Headlines: June 18th, 2001

Latest figures published by the Cabinet Office confirm that the Civil Service is now reversing its shrinkage during the Conservatives’ time in office.Civil Service staff numbers at October 2000 are shown to have increased by more than 12,000 compared with the previous twelve months.

Civil Service numbers were an election issue, with the Tories promising to trim back to 1997 levels as a tax-cutting measure.

Their argument that staff numbers were creeping up seems to be backed up by the latest statistics.

As at October 2000, there were 478,500 full-time equivalent staff, an increase of 2.6 per cent, though this is reduced to 2.2 per cent if casual staff becoming permanent are taken into account.

The reasons for the increase have been largely explained by an extra 1,950 recruits into the Home Office to speed up consideration of immigration and asylum cases, 540 more in the Child Support Agency due to extra workload on the Child Support Reform project and 1620 more staff in the Prison Service to reflect the increased prison population.

The figures also show a slight increase in women moving into senior jobs, and in the proportion of staff who come from ethnic minority groups or have a disability in posts known as JESP 13 and above. All these are subject to targets set in the Modernising Government White Paper.