DEFRA Employee Reviews
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Worked at the height of the BSE crisis when scientific explanation was very contradictory. A confusing time for the food, particularly the meat industry. Could be enlivened to the Covid crisis.
A responsible respectable career status
Long hours for little reward. Slaughterhouse work is not for everyone. A lot of travelling
The stereotype of government run agencies are mostly true, I am sad to have learned: overpaid middle managers who add no value to the company (and thus to society); bad culture (office politics, slow bureaucratic practices); large proportion of resources spent on useless tasks; nepotism and cliquey attitude; unwillingness to adapt to changes. Of course, there is no incentive for them to fix any of this, but that's just the nature of these sorts of agencies.
For all the talk of diversity blah blah, it's a very cliquey environment full of incompetent yes-men. You don't need to come from a particular background but you need to fit in and you need to watch your back. If you are a self-promoter and care about your advancement above anything else, you may like it. In the years before Brexit they got rid of a lot of experienced staff then after Brexit they were forced to recruit new people to cope with the increased workload. The new recruits were mostly young and inexperienced. The department has changed dramatically as a consequence. It wasn't great before but now it really has lost its way. You don't need to be terribly bright to join or to be promoted. With the exception of a handful of genuinely talented people, most Defra employees are average. The problem is that people are promoted beyond their abilities. Most middle managers (and there are far too many of them!) are so inadequate it's painful to watch them making decisions. So much money is wasted as a result. But they don't seem to care. Briefings for ministers can frequently be inaccurate or plainly wrong. Feeble, uncertain evidence is presented as facts. Like most ambitious, mediocre people out of their depth, this army of self-congratulatory, overpaid middle managers cannot handle criticism or a different point of view. So they become petty, intolerant micro-managers who back each other up. There used to be room for people with an independent mind but it's becoming harder to be a critical voice. The pension scheme is still good, and they do - more...
Pension scheme, work-life balance
Too many overpaid, incompetent middle managers
Particular department changed to inexperienced management with little technical knowledge. Work then became more about delivering your stats rather than accuracy of financial work and customer care.
Typical days at work were very long. I regularly worked from 7am to 7/8pm most days. The management had very high expectations of delivery despite the constantly changing objectives. There was not always clear direction and support in achieving these aims and as such. The workplace culture was fast paced and challenging. The hardest part of the job was getting individuals to accept and embrace change - particularly where what was being implemented was a significant departure from what they were used to.
Flexibility to work from home
Really Long Hours
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Last 5-6 years have been appalling, and it continues!! Took early retirement on 02/12/2019 but still haven't received a statement from mycsp because of the lack of communication between them and sscl. DEFRA's so busy trying to advance themselves to keep in line with modern day tech, that they've lost the human touch associated with localised HR. Would be understandable if the new tech wasn't so unreliable and inefficient.
This was a nice place to work initially but in my later time there, skilled and knowledgeable managers were replaced with the yes sir brigade, this meant many staff had no where to turn for advice and guidance and made work stressful and very un rewarding.
Defra as a government department is indeed an exciting place to work, from making sure is environment is secure to preserving the the rural areas and coastal lines, climate change to food and future farming, Animal and Plant health assurance and more importantly working ceaselessly on the UK exiting the EU.
Friendly and supportive
The ICT area (known as DDTS) is not inclusive. There’s an inner circle which is fine if you’re seen as ‘one of the club’. For everyone else it is isolating and unwelcoming with the best jobs and promotions given to favoured people. Senior leaders do not follow basic civil service rules and processes, many of whom carved out senior roles during a merger with other organisations such as environment agency,
Flexible home working
Untrustworthy and self serving leadership