July 13, 2013
The UK government has conceded that it is falling significantly behind in its plans to create a modern workplace involving a more flexible working environment for public sector employees. The plans were outlined in the Civil Service Reform Plan a year ago with the aim to create a “decent working environment for all staff, with modern workplaces enabling flexible working”. However, a report released this week by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude confirms that the plans are now rated red, meaning they are significantly delayed or off track and that there is now a great deal of work that needs to be done to meet the stated aims of the plan. While some departments have made good progress, there is little cross-government work to meet the demands of the Government’s commitment.
The progress report identifies one of the underlying reasons as a lack of resources which has led to problems in specific areas such as skills development, private sector secondments, involvement of HR in implementation, modernising the workplace and shared services. The next key stage as the Government tries to get its plans back on track comes in September when a finalised implementation plan will be handed to a new team to execute.
The progress report claims that changes in the modernisation of workplaces would be effective by late 2013 with IT issues set as a priority. Flexible working guidelines will be published in the autumn and, once agreed, staff will be issued with passes that enable them to work in different buildings and locations.
Flexible working trials on this basis will begin during 2014, with the Cabinet Office set to be an exemplar department.