A backbench MHK has expressed his dismay that government is seeking to create ‘yet another’ senior civil service post.
The new position of executive director of policy in the Cabinet Office is being advertised in the Guardian newspaper – with an annual salary of £77,977 to £97,370.
Led by Minister for Policy and Reform Chris Robertshaw, the Cabinet Office was created in this year’s radical restructuring of government which also saw the scrapping of the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure.
But Michael MHK Alfred Cannan said: ‘I find it unbelievable that we need to create yet another senior officer role in government.
‘It begs the question what exactly the chief secretary, the chief financial officer and his chief officer colleagues in DED, DoI, DEFA and the DHSC are doing and what exactly the Ministers of these various departments are doing if not formulating and leading policy?
‘We should be striving for a smaller, simpler government delivering core services as efficiently and effectively as possible.
‘When I supported the dissolution of DCCL and the creation of the Cabinet Office, I did so in the belief the Minister would be working with existing resources to help more effectively coordinate the running of government. All I can see happening here is the creation of yet another “empire” leading to more bureaucracy and more cost at a time when the message from the centre should be one of prudence.’
Mr Cannan noted that reporting to the director would be a Head of Economic and Fiscal Policy, a Head of Environment and Infrastructure Policy and a Head of Social Policy.
A government spokesman said the role of executive director of policy was a replacement post, incorporating the role of economic adviser, which has existed for many years. Following the retirement of the economic adviser the decision had been taken to broaden the scope of the role to support CoMin in ‘developing of sustainable policies for the public service’. No additional costs would be incurred with the combined role.
He said the other roles have not been created yet but were recommended by a review approved by the Civil Service Commission. If they go ahead they will be within existing budget.