Civil Service Employment

Oral Answers to Questions — Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 25th February 2009.

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Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions) 11:30 am, 25th February 2009

How many new posts he expects to be created in the civil service in the next 12 months.

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I send my condolences to David and Samantha. Their loss will be immense, but I hope that they can find comfort in the knowledge that the thoughts and prayers of all of us are with them today.

I do not want to predict what will be in the Budget, but overall we continue to expect and to achieve efficiencies in the civil service. We will create posts in some services, such as Jobcentre Plus, to respond to the downturn, and where possible we will move existing resources to those services.

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Photo of Andrew Selous Andrew Selous Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

I thank the Minister for his condolences, which are warmly appreciated on this side of the House and, I am sure, across the whole House.

The National Audit Office estimates that the cost of recruiting civil servants could be cut by as much as 68 per cent. In the current tough economic conditions, private sector firms would have no choice but to follow that course. What action will the Government take to ensure that the NAO's recommendations are followed?

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Photo of Tom Watson Tom Watson Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

We are still considering the NAO report, but the hon. Gentleman is right: there has been a digital revolution in how the private and public sectors can recruit staff. I hope that we not only learn the lessons raised in the NAO report, but create some digital solutions that will help drive down costs and ensure we have attractive packages on offer to potential civil servants.

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