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Civil Service voluntary job reduction less than 3,000

Published 08/04/2016

I refer to the article headlined 'Civil Service lifts embargo on recruitment and promotion', which was published in your newspaper on April 7.

Specifically, I wish to correct the factually inaccurate statement: "There were initial fears that the VES (voluntary exit scheme) could result in the shedding of 20,000 jobs. That figure appears to come out at considerably less, resting at just under the 3,000 mark."

For the avoidance of any doubt, the 20,000 job figure related to an estimate of the reduction in jobs across the Northern Ireland public sector as a whole, of which the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) is only one part.

The NICS, which accounts for approximately 15% of the employees of the Northern Ireland public sector, will, in fact, reduce its headcount by 2,990 via its own voluntary exit scheme, which is now closed to further offers.

It is, therefore, misleading for the Belfast Telegraph to compare the 20,000 and 3,000 figures in the manner it does in the article.

The article is also selective in quoting from Dr Malcolm McKibbin's communique. Critically, that communique also made it clear that, in lifting the embargo, the NICS would continue to control recruitment and promotion to ensure the pay bill savings achieved via the voluntary exit scheme would not be eroded.

COLIN LEWIS

Deputy secretary, Department of Finance & Personnel

Belfast Telegraph

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