Headlines: July 11th, 2005

There has been a renewed call for a Civil Service Act, which would give both civil servants and ministers clear guidance on their rights and responsibilities. The call has come from the FDA, the union that represents Britain’s senior civil service and public sector managers and professionals.It was made in response to reported comments by Louise Casey, Head of the Home Office Anti-Social Behaviour Unit, in an after dinner speech. Reports of the event quoted her as using foul language and referring to herself as having been drunk at another event in Liverpool. The comments have been condemned by the FDA.

Jonathan Baume, the union’s General Secretary, said they were a clear breach of the Civil Service Code and they had brought both the civil service and the Home Office into disrepute. He urged the Civil Service Commission and the Cabinet Secretary to review the training and development available for people appointed from outside to the Senior Civil Service and said this was especially important given the Government’s aim to bring in more people from other sectors.

He added, “The Government must also end its procrastination over introducing a Civil Service Act. This would have a significant impact in making clear both to civil servants and to ministers their respective rights and responsibilities.” Mr. Baume said the continued delay over this issue had sent all the wrong messages about the importance of ensuring everyone in government understood the boundaries within which they had to work.