Category Archives: Civil Service

Six-figure payout for civil servant who endured ‘insidious’ Ministry of Justice racism

The face of the problem? It must be hard to clamp down on racism in government when the prime minister is a man who (allegedly) danced around in front of a black woman, waving a banana at her.

This may seem like a good result for Olivea Ebanks – but is it? Does the money really compensate for 20 years of racist abuse in the Ministry of Justice – of all places! – that she says broke down her body and mind?

And how is the government acting to end the racism that, it seems clear, is rife in all the corridors of power? Have the Tories lifted a finger to improve matters?

Let’s see what Ms Ebanks had to put up with…

She was called racially insulting names by a manager, prevented from progressing her career, and had her out-of-work activities monitored.

Ms Ebanks said working in an “abusive” environment led to her physical and mental health suffering.

“The first time I went to court, I lost my good mental health… The second time I decided to go to court, I lost my marriage and the third time, I lost my job.”

Ms Ebanks alleges managers blocked access to career-enhancing opportunities and training open to colleagues.

She says her work was unfairly scrutinised and managers began to “constantly” pick at her work, and claims her concerns about this were routinely dismissed.

One day after asking her manager why she was being treated differently to other members of the team during a meeting, she was shocked when the reply was: “Are you accusing me of racism?”

An internal probe, which pointed towards institutional racism within the MOJ, was triggered soon after.

She decided to write a book about her experiences – she says with her managers’ blessing. But Ms Ebanks found herself the centre of investigation and suspended from work for “bringing the organisation into disrepute”.

The former civil servant claims she was called racially offensive names by senior staff and was subject to privacy breaches, alleging her out-of-work activities following global Black Lives Matter protests was monitored.

Ms Ebanks says she complained about the incidents numerous times but claims she was ignored.

She resigned in June 2020 after the “situation became intolerable” and then began her third case against the ministry which was settled last year.

Ms Ebanks says she applied for upward of 40 promotions without any success and experienced a manager refusing to provide essential backing for a senior role because she “couldn’t see” Ms Ebanks thriving in such a position.

Reflecting on her ordeal Ms Ebanks described it as “exhausting” and said she suffered loss of appetite, insomnia and panic attacks.

“With the accumulation of illnesses, my body and mind were breaking down and I started to feel so unwell that I had to keep going back to the doctor.”

Her account of what happened when she tried to complain is particularly damning: “As a Black person, you complain to a manager, who has no understanding of racism.

“They then say there’s no merit to your complaint. You unpick their reasoning and appeal, and then your manager’s manager will then tell you – the only person who’s experienced the racism – that what you experienced was not racism. It’s torture without the bruising.”

The comment from the MoJ is risible:

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “We have a zero tolerance approach to discrimination of any sort. All allegations are investigated fully and action taken where necessary.”

I have a few doubts about that, considering Ms Ebanks’s story.

So let’s think: why would a government ministry make such a claim, in the face of evidence from a victim of sustained racism over a period of 20 years that has resulted in that ministry paying out a six-figure sum of money to end court proceedings?

(And let’s bear in mind that this is not the only case – the source story mentions Kay Badu, who also received a six-figure sum over racism claims.)

Well, isn’t it true that sustained racism of this kind has a “chilling” effect on people of the ethnic group against which that discrimination is being shown?

In other words, aren’t people of the same ethnic group put off applying for government jobs?

So by claiming not to tolerate discrimination – while actually perpetrating it time and time again – the government and its departments ensure that they remain the playgrounds of privileged white boys and girls.

Isn’t that the aim?

If not, then let’s see some evidence of good conscience. How many people have been sacked for perpetrating this “insidious” and sustained racism? What measures have been put in place to monitor it? What is being done to ensure that complaints are taken seriously?

I think we can all guess the answers to those questions: none, none and nothing.

Am I right, MoJ?

Source: ‘It strips your humanity’: Civil servant wins six-figure sum over ‘insidious’ Ministry of Justice racism

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Is Sue Gray’s Covid parties review so damning it could finish Boris Johnson as PM?

Boris Johnson and Cressida Dick: her decision to investigate the so-called Partygate scandal bought him a three-month reprieve from the “excoriating” contents of Sue Gray’s report – but now seems likely to add fuel to incendiary criticisms it contains.

This casts the Metropolitan Police’s decision to investigate the alleged lockdown-busting Downing Street parties – after initially refusing – in a very poor light indeed.

The Met, under then-Commissioner Cressida Dick, decided to launch an investigation after all, shortly before Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray was due to publish her review into the events underlying the so-called Partygate scandal.

