18 July 2023

Private sector tech experts to be seconded to Civil Service, minister says

18 July 2023

Hundreds of technology and data experts from the private sector will reportedly be seconded to the Civil Service under a new Government scheme.

Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin, who is due to deliver a speech on Whitehall reforms on Wednesday, said the number of placements will be uncapped.

“If I had hundreds offered, we’d be taking hundreds,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times, adding that he is keen to “tap into the talent” of the private sector.

I know personally how having someone from the outside is welcomed by the Civil Service

Specialists in artificial intelligence, data architecture and digital engineering from FTSE 100 companies will be welcomed into Whitehall from the autumn, with the scheme to be extended to the science and engineering sectors at a later stage.

The duration of the placements will be flexible, the minister said.

The FT reported that most secondees would remain under the contract and payroll of their private sector employer, with their salaries recharged to the Government.

Mr Quin himself served on secondment from Deutsche Bank as a senior corporate finance adviser to the Treasury during the 2008-09 financial crisis before he became an MP.

“I know personally how having someone from the outside is welcomed by the Civil Service,” he told the FT.

“We’ve got a lot of very talented people. They like the different perspectives that come from a commercial background or a different background that can be brought to play.”

Mr Quin is also seeking to remove barriers for external recruits to enter the senior Civil Service in permanent roles.

He insisted the Government “do aim to be competitive” on pay when asked about the stiff competition on salaries with the private sector in senior digital roles.

He said “extra flexibility” has been introduced on salary, explaining: “Where there are specific skills that we really need to get after, we are investing more to ensure that we get people over the line.”

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