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CIVIL SERVICE NUMBERS DECLINE

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The downward trend in civil service staff numbers has continued. ...
The downward trend in civil service staff numbers has continued.

Between 1 April 1997 and 1 July 1997 the number of permanent civil

servants fell by 3,200 (one per cent) to 472,000, four per cent fewer

than a year earlier. The number of casual staff increased in the

second quarter by 300 (one per cent) to 19,900, nine per cent fewer

than twelve months ago, reflecting the continued use of casual staff

to overcome fluctuations in workload and short-term shortages of

permanent staff. Taking both permanent and casual staff into account

the trend has continued downward, the overall total having fallen

from 495,000 on 1 April to 492,000 on 1 July.

Since the peak in 1976 the number of permanent staff has fallen from

751,000 to 472,000, a decrease of 37 per cent. Casual staff numbers

have increased by 79 per cent over the same period, from 11,100 to

19,900.

The largest reductions in numbers of permanent staff in the three

months to 1 July occurred in:

the Ministry of Defence (2,270 down), mainly reflecting the sale of

Support Services Division (part of the Defence Evaluation and

Research Agency) on 24 April to Cinven (1,480 staff); the Benefits

Agency (920 down), reflecting organisational changes; the Department

for Education and Employment (620 down) mainly due to the transfer to

the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions of 590

Regional Office staff on 16 June; the Department of Trade and

Industry (610 down) due to the transfer to Department of the

Environment, Transport and Regions of 640 Regional Office staff on 16

June.

The largest increases in numbers of permanent staff in the three

months to 1 July were in the Prison Service (530 up) and the Scottish

Prison Service (310 up), in response to the increasing prison

population.

The increase of 280 in the number of casual staff in the quarter to 1

July mainly reflects a seasonal increase of casual staff at the

Passport Agency.

The total number of permanent staff working in Executive Agencies and

on Next Steps lines on 1 July was 363,000, 77 per cent of all

permanent staff.

Following the General Election:

the Overseas Development Administration was renamed Department for

International Development and made independent of the Foreign and

Commonwealth Office (3 May);

responsibility for voluntary organisations and charities (18 staff)

transferred from the Department for National Heritage to the Home

Office on 3 May;

Competitiveness Division of the Office of Public Service (27 staff)

transferred to the Department of Trade and Industry on 6 May;

The Departments of the Environment and Transport along with the staff

of the Regional Offices of the Departments of Trade and Industry and

Education and Employment merged under one Minister to form the

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (16 June).

NOTES

1. The staffing figures give full weight to the hours worked by

part-time staff in calculating full-time equivalents. On average, a

part-time employee works for 3.2 days a week.

2. Civil service staff numbers are prepared by OPS four times a year,

corresponding to the start of each calendar quarter.

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