back to article All gov jobs to go online

Civil service jobs will in future be advertised in a standard format online, rather than in national newspapers. Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said adverts in a national could cost as much as £10,000. Some advertising in local papers could continue, however, for as long as the digital divide keeps some people offline …


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  1. A J Stiles


    This is purely and simply discrimination against non-computer owners.

    Any government serious about reversing the digital divide should be moving to ban all forms of "online only", beginning with the ones that are dependent on proprietary technology.

    1. JimC

      To an extent yes...

      I don't think there's much of an argument against banning executive job ads in national papers, especially if they cost 10K a pop. The job agencies can read the web sites anyway.

      OTOH jobs paying under say 25K, and especially part time ones should be advertised in local rags for exactly the reasons you mention.

    2. Rob 30

      are you mental or trolling?

      as opposed to discriminating against non-newspaper owning people do you mean?

      I demand the govt. does something about the so called paper divide!

    3. Geoff Campbell


      It's a great use of technology to reduce costs and increase access to jobs. Perfect. Put a few computers running web browsers into the Job Centres for those without computers - there, I fixed it for you.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or even public libraries

        Which might help keep them going...

    4. paulf Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      I call BS

      and I'm probably not the first?

      By that logic; putting all the ads in the Grauniad could be discrimination against people who only read the Tory-graph.

      Pop along to your local library, and they should be able to help most people to look at the inter-webs for free. If not they can probably put you in touch with other options for getting on the internet.

      I'd like to think that those job adverts would also be available in the Job Centre one way or another but I'm not holding my breath on that kind of joined up gubberment!

      Even if it is slightly discriminatory there is a lot to be said for all job openings in one place where they can be scrutinised for VFM by all. A standard format will also make it easier to post to more outlets than the Grauniad which should ensure good range of applicants.

    5. The BigYin

      I know I an feeding the troll...

      ...but this is where OpenSource could help. People with old computers could flatten them, install a Linux distro (Puppy, Debian, Slack based; whatever) and give away these machines at near-to-zero cost (actually this happens, check out freelinuxbox).

      Obviously this would take them time and there's electrical safety to consider, so perhaps old kit should go to "re-purposing" centres from where they can be distributed to the PC-less in this country. After all, most recycled (and probably still usable) PCs wind up as toxic landfill in Africa being stripped down by child labour.

      Then I bet you'll be coming on here to complain about why you should have to put up with other people' hand-me-downs. And to that I say "Take a flying leap, monkey-boy". I am gainfully employed and I will still accept a hand-me-down if it fills a need I have. There's no shame it it, makes total social, environmental and economic sense.

      Oh, and who said anything about "on-line only"? No one. The point is that anyone could take those ads and re-publish them. So a paper could still publish them if it so desired, supporting any costs with a cover charge/advertising/whatever.

      Really, we used to have proper trolls around here. Why are the standards slipping?

  2. TeeCee Gold badge

    "...transformation officers..."

    Note to council HR departments:

    When hiring, go for one of the cars or trucks that apply. The aeroplanes, helicopters 'n such are all evil.

  3. Matt 21

    Isn't the idea

    ...that it can be freely copied so the local rag can pick them up if they want at no cost? Then those without computers get access too. Otherwise I'd agree with the first comment.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Hang on...

    If the person who wants to apply for the job doesnt have a clue about internet / being online, i dont think we want them in government anyway...

    also why pay £10,000 of our money to a newspaper just in case someone wants to apply to a job and they happen to live under a rock in deepest <insert funny place here - my answer would be Driotwich>

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Nah, I don't buy that.

      I'd rather our municipal groundskeepers, street cleaners, etc. were really, really good at groundskeeping, street sweeping, etc., than insisting that they know about computers. Apart from anything else, what about our job security? :-)


    2. Karl Proctor
      Thumb Up

      Spot On

      People should keep up with the rest of society. Most people can afford to get on to the internet.

      1. A J Stiles


        Forcing people to use proprietary technology to do their normal day-to-day stuff is backdoor privatisation of the law of the land.

  5. Anonymous Cowherd 3

    This is much less egregious

    than forcing people to read the Guardian in order to see what jobs are available.

    If that isn't a social filter I don't know what is.

    A combination of jobs online, job centres and local papers seems much more sensible.

  6. Dunstan Vavasour

    Online where?

    Agree with what he says in principle - if the vacancies are described in a similar schema, it makes it easier for them to be published by some sort of syndication arrangement. But can this be done without commissioning a government IT project?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mean on....

      a site like this:

      A site which has been "working" for a few years now.....nothing spectacular, no whistles-and-bells. It just works......

