After the criticism directed at the Northern Ireland civil service in the report into the RHI scandal, comes another damning indictment of how it works.
Between 2015 and 2019, 4,000 staff took redundancy in a programme aimed at streamlining and reforming the civil service. But, according to the NI Audit Office, it has caused more problems than it solved.
Spending on agency staff rose by 155% in the three years to March 2019 with the bill running at £45m a year. Indeed some temporary staff have been kept on for years to plug holes in the system. The Audit Office points the finger of blame at the recruitment process which it says does little to reassure that the right people are placed in the right posts and the assessment of the efficacy of staff is also open to question.
Given its vital position in life here it is disgraceful that the civil service is so roundly criticised and the usual response of lessons will be learned do not wash any longer. It is clear from this and previous reports that the lessons of the past have been ignored.