This bulletin contains detailed public sector employment estimates for Q2 2011. The public sector comprises central government, local government and public corporations as defined for the UK National Accounts.
|Quarter||Central government (incl. NHS)||Local government||Public corporations||Total public sector||Of which: Civil Service 1|
|Change on quarter||-47||-57||-7||-111||-24|
|Change on year||-66||-145||-29||-240||-33|
Total public sector employment was 6.037 million in the second quarter of 2011, a decrease of 111,000 (1.8 per cent) compared with the previous quarter. Employment in local government decreased by 57,000 (2.0 per cent) to 2.767 million, while employment in central government decreased by 47,000 (1.7 per cent) to 2.756 million.
Employment in public corporations decreased by 7,000 (1.3 per cent) to 514,000. In Q2 2011, employment in the Civil Service in Great Britain decreased by 24,000 (4.7 per cent) to 489,000.
The number of people in public sector employment was 6.037 million at Q2 2011, down 111,000 from Q1 2011. The estimate for Q1 2011 includes 15,000 people employed on a temporary basis in connection with the 2011 Census, but there were only 1,000 people employed in these temporary jobs at Q2 2011. Excluding people employed in temporary Census posts, the fall in public sector employment between Q1 and Q2 2011 was 97,000.
Compared with the previous year, there was a decrease of 240,000 (3.8 per cent) in public sector employment. The largest decrease was in local government (145,000; 5.0 per cent), followed by central government, which decreased by 66,000 (2.3 per cent).
When public sector employment is analysed by industry (Standard Industrial Classification 2007), the largest decrease in the second quarter 2011, compared with the first quarter 2011, was in public administration (43,000; 3.7 per cent).
The National Health Service (26,000; 1.6 per cent), education (16,000; 1.0 per cent), other public sector (14,000; 1.6 per cent), other health and social work (7,000; 1.9 per cent), Police (4,000; 1.4 per cent) and construction (1,000; 2.3 per cent) all showed decreases in employment between Q1 2011 and Q2 2011. HM Forces showed no change in employment.
Table 3 provides full-time equivalent (FTE) estimates by sector classification while Table 4 provides estimates by industry.
Total public sector employment on a FTE basis was 4.908 million in the second quarter 2011. Public sector employment on a FTE basis decreased by 86,000 (1.7 per cent) compared with Q1 2011, driven by a decrease in local government of 42,000 (2.0 per cent). Employment in central government decreased by 33,000 (1.4 per cent) and employment in public corporations decreased by 11,000 (2.3 per cent). In Q2 2011 the number of FTE employees in the Civil Service in Great Britain stood at 453,000, a decrease of 18,000 (3.8 per cent) compared with the previous quarter.
By industry, the largest decrease in Q2 2011 was in public administration (32,000, 3.3 per cent). There were no increases for employment by industry on a FTE basis.
Private sector employment totals are derived as the difference between Labour Force Survey employment estimates for the whole economy and the public sector estimates collected from public sector organisations.
Private sector employment increased by 41,000 to 23.132 million in the second quarter of 2011. Employment in the public sector decreased by 111,000 (1.8 per cent). In the second quarter 2011, the public sector accounted for 20.7 per cent of total employment in the UK, down from 21.0 per cent at Q1 2011.
This is the first time that growth in the private sector has not offset the decrease in employment in the public sector on a quarterly basis since Q3 2010.
Compared with Q2 2010, private sector employment has increased by 264,000, while public sector employment has decreased by 240,000.
London is the region with the largest number of public sector employees (791,000) followed by the South East (687,000), the North West (686,000) and Scotland (595,000).
Compared with the same quarter a year ago, there were decreases in public sector employment for all English regions. The largest decreases were in London (36,000; 4.4 per cent), South West (32,000; 5.9 per cent), North West (31,000; 4.3 per cent) and South East (22,000; 3.1 per cent)
England (195,000; 3.9 per cent), Scotland (25,000; 4.1 per cent), Wales (10,000; 2.9 per cent) and Northern Ireland (4,000; 1.8 per cent) all showed a decrease in public sector employment in the year to Q2 2011.
In the year to Q2 2011, public sector employment in Great Britain decreased by 230,000 (3.8 per cent) as did total public sector employment in the United Kingdom (240,000; 3.8 per cent (seasonally adjusted).
