The incredible shrinking civil service

The provincial government has launched a second round of "workforce adjustments" as a result of "significant budget challenges in the coming 2010/11 fiscal year." In a message sent to civil servants this morning and obtained by Public Eye, the premier's deputy minister Allan Seckel announced 233 employees at the ministries of citizens' services and forests and range will be impacted. Mr. Seckel also stated "further workforce adjustment may be required" in the future. "But we are continuing our commitment to keep the overall impact on staff to less than five per cent of our workforce over three years." One hundred and six employees left government as a result of its first round of workforce adjustments. The following is a complete copy of that email.

From: Seckel, Allan
Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 8:33 AM
Subject: A Message from Allan Seckel

Good morning.

Last September, in response to the budget pressures faced by government in the 2009/10 fiscal year, we initiated a formal workforce adjustment process that involved 203 regular and auxiliary employees. We took that step only after an intensive effort to reduce the need for staff reductions as much as possible. Our ability to continue to manage through attrition, limits on external hiring, and matching employees to vacancies elsewhere in government meant that, in the end, of the 203 originally impacted in September, 106 employees left the BC Public Service.

While that process is now complete and the economy shows signs of improvement, government continues to face significant budget challenges in the coming 2010/11 fiscal year. As a result, today we are initiating a second round of workforce adjustment that involves a total of 233 employees within the Ministry of Citizens' Services and the Ministry of Forests and Range. The majority of these impacts involve staff within Shared Services BC, which is proceeding with a transformation designed to provide more effective and efficient service. Go to the @Work intranet for more information on this transformation.

Impacted employees within these two ministries will receive additional information from their executives about these adjustments. This will include information on the support that will be provided to them by their ministries and by the BC Public Service Agency as they work to help all concerned through this difficult time.

As we all prepare to manage into another challenging fiscal year, further workforce adjustment may be required. But we are continuing our commitment to keep the overall impact on staff to less than five per cent of our workforce over three years. Corporately, we continue to strictly limit external hiring and promote internal mobility and redeployments. I can assure you that all ministries are making every effort to minimize the potential for further reductions.

Should there be additional workforce adjustment, you can expect to receive further timely and accurate communication from me and your ministry executives. If you have questions about how any of this affects you and your ministry, I encourage you to raise those with your executive.

I know this second round of workforce adjustment creates renewed uncertainty for many of you. There is no denying that these are difficult times that continue to test us as an organization. It can be stressful. Let's be aware of how each of us is reacting to these challenges and reach out and help each other through these changes.

As we continue to work through these uncertain times I want to express again the shared thought of all deputy ministers that we greatly appreciate your continued professionalism and dedication to meeting the needs of the people and province of British Columbia.

Allan Seckel
Deputy Minister to the Premier and
Head of the BC Public Service

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