Almost a quarter of civil servants working in the Department of Health want to leave within the next 12 months or as soon as possible, according to an internal staff survey.

  • Eight per cent of DH civil servants said they want to leave as soon as possible
  • Reluctance among some staff to raise concerns
  • DH says it is taking the survey findings “very seriously”

Eight per cent of respondents to the survey, carried out last year, said they want to leave as soon as possible, while 16 per cent wanted to leave in the next year.

The document, seen by HSJ, also reveals civil servants in the department were reluctant to raise concerns – 32 per cent said they do not believe a concern would be investigated properly. More than a quarter (28 per cent) said the DH is not a safe environment to challenge the way things are done.

Richmond House

The DH is ‘taking the findings very seriously’ to make positive changes to its culture

Seven per cent of DH civil servants said they had personally experienced bullying or harassment at work. The majority of those who said they had experienced bullying claimed this was carried out by their manager or another manager in their part of the department.

Eight per cent said they had personally experienced discrimination at work in the past 12 months, with most saying this was due to their grade, pay or responsibility. Other reasons included age, working patterns, disability and gender.

The staff survey is run by the Cabinet Office each year across all Whitehall departments. Almost 70 per cent of DH civil servants (1,445 employees) responded.

A DH spokeswoman told HSJ it was not complacent and was taking the findings of the survey seriously.

While it found an overall positive engagement score for the DH - almost 90 per cent of staff said they were interested in their work and 81 per cent felt challenged by it - the survey also had a number of negative scores.

In addition to the 24 per cent of staff wanting to leave the department within a year and fears over raising concerns, 40 per cent said change was not managed well in the department.

More than 20 per cent disagreed that the DH motivated them or inspired them in their work while nearly a quarter disagreed that managers were held accountable for value for money resulting from their decisions.

On pay, almost half of the DH civil servants, 45 per cent, disagreed that their pay adequately reflected their performance. The same amount disagreed that their pay was reasonable compared to people doing a similar job in other organisations.

A DH spokeswoman said: “Overall, the survey results show a positive reflection of what it is like to work at the DH.

“But we are not complacent. We carry out this survey annually so we can listen to staff opinions, and we take the findings very seriously so we can make positive changes to the culture of the department.”