In the second quarter of 2011, Northern Ireland (28.5 per cent); Wales (25.8 per cent), the North East (25.2 per cent) and Scotland (25.0 per cent) had the highest proportion of their workforce employed in the public sector. The areas of the UK with the lowest proportion of their workforce in the public sector were the East of England (17.4 per cent); South East (17.4 per cent); London (18.7 per cent), East Midlands (19.3 per cent); South West (20.4 per cent) and West Midlands (21.4 per cent).
Table 7 provides estimates of public sector employment excluding publicly owned financial corporations, for example, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Lloyds Banking Group. Public sector employment (excluding financial corporations) at Q2 2011, decreased by 105,000 (1.8 per cent) compared with the previous quarter, and by 228,000 (3.8 per cent) compared with the same quarter a year ago. At Q2 2011, publicly owned financial corporations accounted for 3.4 per cent of total public sector employment.
The number of employees in the Civil Service decreased by 24,880 (4.8 per cent) to 488,570, compared with the previous quarter and on a full-time equivalent (FTE) basis by 18,170 (3.9 per cent) to 452,560. However, it is important to note that this decrease includes 14,000 people employed in Q1 2011, on a temporary basis, to undertake the 2011 Census, who left before Q2 2011.
In the second quarter of 2011, the only department showing a notable increase in employment (on a FTE basis) was HM Revenue and Customs (720 headcount; 560 FTE). Excluding the loss of Census employees the largest decreases in employment were recorded by the Department for Work and Pensions (3,940 headcount; 3,880 FTE), Ministry of Justice (2,190 headcount; 2,150 FTE) and Ministry of Defence (1,410 headcount; 1,400 FTE).
Table 9 provides a more detailed breakdown of Civil Service employment by department.
For the first time ONS has produced estimates of employment by Executive Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs). Employment in Executive NDPBs decreased by 3,080 compared with the previous quarter.
Basic Quality Information
In 2005 the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in collaboration with other government departments and the devolved administrations implemented major improvements to public sector employment (PSE) estimates. Standard definitions for public sector employment across all departmental statistics were agreed and a single definitive set of quarterly PSE estimates introduced. A new Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES) was established. ONS publishes official PSE estimates each quarter, as National Statistics in the form of a Statistical Bulletin, approximately 11 weeks after the period to which they refer.
A Summary Quality Report for Public Sector Employment can be found at:
This report describes, in detail, the intended uses of the statistics presented in this publication, their general quality and the methods used to produce them.
Relevance to Users
The public sector comprises central government, local government and public corporations as defined for the UK National Accounts. ONS produces the United Kingdom’s National Accounts. The National Accounts are an internationally comparable accounting framework that describes the activities in a national economy. The relevant international manuals are the System of National Accounts 1993(SNA93) and the European System of Accounts 1995 (ESA95). As part of the process of producing the National Accounts, ONS decides on the classification of institutions and transactions within the economy. The current UK classification process is described here:
The Sector Classifications Guide (MA23) provides information on the classification of organisations and institutions in the National Accounts:
The public sector employment estimates relate to the number of people employed according to returns from relevant organisations, but they include a number of workers with a second job in the public sector whose main job is in the private sector or in a separate public sector organisation. The private sector estimate, which is obtained by taking the difference between the Labour Force Survey estimate of people employed in the whole economy and the public sector total, will thus tend to be correspondingly understated by a small percentage.
Headcount estimates are based on the number of employees with an employment contract who are being paid by the organisation. Employees can be permanent, on a fixed-term contract or employed on a casual basis. Self-employed, contract workers and agency workers are excluded.
Permanent employees, as defined in Table 8, are employees with a contract with no agreed expiry date or a fixed term contract of more than 12 months. Temporary/casual employees are those with a fixed term contract of twelve months or less or employed on a casual basis.
As well as the headcount estimates, estimates have also been produced for the number of employees in full-time equivalents (FTE) back to 1999. This is based on converting part-time employees’ hours into a full-time employees’ equivalent and provides a better indication of total labour input than a simple headcount.
Common Pitfalls in Interpreting Series
Estimates of public sector employment for Q1 2011 to Q2 2011 are based partly on projections for some sources. As part of the development programme to improve the quality of public sector employment estimates, public sector organisations are working towards the production of timely quarterly estimates. Until this development programme is completed, there remains a requirement to include estimates for certain sources:
Police (including civilians) workforce estimates for England and Wales are published every six months (for two quarters) by the Home Office.
NHS workforce statistics for England are derived from a pay system which covers all but 2 of the over 400 English NHS organisations. This produces very good estimates of staff numbers. Figures for the 2 other organisations are estimated based on annual NHS Workforce Census figures. This new source of estimates will reduce the need to revise estimates in the future.
