Skip to main content

Building an Ambitious Civil Service

two women talking

A Modern Civil Service is our vision of a skilled, innovative and ambitious organisation equipped for the future. We've discussed what we mean by skilled and innovative, but what does ‘building an Ambitious Civil Service’ mean?

Almost everyone has heard about successful but complex public events like the Commonwealth Games or the King’s Coronation that the civil service has helped deliver. Civil servants have proved themselves efficient and resourceful during the late Queen’s lying-in-state Westminster Hall, supported by DCMS Digital’s ground-breaking livestream tracker to help manage the five mile queue. 

All these projects are fantastic examples of an ambitious civil service. An Ambitious Civil Service is one that achieves excellence in delivering service to the public. It strives for collaboration and outstanding project delivery. 

How are we achieving this goal?

We want to make it easier for the Civil Service to work as one on delivering our core priorities. This means working together and making sure that every civil servant, whether they are frontline staff, digital and data experts or policy professionals, contributes to the delivery of these priorities. It is particularly important as the operational delivery profession makes up over half of all civil servants. 

We are already doing a lot of work that will help us achieve this goal. For example: 

  • £15m of funding has been provided for the Evaluation Accelerator Fund to understand “what works” in priority policy areas. A total of 20 programmes have already been selected for funding, receiving a combined total of £13.5m.
  • The Managing Projects and Leading Workstreams programme is aimed at Project Delivery colleagues at HEO to G7 level who are demonstrating potential to become our project leaders of the future. It supports participants to develop and deploy government best practice, knowledge, skills and behaviours to deliver successfully.
  • The Project Delivery Portal in the Department for Transport, provides a single source of project delivery information to support colleagues involved in the delivery of projects and programmes. It brings together guidance, news, learning and development, events, and lots more to help build project delivery capability across the department. 
  • Nearly 250 project delivery professionals have received training in key areas and specialist skills gaps across the Department for Education in this year alone, ensuring that they have the necessary capability and skills to deliver their highest priority programmes.

What’s on the horizon?

people working on laptops

Through reform we want to make sure that civil servants have the opportunities for collaboration, and easier exchange of information, to help them deliver their projects.There are many exciting projects on the horizon, including:

  • We will make IT systems between departments more compatible by ensuring that 90% of central departments and non-ministerial depts have enabled the Microsoft 365 Collaboration Blueprint by September 2024.
  • A new digitised system will create a simpler and faster way to move civil servants between organisations. This will reduce the time taken to transfer staff, safeguard security and privacy, improving the employee experience and minimise payment errors.
  • We will accredit 2,000 project delivery professionals including one third of major project leaders. Over 800 people are already accredited at Foundation, Practitioner, Senior Practitioner or Master Practitioner level.
  • We will provide £215m this spending review period to encourage cross-departmental working on innovative projects and the use of evaluation in Government.
  •  £37.5 million has been made available to the Labour Markets Evaluation and Pilots Fund, facilitating departments to trial new and innovative policies and build the evidence base for labour market interventions that have the potential to be scaled at a national level.
  • We will boost operational delivery across government by creating a centre of excellence and embedding standards for operational delivery staff, backed up by a programme of improved professional development.
  • We will implement a project delivery Benchmarking Hub, giving project delivery professionals access to a bank of project data to help them better understand value for money.

As a civil servant, what can I do to help?

  • Have you signed up to your profession
  • Have a look at the Government Campus to see what learning and development is available for you in your role.
  • Learn more by attending Civil Service Live - a range of sessions are focused on being an Ambitious Civil Service.
  • Read examples of ambitious civil service across departments and professions by regularly checking our blog.

Sharing and comments

Share this page

Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person

By submitting a comment you understand it may be published on this public website. Please read our privacy notice to see how the GOV.UK blogging platform handles your information.