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        That quicksearch dialogue box is pretty tricky

        There is a fairly sophisticated language parser behind it (relative to the usual dumb as a stump boxes on most dialog forms) to figure out if you're giving it a job title, job no or standard occupation code, while the follow up box understands post codes, town or area names.

        Quite a radical notion for HMG. Have the software work out what you mean rather than fill in an upteen field form.

    2. some vaguely opinionated bloke


      ... by feeding the jobs direct to the job sites.

      The question of course is not "can this be done", but "will this be done".

  7. AndyS

    letters and/or digits

    Is this really going to save any money, considering what we now know about the cost of maintaining government websites?

  8. Pete 2

    Vote job up/down?

    > shows local people where the money is going ...

    How about going one step further and having a vote option next to the vacancy: "Should this position be canceled?" Then local people can decide for themselves whether they actually want that vacancy filled, or if the advertisment should be removed and the job made redundant.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      This is an outstanding idea, well played sir!

      Only problem with the whole thing is, the website itself will probably cost £40k of taxpayers money - I might bid for that myself

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Now that is actually a bad idea

      While making the specs available online is a jolly good idea, this is in the area of daft. It is twitterocracy and slasdotocracy, not democracy. There is a reason why elections are a held every 4 years and not every day and it is that otherwise only psychopaths will vote.

      However having a button for "mail this job spec to your local council rep" as well as seeing some stats on what did the council advertise for _BEFORE_ the elections may actually be a very good idea. I would definitely like seeing some of that before I chose which bunch of stealing clowns will get my vote at the next election.

  9. mittfh

    Job Descriptions

    Perhaps in the light of this, it would be useful for departments / councils to include wording in the job description in the ad to enlighten people as to what the job entails. Take the "Cheerleading Development Officer" for example - what exactly do they do? If they're involved with promoting cheerleading in schools, how many cheerleading teams are there in their patch? What are the benefits to society (other than encouraging teenage girls to take up a form of exercise which apparently is a combination of dance and gymnastics)? Perhaps they really do motivate sporty males to do their best, and ensure both get strenuous workouts that reduce their risk of middle age obesity. With council budgets likely to rapidly decline over the next few years (a combination of reduced funding from government and strong encouragement not to raise council tax) they'll need to vigorously examine and justify every new post they create.

  10. JaitcH

    Post it on the Labour Exchange website

    It is a natural to post it on government employment agency websites.

    The UK government really needs to chat to the Canadian and Ontario governments who have been on-line for years. All manner of services, including driving and car licence issuance and fine payment collection, are made available on-line AND at public computer kiosks throughout the country.

    These are frequently supplemented by (free) 1-800 numbers which means the Canadian public can minimise contact with the ever decreasing number of civil servants.

  11. Anonymous John

    What Civil Service jobs?

    I thought the Coalition wanted to cut staffing levels drastically.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Audience Development Officer

    I think Mr Pickles will find that an Audience Development Officer's job is to make the publicly funded venue/theatre/museum/arts centre/concert hall earn more money and cost the tax payer less... It's just that the public sector requires them to have a dumb job title, as opposed to "marketing officer".

    It's a great idea to have a free government jobs board. It will save millions every year - and I don;t want my taxes advertising jobs in the Guardian. And the savings could pay for audience development officers up and down the land to save even more tax payers money!

  13. Anonymous Coward

    I'm sick and tired of people ...

    .. who whinge that things shouldnt be done exclusively online because "not everybody has a computer".

    Then they should get one. Because people who don't are not going to slow down progress (and feel free to argue whether it *is* progress) by sticking their heads in the sand.

    I'm only just old enough to vague recall a couple of kids at school whose parents didn't have a phone ... can anyone reading this now tell me they know someone who doesn't have a phone ?

    Like it or not, having access to the internet is now a factor in participation in society. It's the way it is, and it isn't going to change.

    I'll be curious to see what this rant does to my up/down votes ....

  14. Charles Calthrop

    and at a stroke the government kills off the advertising for the leading non right wing paper

    Great move by the tories they can claim to be saving costs and at the same time driving a nail through the heart of the guardian's ad budget, so it will only be the independent and mirror against them versus the sun, the mail, the express, the times, the telegraph and daily star. How soon before the guardian goes online only and apes the time's charging model

    1. david bates

      Any particular reason

      why the tax payer should be propping up a failing newspaper (assuming thats your point) of any persuasion?

      The Guardian is a PRIVATE sector NEWSPAPER, not a government mouthpiece. If it can't make a living by peddling news and opinion without being propped up by the public purse then frankly its not fit for purpose and its time has come.

