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FOCUS: Measuring the mood in Government

FOCUS: Measuring the mood in Government

Friday 10 September 2021

FOCUS: Measuring the mood in Government

Friday 10 September 2021

Unfiltered results from a Government staff survey obtained by Express have revealed low confidence in leaders, middling support for the ‘OneGov’ programme, intimidation in some departments and stark divides in views between those on the corporate side and workers on the front line of ‘Team Jersey'.

The 'Be Heard' survey, which ran between July and September last year, aimed to assess public sector workers' attitudes to their work and leaders in the wake of the largest shake-up to civil service structure in living memory, instigated by former CEO Charlie Parker.

It focused on eight factors of engagement from managers to leadership, the Government as a whole to personal growth, relationships with colleagues and wellbeing.

The survey included 70 statements, which employees were asked to assess on a 0 to 7 scale, with 7 being the most positive.


Pictured: The survey included 70 statements across eight different themes.

The results were then compiled in ‘heatmaps’ which aim to show the response patterns and how many people responded at each point of the Strongly Positive to Strongly Negative scale.

Results for each department were initially compiled into a single document and released to the public in March.

In an accompanying press release, the Government spoke of how 53% of staff felt "emotionally connected to the organisation", of employees who understood the purpose of the £3.5m Team Jersey culture change programme and had seen "positive change" from it, and said that "where staff have seen the benefits of a more coordinated approach to delivering services, they support the OneGov vision for the organisation."

Some necessary wellbeing improvements were noted, but it was stated that these were already in hand.

The Government initially declined to release individual department results of the survey, but finally released them on Wednesday in response to a petition under the Freedom of Information Law from Express

Assessed individually, the results for each department paint a rather different picture - with some departments' workforces displaying signs of fatigue and dismay at the current state of their organisation.

Express took an in-depth look at them...

How many individuals took part?


Pictured: Health had the lowest participation rate of all departments.

2,793 out of the 5,327 civil servants eligible took part in the Be Heard survey, an overall response rate of 56%.

Health and Community Services (HCS) had the lowest participation rate with only 43% of the workforce taking part, whilst Customer and Local Services (CLS) had the highest response rate with 83%.

In terms of engagement, the Law Officers’ Department had the highest score with 66% whilst HCS again were at the bottom of the table with 46%. HCS also had the highest proportion of employees feeling highly anxious with 16%.

Meanwhile, Strategic Policy, Planning and Procedure (SPPP) had the highest proportion of ‘anxious but active employees’, 23%.

Which areas scored the lowest?


Pictured: Leadership ranked the lowest in HCS.

Leadership received the lowest score with an average of 3.48 across all departments. For seven out of the 10 departments, it ranked lowest with scores between 2.78 in HCS and 3.80 in Treasury & Exchequer (T&E).

The highest score it received was within the Non-Executives and Legislature Department - a combination of the non-Ministerial Departments, such as the Law Officer's Department and States Greffe - where it however only scored 4.19.

Even within the Office of the Chief Executive, headed by the CEO and Chief Minister, leadership still only achieved a middling score with 3.96.

The survey results showed that, while the majority of Government employees feel the Government runs on “strong values and principles”, they do not believe the ‘leaders’ are living those values nor running the Government on “sound moral principles”.

In addition, several departments cast doubts over the leadership skills of the senior management team - in the Chief Operating Office (COO) they only scored 3.76.

Most staff said they did not feel inspired by the Chief Executive, a statement which only scored 2.96 in Justice and Home Affairs (JHA), which includes the emergency services, and even lower, 2.43, within Health.

The Office of the Chief Executive was the only department where employees expressed strong confidence about leadership skills with 4.34.

Most departments also reported how some individuals use intimidation to get what they want, although it is unclear by the formulation of the statement whether they believed this to be taking place within their own department or in higher levels. This scored the lowest within JHA (3.29) but a value was not recorded for HCS, COO or Infrastructure, Housing and Environment (IHE).


Which areas scored the highest?


Pictured: The Non-executives and Legislature Departments had the most positive feelings about the Government and their role within it.

‘My Company’, which invited employees’ views of the Government, how proud they are to work there and whether they feel they are making a difference scored the highest across Government with 5.04.

In eight of the 10 departments, it scored above five, with the highest score found in the Non-executives and Legislature Department with 5.46. The lowest score attributed to that section was found in HCS, with only 4.71.

Overall, the majority of employees feel their work is an important part of their life and that they can make a valuable contribution to the success of the Government, with both statements scoring over 5 in most departments.

However, they are not as many to say they love or are proud of working for the Government.