Ms Gray had been expected to publish her report around January 24 this year, but it didn’t appear on that day – and on the very next day, Dick announced that the Met was launching an investigation of its own.

This Writer said at the time that the announcement seemed an obvious delaying tactic and today’s (April 25) revelation suggests that I was right.

Ms Gray was forced to amend her report because the plods said they didn’t want it to contain any information that could prejudice their inquiries.

And now we hear claims that the full report is so “excoriating” of Johnson that it could end his term as prime minister:

The Times, citing an official it described as being familiar with the contents of the complete report, said Ms Gray’s full findings were even more personally critical of the Prime Minister and could end his premiership.

According to the paper, the official said: “Sue’s report is excoriating. It will make things incredibly difficult for the Prime Minister. There’s an immense amount of pressure on her – her report could be enough to end him.” No 10 declined to comment.

Ironically, it seems the Met’s delaying tactic is likely to have made matters worse for Johnson in the long term.

Already he has received one fixed-term penalty – a fine – for attending a party held to celebrate his own birthday in 2020. It seems likely he will receive another for a “bring your own booze” event in the garden of 10 Downing Street on May 20 that year.

And there are four other events that he allegedly attended being investigated by the police as well.

Ms Gray can’t release her full report until after the police investigation has ended but, by then, any criticism of Johnson may be superceded by the consequences of the fines.

According to the i newspaper, Tory rebels are organising to oust him if their party fares poorly in next month’s local elections – or if he receives further fines.

The three-month reprieve Johnson has enjoyed as a result of the police investigation has merely allowed them to organise themselves, it seems.

The paper says Johnson’s critics are currently “holding back” to await the local election results or further fines – but have prepared ‘no confidence’ letters to be submitted en masse to the 1922 Committee of backbench Tory MPs should the party take a battering at the polls on May 5.

It seems Johnson’s chickens are coming home to roost and any plan to fend off his critics with an early general election is likely to fail. How will he try to save his bacon now?

Source: Sue Gray’s Covid parties review could spell ‘end’ of Boris Johnson premiership, says report

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Rees-Mogg has been leaving ‘demeaning’ notes for civil servants working from home

Jacob Rees-Mogg: he reckons it’s inefficient for civil servants to work from home and not in the office – but seems happy to have a nap in his own place of work.

Here’s another Tory who wants to make the people who do the actual work of government look bad, while distracting attention away from his colleagues and their lockdown-busting rave-ups.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been leaving nasty little notes on the desks of civil servants who have been working from home – because he refuses to accept that they are capable of providing a better quality of work if they’re not tied to an office.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office minister has been merrily defending prime minister Boris Johnson’s attendance at parties in Downing Street – that break the rules Johnson himself announced to the public.

He said the fact that Johnson had been fined for disobeying his own rules in order to attend parties was “fundamentally trivial” “fluff”. That’s even though Johnson is also accused of the extremely serious offence of lying to Parliament about what he did.

What a hypocrite. If anything is “fundamentally trivial” “fluff”, it’s his determination to leave creepy little notes for the civil servants who make him look competent.

Source: Jacob Rees-Mogg criticised for leaving ‘demeaning’ notes for civil servants working from home

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Civil servants are upset that their pay is being cut like everyone else’s

Poor babies: civil servants have implemented government policies that have caused the cost-of-living crisis and a dramatic fall in UK living standards. Did they really think they were not going to be hit as badly as the rest of us?

Members of the organisation that implements government policy are reportedly up in arms after finding out that the policies they are implementing also affect them.

With inflation surging to seven or eight per cent, Cabinet Office minister Heather Wheeler has informed public sector employers that they may award pay rises up to just two per cent, plus up to an extra percentage point in some cases, to be “targeted at specific priorities in their workforce and pay strategies”.

It’s a massive pay cut, the same as the rest of us are facing.

The Guardian article I’m using as a source suggests that average rises are 4.8 per cent but I’ve yet to hear of anybody receiving that much. What happens to that average if it’s applied only to the bottom 90 per cent of earners?

Meanwhile, MPs are getting a huge pay rise that will cover increased costs – even though most of them will claim those costs on expenses in any case.

Mark Serwotka of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union did his duty by pointing out that the government is cutting pay in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis:

“The failure of the government to recognise the cost-of-living crisis is a disgrace and shows utter contempt to our members, who have worked themselves to the bone during the pandemic … PCS will now be discussing an industrial response to this outrage.”

But didn’t the rest of us work just as hard to keep the UK going during the pandemic? This Writer didn’t stop working for a single day but my income has fallen hugely.

