New Government figures for the numbers of civil servants employed shows how use of casual labour has made the resource more flexible, and how the service has come to depend on part-time working to secure the workforce it needs.
Modernisation and changes in demand have also influenced the figures, which
show an overall drop of 38 per cent in the number of civil servants employed
since the peak more than 20 years ago.
On 1 April 1998 there were 463,300 permanent civil servants in post, compared with 750,900 in 1976.
Casual staff numbers have increased from 11,100 in 1976 to 17,700 in April
1998, reflecting an increasing tendency to use casual staff to overcome
short-term peaks in work-load.
The largest recent reductions in permanent staff have been in the Benefits
Agency where there have been general reductions, mainly through a staff exit
scheme, the Ministry of Defence, partly reflecting the contracting out of ma
nagement of fleet maintenance and repair, and the Home Office, where the
National Criminal Intelligence Service and the Police Information Technology
Organisation have become services not directly staffed by civil servants.
The largest recent increases in permanent staff occurred in the HM Prison
Service in response to the increasing prison population, and the Driver and
Vehicle Licensing Agency, to support the introduction of the photocard driving
The number of non-industrial permanent Civil Servants working part-time has
increased by 83 per cent from 31,100 in 1976 to 56,800 at 1 April 1998. About ninety-five per cent of part-time staff are women.