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HomeNews£85,000 non-job tells you everything that’s wrong with the government machine

£85,000 non-job tells you everything that’s wrong with the government machine


ONE OF the things I track is jobs in the Civil Service. As I’m a white, heterosexual male (and I’m very sure about that bit) I’m not entirely sure that they want me to apply. Most advertisements tell me that the Civil Service ‘particularly welcomes’ applications from minorities and those of alternative sexual orientations, and that it supports diversity.

The latter is particularly true. I’m told by friends in the senior Civil Service that every interviewee for management positions has to explain how they have increased diversity as a top priority question. Managing stuff, sticking to budgets and analysing data are, I’m told, less important. 

Every application requires a personal statement of 1,250 to 2,000 words and hours of deciphering the relevant parts of the Civil Service code, a remarkably prolix document, so I seldom apply these days. This decision was made when having completed a trivial on-line numeracy test I was told that I was in the 66th percentile. Given a background in engineering and finance I complained and, some weeks later, received an email saying that I was right. There was a problem with the test and the scoring but there was no time to restart the process. I fear that he/she/it/them/whatever who got the job is the numpty in the Treasury who is assuring Jeremy Hunt that putting up corporation tax will deliver growth.

I keep looking at the ads though, really to see what the government’s recruiters are up to. This one is a gem: it’s an ‘exciting’ role for a doctor at DVLA Swansea, working from home and requiring only one day a month office attendance. The lucky recipient gets £85,000 per annum, plus being a part of ‘our brilliant Civil Service means you will have access to a wide range of fantastic benefits. We offer generous annual leave, attractive pension options, flexible working, inclusive working environments and much more to support a healthy work/life balance’. If you’re interested see here.

Much of the job will no doubt involve processing the applications of driving licence applications from diabetics, which everyone except DVLA knows are utterly pointless, as has been pointed out on TCW before. So, at a total cost of some £200,000 per year this doctor will be adding zero value, simply driving up cost. Since £85,000 is the pay level for a junior consultant, for the same cost the DVLA doc could be in the NHS curing people (when they’re not threatening to strike or working privately). Of course, they couldn’t do that working from home.

I guess it’s not a position from which one can advance much, so it’s probably not for a high flier. But with a generous wage, low working hours and zero commuting, I suspect there will be multiple applicants, and with no real people to deal with, I guess there’ll be junior consultants and lower lining up.

This one job represents almost everything that has gone wrong with the government machine: it’s unnecessary, overpaid and under-supervised. The primary attraction is job security, a fabulous pension and, in this case, a taxpayer-funded home office. Like most who work long hours in the private sector, I’m increasingly fed up with paying for the idle lifestyle of the ranks of the mediocre who deliver no value.

The Conservative Party can’t fix it (it’s been trying for decades) and the Labour Party won’t try; it is, after all, the party of the public service unions (there being very few unions left in the private sector). Perhaps Reform UK can come up with a plan. Here’s a hint: get them back in the office and start preparing P45s.

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