Reforms that will contribute to total job losses in the civil service of about 24% by 2015 are backed by civil servants themselves, Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said.
In a Commons statement on 19 June 2012, Mr Maude said a tougher appraisal system would enable bosses to sack the the worst performing 10% of staff after a year if they fail to improve.
Under the plans detailed in a Civil Service Reform White Paper, ministers will also be given the power to choose who runs government departments.
Many civil servants found Whitehall to be "overly bureaucratic, hierarchical and focused on process rather than outcomes", Mr Maude told MPs.
He confirmed that the total headcount at the civil service was expected to fall from 500,000 to 380,000, predicting that greater use of technology and sharing of services across departments would help the civil service manage with fewer staff.
The plans also include a move to outsource policy development to organisations and individuals, such as academics, with a particular expertise on the subject.
Labour's Jon Trickett warned that the plans to give ministers greater say on who is appointed permanent secretary to their departments could lead to cronyism and risked "dangerous politicisation" of the civil service.
He also complained that the plans "would do little to correct the chaos which exists in many Whitehall departments".
In a report published last month
former BP chief Lord Browne, who was brought in two years ago to make the civil service more businesslike, said it needed better "talent management" and rewards for good performance, within public sector pay restraints.