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Editor's blog Friday 4 February 2011: DH staff survey makes for grim if unsurprising reading

Oh dear. Previously, DH has fared not-so-well in Cabinet Office capacity and capability reviews.

Their latest staff survey, dated Autumn 2010 and with a 67% response rate, is scarcely designed to inspire great confidence.

Which, on the face of it, is not surprising. The DH will be shedding significant staff over coming years, if it is to keep in line with SOS Lansley's intention to cut management costs by 1/3.

However, the process has not really started yet.

Getting so much better all the time
A minority (39%) of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that "the Department is a continuously improving organisation".

Just 14% of respondents agreed that "When changes are made in the Department they are usually for the better"; a fall of 11% from the previous year's results.

Of the survey's 56 questions, just six show improvement from the levels of positive response in the previous year's survey - and none by more than 3%.

The DH's equality and diversity score is good - with 66% agreeing or strongly agreeing  that it is actively practiced.

10% of respondents claimed personally to have experienced bullying and harassment at work. 10% also claimed to have experienced discrimination. One interpretation would be that the same group of people in the DH experience a truly terrible time at work. Another would be that they are malcontents. Intriguingly, just 8% of respondents want to leave the DH straight away. So - if we might assume that this 8% is a sub-set of the bullied 10%, 2% apparently think that's OK behaviour.

In which case, the  masochist community is represented in Richmond House and Quarry House. Which is nice.

And if so, the same would be true of the sadist community  (since every masochist needs a sadist to complete their circle). "Hello, is that the Daily Mail? Have you heard about the S&M goings-on in the Department of Health?"

Reflecting reality, there was a 21% drop in people thinking they have opportunities to develop their career in the DH.