Headlines: August 10th, 2000

Senior civil servants are applying rigorous analysis to decide the competencies they need to do their job. The latest draft has identified the following headings as crucially important: giving purpose and direction; making a personal impact; working collaboratively; taking a wide perspective and focusing on outcomes.Under each of the six headings the document sets out effective and ineffective behaviour with an example which illustrates what is considered as effective and ineffective. Effective behaviour under the heading of giving purpose and direction is described as: having a clear idea of what needs to be achieved. Ineffective behaviour is: always looking up the organisation for direction.

Viewers of the TV series ‘Yes Minister’ will recognise that the Permanent Secretary, Sir Humphrey Appleby displayed many characteristics that are considered as ineffective behaviour. They include: saying what people want to hear, talking around the problem, taking a careful and cautious approach, preferring intellectual debate to action and accepting the status quo.

The Senior Civil Service Competency Framework is at http://www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/civilservice/scscompetencies/consultationdraft.rtf