadership, and engagement of staff in the way Government operates.

The Twitter hashtag for this inquiry will be #CSskills.

PASC would like to hear views on:

  1. The Government’s current approach to training and development within the Civil Service.
  2. How information about existing skills and capabilities—and consequently any gaps—is captured, shared and acted upon across Whitehall.
  3. The extent to which the Civil Service Capabilities Plan (published in April 2013) addresses both current and future demands of Government.
  4. The impact of the abolition of the National School for Government and how well its replacement, Civil Service Learning, is in addressing skills and capabilities gaps.
  5. The importance of “corporate memory” in the delivery of good governance.
  6. Examples of good practice in identifying and promoting essential skills and capabilities  within the Civil Service and elsewhere.
  7. The role and purpose of external consultants in Whitehall in addressing deficits in skills; and the effectiveness of external appointment to leadership roles.
  8. The importance of leadership and employee engagement in promoting and sustaining skills and capabilities.

The Committee would also welcome views on any other matters that may be relevant to this inquiry. Please do not feel obliged to respond to all of the questions if you have a specific interest.

How to respond:

Interested groups or individuals are encouraged to submit written evidence to the inquiry. Written evidence should be received by the Committee no later than 12 midday Friday 4 July (extended deadline).

Please note: As part of a scheme to encourage paperless working and maximise efficiency, the Committee is piloting a new web portal for online submissions of written evidence. Written submissions for this inquiry should therefore be sent via the Public Administration Comittee website.

It assists the Committee if those submitting written evidence adhere to the following guidelines.

Each submission should:

  • be in Word or Rich Text format (not PDF) with as little use of colour or logos as possible;
  • be a maximum of 3,000 words in length / run to no more than eight sides of A4 paper;
  • as far as possible comprise a single document;
  • begin with a short summary in bullet point form; and
  • have numbered paragraphs.

Further information on submitting evidence

Inquiry-related questions:

Please contact Rebecca Short, Second Clerk, on 020 7219 6923 or  

Media enquiries:

Members of the press with enquires should contact Jessica Bridges-Palmer, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 0724, or 

Image: iStockphoto

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