In addition, their positive feelings towards their work, some employees would leave tomorrow if they had another job. This is especially the case in HCS where the statement scored 3.82. Meanwhile in the non-executive departments, it scored 5, showing less appetite for leaving.


Which departments have the best managers?


Pictured: SPPP gave high scores to their managers.

Managers received the highest score in the Strategic Planning, Policy and Procedure (SPPP) with 5.07. Across all departments, they received fairly good scores with scores above 4.33, except in HCS where they only reached 3.96.

While the majority of employees felt their manager talks openly and honestly with them, cares about them as an individual or regularly expresses their appreciation, they were not as convinced that they are an “excellent role model” or that they motivate them to give their best every day.

Relationships with colleagues, however, scored higher than managers in all but the non-Ministerial departments. Results show that in all departments employees are happy with their team, with the item stating ‘My team is fun to work with’ scoring above 5 in all 10 departments.


Pictured: The Office of the Chief Executive was where employees reported the strongest sense of "family" (5.11).

In addition, 'employees care for each other and go out of their way to help each other' was a statement employees agreed with the most in CYPES (5.39) and non-executive departments (5.44).

The Office of the Chief Executive was where employees reported the strongest sense of "family" (5.11).

Answers from the survey highlighted that power struggles are having a negative impact in most departments, and especially so in HCS (3.37).

In SPPP however, employees mostly disagreed with the observation (5.27).


Which department is happiest?


Pictured: The LOD was an outlier in terms of wellbeing, consistently scoring more positively than departments with a Director General and political heads.

Across Government, wellbeing only received a score of 3.98, but it was the highest within the Law Officer’s Department (LOD), one of the non-Ministerial departments, where it achieved 4.64.

Employees within the department do not feel their health is suffering because of their work (5.17) and are happy with their work/life balance 5.02. Likewise, they are happy with their deadlines (4.75) and do not feel under too much pressure (5).

In all other departments, employees indicated they felt exhausted after work or spent too much time working – especially in HCS where those items scored 2.65 and 3.63 respectively. In the LOD, the statements scored 4.21 and 3.90.

In fact, the LOD was repeatedly an outlier, consistently scoring more positively than departments with a Director General and political heads.

The Attorney General welcomed the positive results, saying: “The Be Heard survey results revealed that the Law Officers’ Department is a happy place in which to work, with an employee engagement rating that is commensurate with an organisation with an outstanding commitment to workplace engagement.

“The survey results reinforced the findings of the Lexcel assessor who reported in her independent review for 2020/2021 that she found a ‘truly supportive team culture’ within the Law Officers’ Department. It is especially pleasing to have achieved these results during the difficult times of the pandemic.”

LOD employees also expressed the most satisfaction with their work (5.83) and the experience they are gaining through it (5.73). They were also more positive about the training they receive and its benefits (4.58) and their opportunities for growth (4.40) than in any other departments.


Pictured: Non-executive departments are the most please with their role, opportunities and training.

Most employees indicated they do not feel their training has any benefits to them, with the OCE expressing the less satisfaction with it (2.93).

Opportunities for growth ranked poorly in all departments, with only two scoring above 4 in SPPP and Treasury and Exchequer. HCS, OCE and COO seemed to offer the least opportunities for their employees, as the item ranked 3.23, 3.30 and 3.39 in those departments.

Overall, Government employees seemed to be happy with their roles, with a majority disagreeing with the statement ‘I am bored with the work I do’.

Despite reflecting more negative views in all other areas, HCS staff gave this statement 5.23, although it is only the fifth highest score and well below the top mark of 5.60, again in the non-executives and legislature.

The lowest score for the statement was seen in CLS with 4.84.

Employees in all departments also ranked the flexibility available to them in terms of working practices highly, with the majority of scores 6 and above.


How good is the Government's 'customer service'?


Pictured: CLS gave the highest score for the Government's customer service.

All employees were asked to answer a series of questions on how well they think the Government serves the public.

CLS and the non-executives/legislature gave the highest marks with 5.42 and 5.40 respectively, while COO gave the lowest with 4.50.

While most employees indicated support with the statement that Government is constantly seeking to improve its service and can be trusted by its customers, the results exposed some issues.

All departments indicated that delivering great service is not rewarded in Government, with the lowest mark for this item seen in HCS with 2.98. The highest score was in CYPES with 4.38.

Meanwhile, all departments also suggested that some people within Government do not understand what customers expect of it. This item only scored once above 4 with the lowest score, 2.94, in COO. All other scores were between 3.22 in HCS and 3.68 as in JHA and CYPES.


How successful have 'OneGov' and 'Team Jersey' been?