And the civil service has been happy to implement the decisions that are impoverishing the rest of us.

It would be easy to say that these people should have had a backbone and refused to inflict misery on millions of their fellow citizens.

But that would be unrealistic. They are servants – it’s in their job title. Their purpose is to do what the government demands, no matter how destructive or deranged.

So it’s better to say:

If the civil service will force the rest of us to suffer this government-inflicted persecution, it should be prepared to join us in it, rather than taking industrial action out of self-interest.

Source: Fury after civil service pay rises capped at 3% amid surging inflation

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Why have junior civil servants been targeted by the first Partygate fines?

Not fined yet: Boris Johnson (right) acts as questionmaster in a quiz at one of the alleged Downing Street parties.

Let’s answer the question in the headline straight away: junior civil servants have been fined because they haven’t challenged the imposition of the penalties by the Metropolitan Police.

It is understood, but hasn’t been confirmed, that the fines relate to a leaving party for a Downing Street advisor, held on June 18, 2020.

Police have issued 20 fines, each worth £50.

According to the BBC,

One … government source said police had targeted “low-hanging fruit”, and another agreed this appeared to be the police’s approach.

Civil servants have not been provided with help for legal costs and are being advised to pay any fines they receive, while senior staff and politicians have paid for private legal advice.

A recipient can contest a fine, in which case the police will review the case to decide whether or not to withdraw the fine or take the matter to court.

And Sky News has said the investigation may have been slowed down by the need to consult the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS):

A CPS lawyer would be needed if the recipient of a fine decided to fight and take the issue to a magistrates’ court.

The CPS can ask the police to do more work, or direct them to collect more evidence until it is satisfied it could prosecute a case.

Sky News understands that the Metropolitan Police did not fully consult the CPS at the start of the investigation.

The CPS could have questions about the unusual questionnaires used to extract more information from those in government.

The implication running through both broadcasters’ interpretations of events is that senior civil servants and Conservative politicians are indeed contesting fines.

The reason for this may be the question of whether a fine represents proof of criminality.

Ministers and senior civil servants – like, for example, Boris Johnson and Cabinet Secretary Simon Case – are likely to want to do everything they can to avoid an implication that they have committed a criminal act.

With the question undetermined, it seems they are seeking to challenge any fines imposed on them.

But this means that they may face court prosecution and any conviction following such an event would certainly be for a criminal offence.

If this is the route Boris Johnson has chosen, then he is in very serious trouble indeed.

Source: PM not among first fines issued to people in government for breaking lockdown rules

Partygate: Of course Simon Case has been questioned by police – there was a party in the Cabinet Office

A suitable Case for investigation: Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.

The big question here isn’t why Cabinet Secretary Simon Case has been questioned by police about lockdown-busting Downing Street parties – it’s why anyone would think he would not be.

Case was originally chosen by Boris Johnson to investigate the events, of which 12 out of an alleged 16 are now the subjects of criminal inquiries by the Metropolitan Police.

But after it was revealed that one such party took place in his office, Case stepped down to be replaced by his colleague Sue Gray – raising the obvious question: why didn’t he refuse the job in the first place, if he was implicated?

Following on from this, we may also ask whether Johnson appointed him in the knowledge that he had attended a party himself and it was therefore in Case’s interest to whitewash the whole scandal.

It all stinks to high heaven and low hell.

Sadly, the police inquiry is unlikely to erase much of the stench of corruption from Downing Street and the Cabinet Office.

Their remit is simply to find out who attended these parties and issue penalty notices in accordance with the law that was in force at the time.

They won’t look at any corruption in the corridors of power.

But then, they never do.

Source: Civil service chief Simon Case ‘receives partygate questionnaire from police’

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New whistleblower says Boris Johnson put animals before humans in Afghanistan evacuation

Josie Stewart – a senior official at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) – has said it was “widespread knowledge” that the decision to help the Nowzad charity evacuate cats and dogs from Afghanistan “came from the prime minister”.

She said emails in her inbox referred to “the PM’s decision on Nowzad”.

This supports claims made in two Foreign Office emails that were released to the public in January.

As I wrote back then:

“One lobbies for the rescue of a second animal charity because Johnson had agreed to evacuate Nowzad: “The PM has just authorised their staff and animals to be evacuated.”

“The second, between FO officials, states: “In light of the PM’s decision earlier today [August 25, 2021] to evacuate the staff of the Nowzad animal charity, the [other animal charity – name redacted] is asking for agreement to the entry of [details redacted] staff, all Afghan nationals.”