The Home Office has provided estimates for the Police in England and Wales. These estimates are based on projections and may be subject to revision.
Public sector employment statistics have previously been published for periods up to and including Q1 2011. In line with the published revisions policy for public sector employment statistics:
http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pse/public-sector-employment/public-sector-employment/public-sector-employment-statistics-revisions-policy.pdf the statistics have been revised to take account of late information for respondents and seasonal adjustment updates.
Tables 1R to 5R illustrate the size of the revisions in each category.
Concepts and Definitions
Central government includes all administrative departments of government and other central agencies and non-departmental public bodies, as such it is wider than the ‘Civil Service’. This sector also includes HM Forces and the National Health Service (NHS). Within education, Academies are classified to central government. From 1 April 2005, central government includes the former Magistrates' Courts Service which has been brought together with the Court Service to form Her Majesty's Courts Service. The Magistrates' Courts Service was previously classified to local government.
Local government covers those types of public administration that only cover a locality and any bodies controlled and mainly financed by them. The sub-sector includes all areas of administrative authorities including parish councils, though these units are not covered by the current estimates for local authorities. It includes police forces and their civilian staff. All functions of local authorities are classified to the sub-sector, although trading activities that produce market output (for example, housing and municipally owned markets) are regarded as quasi-corporations and appear under public corporations. Local education authorities are part of local government, as are voluntary aided schools, county schools and, from September 1999, foundation schools (formerly grant-maintained).
Public corporations are companies or quasi-corporations controlled by government. Examples include Royal Mail and London Underground Ltd. These companies receive more than half their income from sales of goods or services into the market place (see background note 8 for details about financial institutions, for example Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland Group, classified to the public sector).
The estimates of Civil Service employees count all home Civil Service employees (including from 1 April 2005 the employees of the former Magistrates' Courts Service). Civil Service employees can be classified to central government or public corporations. Examples of public corporations include the UK Intellectual Property Office and the Driving Standards Agency. Civil Service estimates exclude the Northern Ireland Civil Service and other Crown servants. Employees in these groups are included in estimates of central government employment.
Response rates: PSE statistics are compiled from a range of sources. The primary source is the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES). The QPSES comprises three separate data collections; the home Civil Service, Local Authorities in England and Wales and Great Britain public corporations and Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs). Returned questionnaires go through a series of automated validation tests to check for completeness and consistency and to identify any significant movements compared with the previous period reported (and the same period the previous year). The automated checks are followed up with respondents where errors are detected or further explanation is required. The target is to clear 95 per cent of test failures prior to processing results. ONS targets for response to each of the three surveys ahead of compiling results are 85 per cent (number of respondents) and 90 per cent (of total employment). In addition, each survey has a list of critical respondents (usually those with the largest employment) for which special efforts are made to achieve 100 per cent response and clearance of test failures.
|Response (per cent of questionnaires returned)||Response (per cent of employment)|
|Local Authorities Survey||92||94|
|Public Bodies Survey||88||96|
|Civil Service Survey||100||100|
|Other Sources (see below)||100||100|
Data for non-responders are imputed based on previous returns and known annual changes in seasonality. It is extremely rare for a Local Authority, Public Body or Civil Service department to non-respond for two consecutive quarters. The data collection is statutory for Local Authorities and Public Bodies (Statistics of Trade Act 1947) and positive action is taken to address non-response issues as and when they occur.
So that estimates of total public sector employment can be made it is necessary for further information to be gathered from external sources.
|HM Forces||UK||MoD: DASA|
|National Health Service||England||Information Centre for Health and Social Care (IC)|
|Northern Ireland||Department of Finance and Personnel|
|Other Central Government||Great Britain||Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (ONS); Probation Service and Police Strength|
|Northern Ireland||Department of Finance and Personnel|
|Local Authorities||England and Wales||Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (ONS)|
|Scotland||Joint Staffing Watch (Scottish Government)|
|Northern Ireland||Department of Finance and Personnel|
|Police (including civilians)||England and Wales||Home Office|
|Scotland||Joint Staffing Watch (Scottish Government)|
|Northern Ireland||Department of Finance and Personnel|
|Great Britain||Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (ONS)|
|Northern Ireland||Department of Finance and Personnel|
ONS is now able to produce regional estimates of PSE based on returns from public sector organisations (Table 6). These supersede those produced using the Labour Force Survey (LFS) which previously had been used in conjunction with national PSE estimates to produce estimates by region.
