Departure of Sir Mark Sedwill: FDA response
Responding to the departure of Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, FDA General Secretary Dave Penman yesterday said:
“Sir Mark Sedwill has been one of the outstanding public servants of his generation, serving the country’s interests at home and abroad as a diplomat, weapons inspector, permanent secretary and ultimately Cabinet Secretary. Whatever emerges as fact from the series of briefings that have sought to undermine Sir Mark’s position, this government will emerge weaker as a result.
“Inevitably Cabinet Secretaries come and go - that is the nature of the role. Prime Ministers need to feel supreme confidence in the civil servant who sits by their side at Cabinet. Inheriting rather than appointing a Cabinet Secretary can sometimes make that relationship difficult, as Sir Mark will have known when the new Prime Minister was elected last summer.
“If Sir Mark no longer has the confidence of the Prime Minister, for whatever reason, that is one thing. It can be dealt with in a grown-up way, finding a solution that suits both parties, rather than excluding someone who has dedicated their life to public service and has excelled at every role they’ve been asked to fill.
“Instead, No.10 - or those around it - has sought to undermine Sir Mark and the leadership of the civil service, with a series of anonymous briefings against him over many months. Not only is it a self-defeating and corrosive tactic, it’s also a cowardly one, safe in the knowledge that those who are briefed against are unable to publicly respond.
“How would any potential candidate for Cabinet Secretary judge their prospective employers, given how the current cadre of leaders has been treated by them?
“The danger here is that No.10 may have won this particular round of their power play, but at what cost? Running government and delivering public services requires the talent and enthusiasm of thousands of leaders and hundreds of thousands of committed public servants, all of whom look to ministers, and ultimately the Prime Minister, for leadership and inspiration. No CEO or Chair of a private company would act in this way and expect their organisation to thrive. A government that so publicly covets the best of the private sector on delivery could do with learning exactly what good leadership looks like: it certainly isn’t this.”
Notes for editors
- The FDA is the union for senior managers and professionals in public service, representing more than 18,000 members at grades HEO and above. Membership includes senior civil servants, government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across the Government and the NHS.
- The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".
- The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union. General Secretary Dave Penman tweets as @FDAGenSec.
- For more information contact:
- FDA Communications Officer Tommy Newell on 07738 729 145 or email@example.com
- FDA Communications Officer Scott Dobson on 07727 869 640 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- FDA Head of Communications Kay Hender on 07980 700 747 or email@example.com
Latest News from
Northern Ireland ministers “must ensure they do not put partisan interests ahead of effective government” says FDA25/09/2020 14:10:00
FDA National Officer Allan Sampson yesterday responded to the announcement that the First and Deputy First Ministers of Northern Ireland had failed to appoint a new head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
Welsh Government must revise funding to save our museums10/08/2020 12:25:00
The Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee has now published its report on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on heritage, museums and archives in Wales.
Welsh Government must act to ensure national treasures remain accessible to all, says FDA27/07/2020 10:20:00
The FDA has called on the Welsh Government to invest whatever is needed to protect Welsh national treasures and to ensure everyone in Wales continues to have access to their cultural history.
Parliament's restoration and renewal programme 'must not be derailed by political point scoring', says FDA17/07/2020 14:48:00
FDA National Officer for the House of Commons, Helen Kenny yesterday responded to reports that the Prime Minister has asked officials responsible for the restoration and renewal project to consider relocating Parliament to York.
'All we are asking is for the judiciary to follow government guidance'- FDA writes to the Lord Chief Justice14/07/2020 15:38:00
As the recognised union for prosecutors working in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the FDA has raised serious concerns with the Lord Chief Justice over the approach taken by some judges to applications from prosecutors to appear in court remotely.
Culture sector rescue package highlights failure of current funding models07/07/2020 12:25:00
The FDA represents staff working in museums and galleries across the UK.
FDA welcomes ‘historic moment for House of Commons’ as MPs put trust in independent process24/06/2020 16:20:00
FDA Assistant General Secretary Amy Leversidge yesterday responded to the House of Commons debate on establishing the new Independent Expert Panel to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment against MPs.
Response to DFID and FCO merger17/06/2020 12:25:00
FDA National Officer Allan Sampson yesterday responded to the announcement that the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are to merge
HM Courts and Tribunals Service is failing to ensure safety, says FDA15/06/2020 13:15:00
As the recognised representatives of prosecutors and managers in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the FDA has raised serious concerns with HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) about its approach to reopening courts across England and Wales.