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I have been working at Communities & Local Government full-time (More than 5 years)
Relatively friendly, informal egalitarian atmosphere (little gradism), challenging work for those willing, impressive permanent secretary, better offices than before, star rising in Whitehall. Generally good life/work balance, but it depends where in the organisation you are.. Generally good learning and development opportunities: support exists for tuition fees of relevant qualifications (e.g. Masters degrees) and shorter courses.
The pay freeze of the last five years, questionable measurement of performance and reluctance of senior management/HR to clamp down on poor performance (meaning colleagues can be earning the same or more as you but with half your workload) can be very demotivating.
Advice to Management
Improve performance management in the following ways: 1. Properly moderate objectives/workloads so that responsibilities and challenges are appropriate to grade. At present there is too much disparity in workload and challenge faced between grades i.e. one staff member will be grappling with major policy challenges to pressing deadlines whilst another one of the same grade will be compiling colleague updates in a spreadsheet. 2. Challenge senior managers and senior civil servants (G5s) to account for their work and the workload of their staff, rectifying obvious imbalances. 3. Improve awareness of poor performance procedures and the willingness of HR to tackle poor performance.