Statistics for the NHS for England for Q4 2007 onwards are partly based on projections and informed modelled estimates have been supplied by the Information Centre for health and social care. These estimates may be revised following the publication of the annual NHS workforce statistics.
Statistics for the Police (including civilians) for Q4 2007 onwards for England and Wales are based partly on projections supplied by the Home Office. These estimates may be revised following the publication of the latest Home Office statistics.
Due to ongoing validation of data from the new HM Forces Personnel Administration System, figures for 2007 Q2 onwards are provisional and subject to review.
On 13 October 2010, ONS announced the re-classification of most sixth form colleges to the public sector. An article providing further information is available at:
ONS plans to take on Sixth Form college estimates in full as part of the scheduled Q3 2011 (December) release.
As part of the Q3 statistical bulletin, as per the revisions policy for public sector employment statistics, revisions will be taken back to the start of the time-series. These revisions will take account of late information, updates to seasonal factors, classification changes and re-referencing of survey estimates.
The estimates of public sector employment in education (SIC division 85) differ from the school workforce estimates published by the Department for Education (DfE) (formerly Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF)) mainly as a result of differences in coverage and data sources. DfE estimates focus on the number of FTE teachers and support staff in the maintained school sector for England only. By comparison, the ONS estimates are derived by allocating local authority employees to education using the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) and the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES) in England and Wales. Estimates include all employees reported by local authorities as working in primary, secondary and adult education establishments including some groups who are not covered by the DfE statistics, such as adult education staff and certain categories of support staff. Employment in education in Scotland and Northern Ireland are also included to give a wider UK coverage. The different coverage of the ONS and DfE education statistics serve the needs of different users. Those who require information on the workforce in England who are directly involved in pupils' teaching and learning should use DfE published statistics. Users should also refer to DfE published statistics to gauge trends in education employment. Those who seek data on UK public sector employment in education, in its widest sense, should use the ONS data in this release. For further information on the differences between DfE and ONS data on education please see pages 44 to 46 of the Public Sector Employment Trends 2005 article published in October 2005: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pse/public-sector-employment/public-sector-employment/public-sector-employment-trends-2005.pdf
ONS estimates for the NHS also differ from the headline figure produced by the Information Centre for health and social care (IC). Again, this reflects the wider UK coverage (IC figures are for England only) plus the exclusion by ONS of general practitioners (GPs). ONS, in accordance with National Accounts practice, classifies GPs as part of the private sector. ONS also include ‘hospital practitioners and clinical assistants’ who work in hospitals on a salaried pay scale but generally work as GPs leading the Information Centre to exclude them from their totals to avoid double counting. When these factors are allowed for, ONS and NHS data can be shown to be identical.
Sector classification and machinery of government changes in the period since 30 June 2010 are listed here:
|HM Land Registry||On 18 July 2011, HM Land Registry moved from the Ministry of Justice to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. This change will be seen in the Q3 2011 publication, released in December 2011.|
|The Met Office||On 18 July 2011, the Met Office moved from the Ministry of Defence to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. This change will be seen in the Q3 2011 publication, released in December 2011.|
|Ordnance Survey||On 18 July 2011, Ordnance Survey moved from the Department for Communities and Local Government to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. This change will be seen in the Q3 2011 publication, released in December 2011.|
|Scottish Education Quality Inspection Authority (SEQIA)||HM Inspectorate of Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) merged to form the Scottish Education Quality Inspection Agency (SEQIA). The new organisation is a Scottish Government Agency and came into existence on 1 July 2011. This change will be seen in the Q3 2011 publication, released in December 2011.|
|Buying Solutions||In June 2011, Buying Solutions had a change of name and is now known as the Government Procurement Service.|
|National School for Government||On 1 April 2011, NSG reverted back to being part of the Cabinet Office. This increased the Cabinet Office headcount. The new learning organisation ‘Civil Service Learning’ was expected to be live by 1 April 2011. However, recruitment to the organisation is currently on hold whilst work to define the core curriculum takes place.|
|UK Space Agency||The UK Space Agency was launched officially on 23 March 2010 and became an executive agency of Business Innovation and Skills from 1 April 2011.|
|Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS)||On 1 April 2011, the Social Work Inspection Agency (SWIA) and the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care merged to form the Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS). The new organisation is an NDPB, staff are public servants.|
|Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS)||On 1 April 2011, Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) and the Tribunals Service merged to form Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).|