Pictured: Treasury and Exchequer understand the Team Jersey programme the best.

All employees were asked a series of questions about the One Gov and Team Jersey programmes.

The former was ex-CEO Charlie Parker’s project for ‘one government’, involving an unprecedented tearing up of the public sector structure, and the creation of seven new departments in a bid to save money and work more efficiently.

The latter was described as a 'culture change programme', and aimed to instil new corporate values in all employees and make them better at working together and feel proud of working for Government.

Employees seemed to understand the concept of Team Jersey more than they did the ‘OneGov’ vision, which ranked 4.07 against 4.5 for the former.

HCS has the least understanding over the programme (3.36) whilst T&E seems to have a better grasp of it (4.69).

Team Jersey did not seem to have fully convinced JHA, where it scored 3.87, but was better understood in T&E (4.94) and OCE (4.78).


Pictured: JHA is among the departments to have been the least impressed by the changes brought in by OneGov.

Employees’ answers show that Team Jersey was more successful than OneGov in terms of bringing benefits, with positive changes brought by each programme scoring 4.42 for the former and 3.8 for the latter.

JHA and HCS were the least impressed with the changes brought in by OneGov and gave them a mark of 3.10 and 3.19 respectively.

Meanwhile, the programme scored the highest in SPPP, 4.56, and CLS, 4.31.

Interestingly, JHA and HCS gave the highest grade to the changes brought in by Team Jersey, 4.79 and and 4.65 respectively. SPPP also ranked those 4.65.

Most employees expressed pride in working for the Government with scores ranging from 4.28 in HCS to 5.30 in non-executives in legislature, a result driven by LOD employees, who gave the item a score of 5.85.

However, the programme did not seem to have been successful in achieving its goal of improving cooperation between Government departments.


Pictured: There is still a long way to go for Government teams to work together, as CYPES' answers (above) and others departments' show.

The majority of employees agreed with a statement stipulating that ‘some departments/teams in this organisation don’t work well with each other’. All departments gave scores below 3.13, with the lowest score seen in COO. Results were not provided for HCS and IHE.

In addition, the majority of departments did not feel the Government takes enough initiative, with the majority agreeing with the idea that it is more reactive than proactive as an organisation.

The statement scored the lowest in COO (2.28) with its highest score just above average (3.54) in non executives/legislature. Results were not provided for HCS and IHE.

Express will be continuing to probe the Government's culture and HR processes next week...


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FOCUS: The sickness in the Health Department

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

Posted by Forza Danaos on
Another great job by B Express to crack the secrecy surrounding the survey.
Very concerning picture for Health - response rate of 43% is very low and likely biased. It is a bad sign when more than half of your employees are not even bothered answering your survey. Usually, the most disengaged employees don't take part in the surveys.
The response rate is a good indicator of how much the employees trust your internal feedback processes and subsequent action planning.
It is very concerning that even with this potentially biased, underrepresented sample of HCS responses - almost nobody is inspired by the person leading such important organisation, almost nobody feels that the senior managers are listening to them (lots of telling, not much listening), majority don't believe that HCS is led based on strong moral principles.
Average leadership score of 2.78 at HCS is like a strong vote of no confidence. Who wants to work for leaders like these?
Posted by IanSmith97 on
Their slogan - straight out of the David Brent Bumper Fun Book Of Management Speak - was, and I kid you not, “People At The Heart Of Everything We Do”.
Posted by Robert Gabriel on
In the end analysis Mr Parker was appointed to rationalise the States workforce and thus the States wage bill. Irrespective of whether he achieved that, or even came close, such drastic changes were never going to be popular. It’s those changes which have inevitably contributed to the current situation. If any blame needs apportioning for this mess it should be placed on the shoulder of those politicians who appointed him!
Posted by Aston Francis on
SoJ staff costs increased by 10% (£41M) in 2020 as compared with 2019.
Health and Community Services budget increased by 15% (£31M) in 2020 - partially driven by pandemic expenses. At the same time HCS received £10.6 million of additional funding for pay awards in 2020.
It is also about the quality of leaders and senior managers that Mr Parker brought with him or otherwise selected for top jobs especially at HCS. They did allow for the culture resulting in the above Be Heard results, in so many employees on long term sick leave due to stress, anxiety and depression, in so many dreaming of leaving their jobs.
Posted by Private Individual on
What about a referendum on the concerns of the public!

High costs for everything now, forced taxation because of a few people on a citizen climate panel whose personal opinions are being forced on the rest of us in the new climate taxes.

Our roads are falling apart, there is no milk in the shops most days when I venture out, and we are now importing sand for our overpriced grossly over-heated building industry!

What's not to like!
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