“The issue is controversial because human beings were left behind. Some have since travelled out of Afghanistan and tried to gain entry into the country.

“Damningly for the UK’s Tory government, some have died in the attempt.”

Ms Stewart accused Sir Philip Barton, the Foreign Office’s permanent undersecretary, and Nigel Casey, the PM’s special representative for Afghanistan, of having “intentionally lied” to MPs on the foreign affairs select committee.

Appearing before the committee on January 25, Casey was asked if he knew whether the PM had intervened “in the evacuation of Nowzad staff or animals” and replied: “Not to my knowledge.”

In  written evidence to the committee, published the next day, Sir Philip denied that Mr Casey had received “any correspondence referring to the prime minister’s intervention in the Nowzad case”.

This was contradicted in leaked emails published by the committee subsequently.

Sir Philip had to write back to the committee, apologising for misleading its members.

But he insisted that he had no memory of the emails, and nor did Casey.

Johnson has denied direct involvement in the evacuation of animals.

But the email evidence suggests that, indeed, he ordered it – and then lied to the media afterwards, when it was suggested that he had prioritised animals over human beings.

Ms Stewart also dismissed government claims that civil servants often portrayed decisions as coming from the PM if they did not, saying, “Governance would fall apart entirely if this were the case.”

She said: “I feel a strong sense of moral injury for having been part of something so badly managed and so focused on managing reputational risk and political fallout rather than the actual crisis and associated human tragedy.”

Ms Stewart said the messages about the animal evacuation decision were coming from the PM on Microsoft Teams, and “heard it discussed in the crisis centre including by senior civil servants”.

She also said she was copied on numerous emails “which clearly suggested this” which no-one, including Mr Casey, challenged.

Ms Stewart said she did not believe there was any deliberate decision “to prioritise animals over people” but that “the decision to approve Nowzad’s Afghan staff under LOTR (leave outside the rules) was not in line with policy”.

The whistleblower said “there was no reason to believe these people should be prioritised under the agreed criteria”.

The Foreign Office has claimed that “at all times officials have responded to the committee’s questions in good faith, on the basis of the evidence available to us at the time”, which is not quite a rejection of the evidence.

There is plenty of evidence to question that protestation of good faith.

Source: Boris Johnson ordered evacuation of animals from Afghanistan, says new whistleblower | The Independent

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More than 1,300 DWP staff to lose jobs: will the service to claimants get EVEN WORSE?

Employment in the UK is a “remarkable success” says Raab – as his government makes 1,300 DWP jobs redundant in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

Yes, some of the most hated civil servants in the UK are likely to lose their jobs in a back-office shake-up of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Offices are being closed across the country, meaning 12,000 DWP employees will be moved to different sites. A further 1,300 people will not be moved as there are no suitable sites near them; they will lose their jobs.

But these jobs are said to be going from offices in areas of high economic deprivation, making a mockery of the Tory government’s “levelling-up” agenda.

The PCS union said the offices closing with no alternative site being offered to staff are in: Aberdeen, Barrow in Furness, Bishop Auckland, Blackburn, Bury St Edmunds, Chippenham, Exeter, Gravesend, Kirkcaldy, Milton Keynes, Peterborough, Southampton, and Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent.

Labour’s shadow secretary for work and pensions, Jonathan Ashworth, said: “In closing DWP offices and cutting jobs in areas including Stoke, Burnley, Bishop Auckland, Doncaster, Southampton and Kirkcaldy, Therese Coffey has exposed the Tories’ rhetoric on levelling up to be utterly hollow.

“Ministers are today cutting quality public sector jobs from communities who need them in the middle of a devastating cost of living crisis.”

The decision seems to be motivated by a calculation that the DWP has more real estate than it needs – so this is about selling off land for money, Weren’t we all led to believe the government is making cash hand-over-fist due to increased fuel (and other) prices?

In all, 13 processing sites are set to close by June 2023, but more job losses are feared over the closure and relocation of 29 other sites.

Announcing the closures on March 17, Work and Pensions minister David Rutley said no “front-of-house Jobcentre Plus” services would be affected because “the services we are talking about are primarily telephony and digital”.

Reading between the lines, this suggests that it will take even longer than the hours it already does to contact the DWP about a claim by phone or online,

And the PCS union’s Mark Serwotka seems to be implying that this is the payoff for DWP staff who were taken on to handle the extra work caused by the Covid-19 lockdowns.

With the government winding down its Covid restrictions – despite a new surge in infections, hospitalisations and deaths – these “work units” (as the Tories describe people like you and me and especially benefit claimants) are now surplus to requirements.