    2. dogged

      I noticed that, too

      But at the same time, isn't that better than an indirect subsidy on two levels - the first, paying for the advertising and the second, allowing the Grauniad to tax people who would like to apply for a government job?

      If your only argument is the Grauniad's funding, then perhaps the correct response would be "sell more newspapers on your own merit because you ain't the BBC".

      1. Charles Calthrop

        assuming you're responding to me

        I didn't really say that. Although I do believe a free press with a wide range of political ideals is imperative, and I bet this is a pretty widely held belief.

        I suppose you could argue it had a duty to thus support all newspapers to the same extent that it has supported the murdoch rags.

    3. JaitcH

      Public computer kiosks

      It is simple for governments to supply public computer terminals for accessing government services and are a natural addition to libraries, shopping malls and, naturally, government offices.

      No home computer needed. Add a free telephone line to the computer and even the most neophyte computer user can use the telephone.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        I would love ...

        ... not to have a phone. I can remember my family getting our first phone in the house (this was in the mid-1970s), and I hated it! I wouldn't answer it or make calls on it for ages. Now I do use phones, but on my terms. I frequently choose not to answer my phones just because I don't feel like it - and the things I have been called by my friends when I've told them is quite unbelievable. One does not have the option not to respond to phones without being regarded as a weirdo. The internet is becoming the same, and I don't like the idea that people who do not use a given technology deserve to suffer. There are some very arrogant people on here.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Arrogant ?

          *You* may not like the idea so it shouldn't happen ?

          Unfortunately the given technology makes things easier for >80% of the population, so that's where we're going.

    4. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Audience Development Officer.

      I'm sure that *you* will find that an Audience Development Officer's job is to channel the spirit of incense and whalesong to ensure that the "message" is being outreachized in a positivated manner to a diverse societal makeup in accordance with policy. Or in other words, what used to be a PR assistant before the Civil Service decided that Wankword Bingo was a lifestyle choice rather than a game.

      Or something like that. Your explanation is far too bleedin' sensible to be anwhere near the truth.

      I'll just check: [bangs "audience development officer" into Grauniad job search]. I get three right to your one it appears.

    5. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      @Charles Calthrop

      "and at a stroke the government kills off the advertising for the leading non right wing paper → #"

      Err, you do know the Grauniad looses c£100k per day and that it is kept afloat by the takings from "Autotrader," right?

      This was mentioned when ol' Rupe decided to put a pay wall around the Times and the Grauniad editor (Rusbridger?) said they were planning to *expand* access to their online content through a new content access API.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not the Guardian

        It is the Guardian Media Group - the owners of several publications - as a whole that loses the money, not the Guardian itself. I have no idea if the paper is in profit or not, or how much of a loss they have if they aren't, but they most certainly do not lose c£100k per day.

  15. Tony Humphreys

    I want that job

    Where can I apply for the 'cheerleading' development officer post please.

    I watch Glee, so I am amply qualified for the job.

    Do you supply the black mac, or do I need to bring my own?

  16. Graham Bartlett

    @A J Stiles

    You can go to any library and use computers there. You may also have noticed "cybercafes" (strange word, that) where you pay to use their computers.

    If the problem is simply that a candidate can't use a computer - then fantastic, that's one person who definitely wouldn't be able to do any brains-based job filtered out.

  17. The Vociferous Time Waster

    Cut costs...

    Of course the gubbermint will outsource the website creation and get charged 35 million a year like it did with Businesslink.

    Oh wait, Labour's gone.

  18. Thomas 4

    I'm all in favour of business development directors long as they can still pick up a bog brush and work in the lavies, they can call themselves whatever they want.

    "Chief Hygiene Strategy Advisor for the Porcelien Collection Office".

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      I believe the pinnacle of the profession in the UK is "Keeper of the Queen's Heads," responsible for ensuring that every crapper at Buck House is fit for the Royal We (that's Liz and Phil).

  19. david wilson

    OK, if done properly.

    I guess one reason for the past requirement for print adverts was to make sure jobs did get advertised openly.

    With online advertising, is there going to be an indelible trail of which jobs were listed and linked-to at any particular time, to avoid adverts for jobs that someone wants their mate, spouse, offspring and/or internal candidate to get to be hard to find or poorly worded to keep applicant numbers down?

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      @david wilson

      Thank you for making the point that I was going to make. That audit trail is hugely important. Also, I know the frustration of using a jobs website that has crashed when you have the time to apply for that job you really want. I've never had a newspaper crash yet.

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