Prospect response to Dominic Cummings job advert

3 January 2020

Prospect has called for an ‘open debate’ about the civil service in response to a job advert for government officials posted by the Prime Minister’s chief advisor, Dominic Cummings, on his own personal blog.

The advert, which has received widespread coverage, argued that there are “profound problems” in the civil service and encouraged applications from “weirdos and misfits with odd skills”.

Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of Prospect said:

“Cummings’ recent comments in his blog are more redolent of how you would seek to recruit to an insurgency or sect. Perhaps that was his intention – the arch disruptor.

“Government is more complex though; it demands both continuity and change. Evidence-based policy, not policy-based evidence. The confidence to speak truth to power and to challenge political orthodoxy. That does demand challenge to the status quo and new ways of thinking and doing. But it also demands rigour, stability and robustness. It is not just political reputations at risk, but in a very real sense people’s lives.

“If Cummings intention was not just to provoke, but to prompt debate and discussion, let’s have that debate, but let’s also talk about pay and resourcing and how we build the public services citizens want and deserve.

“Prospect members are the doers as well as the thinkers in Government, dealing with the biggest of issues climate change, defence in a changing world, agriculture and the environment post- Brexit.

“Let’s have the debate in an open way. As ever, Prospect and our members will step up to the plate.”