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The Sunday Times 15.05.2016. Reproduced here with kind permission of The Sunday Times newspaper.


Over the past 10 years or so, civil service and local authority staffing levels have been dramatically reduced. Those who retired have not been replaced, and other employees have left for the private sector or have taken early retirement because they were unhappy with pay cuts and changes to their contracts.

The results have been mixed. No doubt money has been saved through reduced state pay and some of the employees who left might have been of limited value in the first place. Workloads have increased for those left behind, but there have also been costs that show not all skills can be put on a balance sheet. The most significant of these has been the loss of institutional memory.