1,000 jobs to go in UK education efficiency drive


A quarter of officials in the British department of education are to lose their jobs over the next three years under radical reforms announced yesterday designed to focus “ruthlessly” on delivering better results.

Pushed by education secretary Michael Gove, the reforms will see 1,000 jobs axed, mostly in human resources, information technology and administration. Those involved day-to-day on delivering frontline education and children’s services will be protected.

If the reforms are implemented, the cost of running the department in 2015 will have been halved since 2010.

A departmental review said existing structures “sap energy”, “with too much inefficient decision-making, multiple layers of clearance, and programme management for its own sake”.

The changes will likely see the sale of the department’s Westminster headquarters – once owned by Dublin solicitor Brian O’Donnell’s Vico Capital, and which was bought near the height of the property boom with Bank of Ireland loans. Six regional offices in England will be closed, with some duties scrapped or handed over to agencies. Staff would also be expected to change duties on demand.

The review was carried out by permanent secretary Chris Wormald, with assistance from Bain Co, the management consultancy group once headed by US presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Duty to taxpayer

Mr Wormald said yesterday: “We will have a culture of continuous improvement, and we won’t let cumbersome systems or ways of working stand in the way of excellence.

“We will be smaller and will operate from fewer sites. We will focus on our duties to the taxpayer with renewed vigour, investing where we need to but always remembering that every pound we spend on ourselves must be justified to the citizens who pay for us.”

Staff will be helped to perform better, while poorer performers will be “supported” to leave.

Unions reacted nervously. The First Division Association, which represents senior civil servants, raised fears that the cutbacks would see the loss of key skills and hurt the quality of services delivered.