The actual number of personnel at both the Cabinet Office and the Department of Environment, Food & Agriculture surged by 30% over the last five years, according to data released by the Isle of Man Government. Over the same time period, the actual number of people employed by the Department of Infrastructure dropped by 15%.

The numbers were revealed in an answer by Chief Minister Alf Cannan to a written question from the House of Keys Member for Onchan, Julie Edge. These new calculations were made following on from last week’s analysis of an overall growth in the Manx public service by the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance.

Department of Environment increases staff numbers by 31% in five years

The number of Environment, Food & Agriculture staff increased by 30% during the last Tynwald. Despite the large increase in staff numbers, DEFA was still unable to draft a comprehensive Animal Welfare Bill during the life of the last Tynwald with MHKs voting it down as a “half-hearted attempt“. In addition, Minister Boot reportedly ignored his very large and growing number of departmental staff. Total DEFA staff grew from 157 to 205 during the last administration, a total growth of 31%.

Cabinet Office grows by 30% in five years

The number of Cabinet Office increased by over 8% in the three years prior to the pandemic, and then a further 20% during the two pandemic-affected years. This is likely connected to the misguided effort to separate Public Health Isle of Man from the Department of Health and Social Care, and the consequential hiring of various staff on pandemic-related measures, such as the 111 phone line and similar.

The total number of Cabinet Office employees grew from 350 to 455 during the last administration, representing growth of 30%.

Infrastructure shrinks in pandemic-affected years

The number of staff employed in the Department of Infrastructure remained roughly steady in the first three years of the last Tynwald. However, there was a reduction of almost 15% in employee numbers during the last two, pandemic-affected, years.

Home Affairs staff numbers grow steadily

The core purpose of the Department of Home Affairs is to ensure community safety in the Isle of Man. The operational services of the Department are the Isle of Man Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Service, Isle of Man Prison and Probation Service and Communications Division. The number of staff grew steadily.

Health and Social Care staff shrinks slightly

The number of staff in the Department of Health and Social Care dropped slightly in the first three years of the last administration, and remained roughly steady during the two pandemic-affected years.

Note: Many of the Health and Social Care staff transferred across to Manx Care in 2021. These numbers include both organisational entities for completeness.

Big growth in Treasury

The actual number of staff employed in the Department of Treasury grew by almost 4% during the first three years of the Quayle administration, and a further 10% during the last two years. This represents a growth from 304 staff in September 2016 to 347 staff in August 2021, an overall growth of 14% during the last administration.

Enterprise drops then slight growth

The actual number of staff employed in the Department of Enterprise dropped by around 10% from the 2016-17 year to the 2017-18 year. In subsequent years, the number of staff rebounded a little. Overall, the number of staff dropped by 7% during the last administration.

Big growth in Education staff numbers

The Department of Education, Sport and Culture increased staff numbers significantly and continually. During the last administration, almost 400 extra staff were employed, with around 100 extra staff added each year. The number of staff employed by the department increased by 19% during the last administration.


Throughout this article, each year runs from September through to the following August (inclusive). This is a function of how the data was presented in the Tynwald question from Julie Edge, and roughly coincides with the start and end dates of the previous Tynwald.

Actual Number of Employees vs Full-Time Equivalent

The data provided by the Chief Minister to Tynwald and reported here uses the “actual number of personnel not full time equivalent”. The Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance would generally prefer to use full-time equivalent (FTE), but the decision to use number of staff employed, rather than FTE, is the IOM Government’s decision.

On this issue, the Chief Minister’s Office advised: “In discussions with the Executive Director of HR, it was agreed to use the number of staff employed by the Department by group rather than FTE. The reason for this is that the number of changes to staff hours is significant so reporting the number of staff employed was more appropriate to provide a consistence (sic) approach for each year.”

Source Documents

Note: The answer originally provided by the Chief Minister to Tynwald contained an error in the Sep 2020 to Aug 2021 column. After the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance identified the error and raised the issue privately with the Chief Minister, the Chief Minister’s office said that this error was caused by “one of the figures [being] unfortunately manually entered incorrectly.” The document published above is the corrected file published by the Chief Minister.