Whitehall jobs lost in merger of ministries

Geraldine Hackett

More than a third of the senior civil servant jobs in the Department for Education and Employment are to disappear as part of the staffing review under way in Whitehall.

The two permanent secretaries at the DFEE announced this week that the number of posts is to be reduced by 45, leaving 95 jobs at grade six and above. A further 13 jobs are to go at the Employment Service, the quango responsible for job centres and unemployment benefit.

The reduction in jobs is due to the creation of a slimmed-down structure with fewer layers of responsibility. Management re-views at the two separate departments were under way before the merger.

The new structure is radical even within Whitehall. The department is to be run by eight board members with their directorships. The two permanent secretaries remain in overall charge, though it is being assumed that eventually either Michael Bichard or Tim Lankester will transfer to another post.

The second management tier will consist of 10 non-board directors who will be appointed in the next two weeks.

The next tier will consist solely of one director of information, below which will be a fourth tier consisting of 76 divisional managers, due to be appointed by mid-November.

Further redundancies are likely as the review examines the less senior grades, but the expectation is that fewer lower tier jobs will disappear.

The DFEE is hoping to achieve the slimming down through voluntary early retirement and severance. Some top-tier civil servants are believed to be being offered pay-offs of up to Pounds 300,000, plus deferred pension rights under the redundancy scheme.

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