Talks on national vacancy filling scheme


Unions and Cabinet Office discuss changes to national vacancy filling scheme

Civil services unions and the Cabinet Office are discussing changes to the national scheme for filling vacancies.

Job/career options: nurse, doctor, police etc

The move was triggered by revisions to the national redundancy protocol, the Cabinet Office’s desire for a simpler system of advertising vacancies and to remove the ‘surplus’ stage of recruitment.

The current process requires vacancy holders to prioritise internal recruitment before allowing external recruitment:

Stage 1 – Internal advertising within departments, generally level moves.

Stage 2 – a 10-day exclusivity period, giving priority to surplus employees across departments.

Stage 3 – Cross-civil service advertising, regardless of grade, level moves or promotions

Stage 4 – External recruitment, competition that is fair, open and appointments based on merit.

The Cabinet Office wants to remove Stage 2 and is proposing a ‘three options’ approach:

  • ‘Internal’ roles – Where a department is recruiting for skills available only, or almost exclusively, in that department.
  • ‘Cross government’ – Where skills exist across departments and offer the widest opportunities for staff.
  • ‘External roles’ – Where it is believed that skills do not exist in the service, employers will require a specific and justifiable reason to advertise the vacancy externally, such as scarce supply, geographical location or presentational importance of advertising as widely as possible.

The Cabinet Office hopes this approach will recognise the reality of current practice; effectively combine current stages two and three and provide a level of clarity that is currently missing. It also believes staff do not like the label ‘surplus’ and it is unhelpful in getting them placed.

Prospect negotiator Dave Allen said: “The suggested approach sits with the revised redundancy protocol and its much greater emphasis on early and meaningful workforce planning discussions with staff and trade unions.”