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High staff turnover in the Civil Service costs public up to £74m

HIGH staff turnover in the Civil Service is costing the public between £36 million and £74m a year.

A quarter of staff leave the Treasury, Cabinet Office and a number of other Whitehall departments every year, says the Institute for Government report published today.

Such a high turnover also causes disruptive leadership changes and weakens institutional memory, which damages policy development, the report warns.

The Treasury’s welfare policy unit and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government’s homelessness policy team changed almost completely within a three-year period, the study found.

Tom Sasse, who wrote the think tank’s report, said: “It is no surprise that universal credit, plagued with issues, went through five project directors in three years.”

Shadow cabinet office minister Chris Matheson said that Tory cuts have contributed to “stagnant” Civil Service pay and that Labour intends to “revitalise the public sector” by providing badly needed support.

Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union general secretary Mark Serwotka said the report highlighted staff retention issues and the need for “significant” pay reforms.

“High staff turnover and low morale was found to still be a significant issue in many government departments following the latest Civil Service People Survey,” he said.

“National pay bargaining should also be introduced to stop government departments competing for staff, making them more efficient and restoring pay parity.

“Ministers have for too long treated their own staff with contempt, which is why PCS is building for an industrial action ballot on pay in the spring.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said the government is working on measures to retain staff, including “pay and career development incentives.”

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