|Government Equalities Office||On 1 April 2011 the Government Equalities Office became part of the Home Office.|
|Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency||On 1 April 2011, Animal Health merged with the Veterinary Laboratories Agency to form the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.|
|National Records of Scotland (NRS)||From 1 April 2011, the General Register Office for Scotland merged with the National Archives of Scotland to become the National Records of Scotland (NRS).|
|Scottish Government / General Register of Scotland||Census field staff are included from Q3 2010.|
|UK Statistics Authority||Census field staff are included from Q2 2010.|
|The Scottish Law Commission||From Q2 2010, Scottish Law Commission is included in Public Bodies statistics. This return was previously reported within Civil Service.|
|Ministry of Justice||In Q4 2010, due to structural changes within MoJ, 1,270 staff moved from the National Offender Management Service into MoJ HQ.|
|The Civil Service Commission||The Civil Service Commission is a new Executive NDPB, established under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The body formally came into existence on 11 November 2010 and staff are reported within the Cabinet Office from Q4 2010.|
|Eurostar International Ltd||Up until September 2010 Eurostar International Ltd was classified in the UK National Accounts as a public non-financial corporation. Following a restructuring of the company, the majority of the shares are now foreign owned by French rail operator SNCF and Belgian rail operator SNCG meaning that Eurostar International Ltd is reclassified as a foreign controlled non-financial corporation as of September 2010. Eurostar International Ltd was removed from Public Sector Employment estimates from Q2 2011.|
|Directgov (now Cabinet Office)||On 20 July 2010, Directgov transferred from Department for Work and Pensions to Cabinet Office and staff transferred to Cabinet Office payroll in February 2011.|
|Creative Scotland||Creative Scotland was formed on 1 July 2010, a new executive NDPB assuming the functions of Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen.|
Financial Institutions Classified to the Public Sector
On 19 February 2009, ONS announced the classification of Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Lloyds Banking Group as public corporations from 13 October 2008. To facilitate analyses of public sector employment estimates by users, the following time-series has been created to demonstrate the full impact of recent financial corporations’ classifications to the public sector (based on Standard Industrial Classification 2007, industry 64 (Financial Intermediation).
* Bank of England classified as a public financial corporation on 7 February 2008 from its inception (1946). Northern Rock classified as a public financial corporation from 9 October 2007.
** Bradford and Bingley plc classified as a public financial corporation from 26 September 2008.
*** Lloyds Banking Group classified as a public financial corporation from 13 October 2008. Royal Bank of Scotland Group classified as a public financial corporation from 13 October 2008.
Further Education Colleges
On 13 October 2010, ONS announced the re-classification of Further Education colleges to the public sector. ONS, as part of the Q4 2010 publication, has taken on employment estimates for Further Education colleges back to 1993 or their inception if later.
The Census is a count of the population in the UK. It takes place every 10 years and asks everyone the same questions to give a complete picture of the nation. This information is used to estimate the likely number of people and households in each area for the next 10 years. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) designs, manages and runs the census in England and Wales. The General Register Office Scotland (GROS) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) are responsible for the census in Scotland and Northern Ireland. All three agreed to conduct their 2011 censuses on the same day (27 March 2011) in order to produce consistent and coherent information that covers the whole of the UK. The Census generated approximately 40,000 temporary public sector jobs across the UK, covering a range of part-time and full-time roles.
Non-Departmental Public Bodies
As part of the Q2 2011 Public Sector Employment statistical bulletin, ONS has published a table detailing employment in Non-Departmental Public Bodies by their sponsoring government department. This table does not detail employment at an individual Non-Departmental Public Body level. ONS are working with Non-Departmental Public Bodies to gain consent to publish their individual returns to the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES) on the National Statistics website.
The complete run of data in the tables of this statistical bulletin is also available to view and download in other electronic formats free of charge using the ONS Time Series Data website service. Users can download the complete release in a choice of zipped formats, or view and download their own selections of individual series. The Time Series Data service can be accessed at:
ONS launched its new website on 27 August 2011, postponed from the original date of 30 April 2011. The new website improves the way users can access our statistics but many existing bookmarks and links will no longer work and users will need to update them. Find out more at
Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the press office. A list of those given pre-publication access to the contents of this release is available by following this link:
National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from political interference.
© Crown Copyright 2011
Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: email@example.com
These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
|Emily Carless||+44 (0)1633 455717||Labour Market Divisionfirstname.lastname@example.org|