“The government was quick to clap civil servants at the start of the pandemic – they’re even quicker to scrap them now they’ve declared the pandemic over.

“Our members have worked tirelessly behind the scenes, keeping the country running, paying out benefits to almost two-and-a-half million families, helping them to put food on their table and keep a roof over their head.

“But now, as food and fuel prices rise faster than ever, they’re being abandoned by the government and left to fend for themselves.”

I fear this is the truth of the Tory DWP slim-down: former employees transformed into claimants in the most deprived areas, at the worst possible time, receiving an inferior service from the organisation they used to represent,

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Four Johnson advisors quit in disgust – and Tory MPs say he’s doing a great job! What?

Isolated: Boris Johnson has tried to show strong leadership by accepting resignations from top advisors who were going anyway. All he has done is show that he is isolated from anybody who could have helped him retain his position as prime minister.

After This Site (and many others) reported that Boris Johnson’s policy advisor Munira Mirza quit her role – after 14 years with him – in disgust at his attempt to shame Keir Starmer for failing to prosecute Jimmy Savile, a further three advisors have quit.

This is hardly a sign of good leadership.

But here are a couple of brainless Tory MP drones saying it’s a sign that Johnson is doing a brilliant job!

What gives?

I’ll tell you – but you won’t be happy with Boris Johnson when I’m done!

It seems the resignation of Munira Mirza actually rocked Johnson hard. She had been with him for 14 years and quitting in the way she did sent a very clear message that he should be ejected from office; no ifs, no buts.

It left him in a very difficult position, with his authority – and his ability to restore order to Downing Street – under serious question.

So he cast around for a way to at least appear to be exerting control – and his gaze fell on three other advisors:  director of communications Jack Doyle, principal private secretary Martin Reynolds and chief of staff Dan Rosenfield.

All have been implicated in the Partygate scandal.

It seems Johnson reasoned that, if he pushed them out, he would present an appearance of acting decisively to restore order to Downing Street after the parties in which they were all involved.

Doyle and Rosenfield are said to have taken part in a party on December 18, 2020, and Doyle is said to have participated in at least one other event. Reynolds allegedly invited around 100 Downing Street staff to a “bring your own booze” party in the garden of 10 Downing Street in May 2020 when the UK was under strict lockdown.

But…

Doyle is also known to have wanted to quit his job after two years in any event, and it is understood that Johnson had previously refused his resignation.

Accepting it now merely makes Johnson look like a scurrilous (as Ms Mirza put it) opportunist and that, rather than forcing anybody out, he is in fact finally letting them go – because it suits him, not them.

Similarly, Rosenfield and Reynolds may have resigned because they feel it is the honourable thing to do after the party revelations. That would lend credence to allegations that these events took place, of course, in contravention of lockdown rules.

So instead of forcing out people who broke the rules, in order to restore order at Number 10, it seems Johnson is instead trying to spin the loss of three top advisors to his advantage.

It won’t work – or shouldn’t, in spite of the best efforts of nobodies like Stuart (who?) Anderson and Chris (who?) Clarkson.

The reason is clear:

No matter why they went, the four resignations mean Johnson has removed the entire top layer of management at 10 Downing Street, isolating himself from his party and showing he lacks any management ability at all – when he should be trying to show strong leadership. And there are plenty of us who can see that.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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Did #DowningStreet ask the #MetPolice to demand #Partygate report be edited?

Chums: Boris Johnson and Cressida Dick went to the same Oxford college.

Whenever you see a headline saying someone has denied doing something, you know evidence has been found that they did.

Opposition politicians have raised the possibility, as reported in (of all places) The Torygraph:

Ed Davey, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said that “a stitch up between the Met leadership and Number 10 will damage our politics for generations and it looks like it is happening right in front of our eyes.”

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister tweeted: “This gets murkier by the minute. Sue Gray and the Met are in difficult positions but the sequence of events and the situation arrived at now creates the suspicion – however unfairly – that the process of inquiry is aiding Johnson at the expense of public accountability.”

Downing Street has denied the possibility – weakly:

Asked if it was correct that the announcement from the Met had no involvement from No 10, a spokesman said: “I believe that’s correct.”

That is not a wholehearted denial.

This Site has already questioned whether the Metropolitan Police and Sue Gray were conspiring to keep Johnson in office.

This latest development can only intensify speculation, with its implication that Johnson is behind the delay.

Source: Politics latest news: No 10 denies claims it is behind Met’s request to edit ‘partygate’ report

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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