Diversity of UK senior civil service falls; Hong Kong government jobs exodus: management & workforce news in brief

By on 04/08/2022 | Updated on 04/08/2022
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Diversity of UK senior civil service falls, rises at lower grades

The percentage of UK civil servants from an ethnic minority background is at a record high, according to the latest figures, but the proportion in top jobs has fallen for the first time since 2015.

Official figures for 2022 revealed that, of those with a known ethnicity, the percentage of government officials who are from an ethnic minority background is at a record high of 15.0% – up from 14.3% in 2021, and 9.3% a decade ago.

There was a year-on-year increase at all grades, with the exception of the senior civil service – the group of officials who run government departments or hold other top posts. In this group, there was a year-on-year decline from 10.6% in 2021 to 10.3% in 2022.

Percentage of civil servants from an ethnic minority background by grade 2012 to 2022

Civil Service Statistics 2022

The government had previously pledged to increase the percentage of senior civil servants who are from an ethnic minority year-on-year to reach 13.2% in the three year period from 2022 to 2025. However, in its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy: 2022 to 2025, published earlier this year, the government said it had stopped using targets to measure progress. “We will mainstream our success measures with our broader organisational priorities, such as Places for Growth [the plan to move officials out of London and into the regions of the UK], senior civil service workforce planning, talent schemes and recruitment priorities. Rather than relying on standalone targets, our ambitions will be embedded in these key deliverables designed to improve our delivery for citizens. Where our data indicates progress is not being made, action will be taken,” the strategy said.

The strategy made only one mention of people from ethnic minority backgrounds, stating: “We will make sure that people from minority ethnic backgrounds, those living with disabilities and those who have experienced disadvantage in their early lives can flourish in public service.”

Read more: The senior civil service in Britain: what it is, who is in it, and how it has changed

Read more: Best in class: a more inclusive approach to diversity

Number of officials leaving Hong Kong government doubles in a year

The number of civil servants leaving their jobs in the Hong Kong government has risen to the highest level since the 1997 handover of the city state from the UK to China.

According to the figures released by the Hong Kong Civil Service Bureau last week, 3,734 civil servants resigned from their jobs in the year 2021-22.  This is more than double the total in the previous year.

Responding to the Hong Kong Free Press, the Bureau said that the resignation of civil servants “has not impacted government work much”.

It added: “What is important is that the government is able to hire and retain suitable talent to serve the public.”

The number of resignations was around a third of the 10,487 departures from the civil service overall. Other reasons included retiring, end of contracts, or dismissal.

The increase in resignations comes after an oath of allegiance was introduced for civil servants, requiring them to make a declaration to uphold the Basic Law – Hong Kong’s mini-constitution – and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This followed the introduction by China of the controversial National Security Law, which reduces Hong Kong’s judicial autonomy and makes it easier to punish demonstrators and activists.

Read more: Pro-Beijing security chief named Hong Kong leader

‘It’s only in heaven you can eradicate corruption, we have to reduce it’: how Ghana is working to tackle civil service corruption

Nana Kwasi Agyekum-Dwamena, the head of the civil service in Ghana, has said that the country needs to unite to tackle corruption, which he said is vital to improve public services.

In an interview, Nana Agyekum-Dwamena, said that corruption leads to “mediocrity in terms of service delivery”, and said that the civil service and other institutions were putting in place measures to prevent the scourge, but that further action was needed to consolidate these efforts.

“It is only in heaven you can eradicate corruption, but we have to work to reduce it,” he said in an interview reported by Ghanaweb. “Other countries have done – Finland, Norway, Singapore, Malaysa, they have reduced it. They will not eradicate it, but they’ve reduced it and that is what we need to do as a country.”

Read more: Truths about lies: World Bank governance chief Ed Olowo-Okere on the global threat of corruption

‘Bureaucrats need to be fireable’: Republican lawmakers propose stripping US federal officials of employment protections

A group of US lawmakers from the Republican Party have introduced a bill that would make it easier for the president to remove a host of non-partisan officials from their roles, in what one called a “reckoning” for feds.

The legislation, which has been proposed by five Republican representatives, would dampen whistleblower activity and seek to abolish the Merit Systems Protection Board, which protects the federal civil service against political practices, as well as reducing employment protections.

The bill is unlikely to pass the current Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, but comes ahead of mid-term elections in November that could see the Republicans take back control of the lower chamber.

News of the bill comes just days after it emerged that former president Donald Trump – who took steps to control the bureaucracy and fired several high-profile officials during his time in office – was overseeing plans to purge tens of thousands of career civil servants should he be re-elected in 2024.

Read more: ‘Bureaucrats need to be fireable’: Republican lawmakers propose stripping US federal officials of employment protections

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About Richard Johnstone

Richard Johnstone is the executive editor of Global Government Forum, where he helps to produce editorial analysis and insight for the title’s audience of public servants around the world. Before joining GGF, he spent nearly five years at UK-based title Civil Service World, latterly as acting editor, and has worked in public policy journalism throughout his career.

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