Recruiting civil servants efficiently?

One the NAO’s latest reports points to a small but significant area of inefficiency in Whitehall – recruitment:

  • [T]he NAO has found the internal staff costs of recruiting an individual vary from £556 to £1,921 per position. There is the potential to reduce these costs by up to 68 per cent, which could deliver savings in internal staff costs across government of up to £35 million a year, without compromising the quality of the candidates appointed (emphasis added).

Moreover the NAO found that:

  • There is little evidence that central government organizations systematically test the quality or effectiveness of their recruitment process.

One is tempted to wonder what Whitehall departments have been doing when they have been under immense pressure to make efficiency savings since 2004? They claim to have saved £26bn, but somehow this rather obvious area – though small – seems to have systematically slipped under the radar.

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