Headlines: November 15th, 2012

The Department for Education is moving from the traditional civil service way of working which will result in wide-scale cuts in running costs.

The changes will involve a move away from the old hierarchical civil service structure towards more flexible, project based teams. One result will be a loss of about 1,000 jobs, which represents a quarter of its total workforce.

The changes follow a review ordered by Education Minister Michael Gove. The review report says decision-making at the DfE is often “slow and laborious”, with “unclear roles and processes”.

It also says that new ways of working will remove the barriers which sap energy and prevent people being as effective as they can be so that less time is wasted on activities which add little value.

It adds: “Too often at present new work ends up on the desk of somebody based on their job title rather than the skills they have, and existing work is not de-prioritised to free up resources to deal with a new pressure.”

A spokesman for the DfE said: “We conducted a review to make sure we have the capability to deliver well-designed policies that have a real, measurable impact on the children and young people who need it most, while minimising costs to the taxpayer.

The new approach will target staff time and money on only top priorities, cutting red tape and concentrating on the work that adds the most value. There will also be reductions in backroom staff such as human resources, finance and IT.

This pioneering work at the Department for Education will be closely watched across Whitehall. If the changes work successfully it would be difficult for other departments to argue against following the same route and making similar cuts in running costs.

In a further cost cutting measure six regional offices will be closed with a saving of around £15m per annum.