Civil service of the future will be smaller, says boss John Manzoni

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
24 June 2015

The civil service of the future will be smaller and more collaborative, an event was told.

John Manzoni, chief executive of the civil service, said the cuts of the last Parliament would continue and civil servants should not “shirk” from becoming more efficient.

Speaking at The Public Sector Show in London, Manzoni said civil servants must put themselves “on the front foot” and take control of the savings agenda. “I firmly believe unless we do that the next five years will be harder and harder,” he said.

“I think the public sector has had a tough few years over the last Parliament. I have to tell you it’s going to be exactly the same as we go forward.

“We can get more efficient in what we do and we should not shirk from doing what we do in an increasingly efficient way.

“If we can create an environment where civil servants feel they are playing to their own tune we will deliver the productivity gains and they will be delivered in a sustainable way.”

Manzoni said it was necessary to build “skills and experience in delivery functions” and manage business outcomes. Civil servants needed to create “clear priorities on what we have to deliver” and then “define the resources required”.

“Over time those priorities will deliver the civil service of the future,” he said. “It will be smaller. We want to create a modern, lean service. If we are to be smaller it’s equally clear that we have to fundamentally change the way we work.”

Manzoni said skills must be “broadened and deepened”. “Experience wins over intellect,” he said.

“The future civil service will more collaborative. We can’t continue to work within departmental boundaries.”

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