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Departments: Manpower

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 23 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how his Department determines the staffing levels and grade mix for its directorates; and what cover for contingencies and emergencies is built into its resource planning for ongoing staff reductions in the Department. (137680)

The Department's March 2008 target of 3,200 (full time equivalents) was set following Sir Peter Gershon's independent review of public sector efficiency. This recognised that the Department will be smaller but more strategic enabling it to deliver its priorities for improved outcomes for children and learners within the planned headcount. Reform programmes within each Directorate, underpinned by a project and programme management approach to delivery, allows the Department to focus its resources efficiently but flexibly.

The Department's board maintain an awareness of issues and business priorities and are regularly provided with detailed analysis of current and anticipated labour market and work force issues. The board decides any necessary reallocation of staff resources to best meet the needs of the business and ministerial priorities.

Cover for key staff and resource planning for incidents/emergencies are part of the business continuity planning process which is undertaken across the Department.