Gus McDonnell pays tribute to Jonathan Baum, the leader of the senior civil service union, who will retire next year



Jonathan Baume, the general secretary of senior civil servant union FDA today announced that he will be retiring from the post on 31 October 2012.

Jonathan was first elected FDA General Secretary in early 1997 and was re-elected in 2002, 2006 and 2010. He is currently the longest-serving union general secretary in the UK.

He said: “This is a tremendous job, at the centre of government, which I enjoy immensely and will greatly miss. However, it’s a test of a chief executive and leader to know when to step aside, and after almost 15 years as FDA General Secretary it feels the right time – both personally and for the organisation – to begin preparations to hand over to a successor.

“I will continue to lead the FDA in the difficult and complex negotiations to reach agreement with the Government on revised pension arrangements for civil servants. We are now making genuine progress but considerable work remains.

“Further major challenges confront civil servants and the public services more generally, as people and organisations adapt to what is likely to be a decade of austerity. Substantial reforms are inevitable and those are best addressed for the FDA by a General Secretary with a full term ahead of them.”

Sir Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, said: “Jonathan has been an excellent leader of the FDA who will be sorely missed. He has worked tirelessly and very effectively to represent his members, and over many years his honest, objective approach has earned my trust and respect.”

The FDA has the coming ten months to select a new general secretary, hold the statutory election required and conduct a transition. A public competition to select a successor will be launched in January.

Jonathan Baume joined the FDA as Deputy General Secretary in 1989, having previously worked at the TUC. He was a civil servant in the Department of Employment Group from 1977 until 1986, and studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Keble College, Oxford from 1971 to 1974.

He is a member of the TUC General Council and Executive Committee, and has been a prominent union moderniser, and supporter of engagement and partnership approaches. He was recently appointed to the ACAS Council, and has been an advocate of rigorous ethical standards in public service.

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