Survey exposes SFA staff ‘frustration at cuts’

Just one-in-three staff at the Skills Funding Agency believes change is managed well within the organisation, its own survey has discovered.

The 2012 people’s survey, completed by 1,114 civil servants at the agency between October 1 and 31, showed that 92 per cent were interested in their work.

However, dissatisfaction was covered in other areas of the annual survey with just one-in-four respondents agreeing that when changes were made, they were made for the better and just 36 per cent felt they had been given the opportunities to develop their career.

A spokesperson from the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), the public sector’s biggest union, said the high levels of dissatisfaction in areas around change showed the workforce was frustrated by government spending cuts.

“They [agency staff] do not believe that the changes being demanded by this government, largely driven by unnecessary cuts, are being made for the better,” he said.

“This is because, as the experts in their fields, they can see the damage being done to the services they provide.”

The spokesperson added: “Like in other areas of the civil service staff in the agency do not feel as valued as they should for the important work they do.”

The survey is a great way for us to benchmark and work on key strengths and any areas of improvement.”

Fewer than half respondents said they were inspired by the agency to “do the best” in their jobs with the same figure — 48 per cent — answering that they felt “motivated” to achieve the agency’s objectives.

A lack of control over underachievement still seems to be a problem with only 39 per cent saying they felt the agency dealt with poor performance in their team “effectively” — but this was a 7 per cent increase on last year’s results and 2 per cent higher than the average rate across the civil service.

Only 54 per cent felt their pay adequately reflected their performance and just 37 per cent of respondents felt they have the opportunity to contribute their views before decisions were made that affected them.

The survey, completed by 85 per cent of agency staff, showed overall a positive improvement from last year’s results and 59 per cent of those surveyed said they were satisfied with pay and benefits which was a staggering 29 per cent more than civil servants across the board.

Significant improvements seemed to be within accessing the right learning and development opportunities which was 14 per cent higher than last year and confidence in decisions taken by the agency’s senior managers which was 16 more positive than last year and 22 per cent higher than civil servants across the board.

A spokesperson for the SFA said it was only the second time the agency had taken part in the survey.

“It’s pleasing to see that we have already built on last year’s findings with positive and improved results,” she said.

“The survey is a great way for us to benchmark and work on key strengths and any areas of improvement.

“We strive to build on this year’s findings and we will take them forward, consulting with our employees and putting into place necessary action plans, so that we continue to see positive improved results next year.