Tag Archives: civil

Chaotic scenes at Education Department as civil servants outnumber desks

Jacob Rees-Mogg, making a gesture that well defines him.

Is this Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comeuppance after he went around leaving nasty notes on empty civil service desks, for them to see after they returned from home working?

In notes left for civil servants, he wrote: “Sorry you were out when I visited. I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon.”

Nadhim Zahawi took Rees-Mogg’s demand for a return to the office seriously, and told officials at the Department for Education to “immediately” return to “pre-Covid working” after an audit found that the DfE had the lowest attendance of any Government department, at a quarter capacity.

Well, unless pre-Covid working took place in corridors and canteens, he didn’t get his wish!

It turns out that, before the pandemic, the DfE only had an occupancy rate of 60 to 70 per cent because of the department’s flexible working policy.

And changes to the department’s estate, such as giving up space at the DfE’s London headquarters, has meant there are fewer desks than previously – 4,200 to accommodate 8,009 staff.

So after the department’s top civil servant, permanent secretary Susan Acland-Hood, was joined by ministers to tell officials to work 80 per cent of their week in the office, chaos ensued:

Civil servants at the Department for Education have been forced to work in corridors and canteens.

Whole teams have been turned away from some offices because of overcrowding.

According to Schools Week, staff were sent home from the department’s Sheffield office after a mass return earlier this month, despite some staff already working from the canteen.

Online meetings were also forced to take place with staff perched on the end of shared seating because meeting rooms were full.

The Tories have insisted that having more people than desks was the practice at the department.

Were they saying that chaos is supposed to be the practice at the Department for Education and that it was the intended result of Rees-Mogg’s interference. How revealing!

And isn’t it curious that, while DfE staff – and presumably other civil servants – scrabble for desk space, another government department looks set to spend £20 million on a luxury townhouse for a single, privileged representative – so she can hold lavish parties?

Source: Department for Education descends into chaos as civil servants can’t find desks after returning to office

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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

#PrinceAndrew to face US #sexualassault civil case. Here are the reasons

Accused and accuser: Prince Andrew (left) and Virginia Giuffre (right). She alleges that he committed sexual assault and battery against her at a time when she was still legally a child.

A judge in the United States has thrown out Prince Andrew’s attempt to have Virginia Giuffre’s civil case against him for sexual assault dismissed.

Judge Lewis Kaplan took a week to think about it, but has now “denied in all respects” the Duke of York’s motion to have the case dismissed.

A civil trial will take place later this year.

Here’s Channel 4 News to explain in more detail:

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Priti Patel is a ‘moron’ and Boris Johnson is worse, say officials and Tory MPs

Priti Patel and Boris Johnson: she’s a moron and he’s a c**t – and that’s according to their own civil service officials and Tory MPs.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is a “moron” and an “idiot”. That’s not This Writer’s opinion but the words of her own officials.

And Boris Johnson is receiving a worse hammering from Conservative MPs.

Patel, frustrated by her failure to turn back boats of refugees seeking asylum in the UK, is reported to have privately accused civil servants in her department as “not fit for purpose”.

In response – and probably mindful of Patel’s bullying of former Permanent Secretary Sir Philip Rutnam (along with officials in the DWP and International Development) – her officers have retaliated:

One told [the Mail on Sunday]: “She comes into meetings and her suggestions are erratic and outlandish.

“Officials come out of the meetings and the texts start flying, describing her as a “moron” and an “idiot”.”

Another said: “What’s become clear is that she [the Home Secretary] is out for herself and only interested in how this plays out publicly.

“If we worked collaboratively then we could get things done but instead we just have cloud cuckoo land public statements.”

And one said bluntly: “She hates us and we all hate her.”

Boris Johnson, meanwhile, has pitched himself into an even worse position, with his own MPs openly speaking out against him:

“Things can only get worse,” one MP half-jokes, in a deliberate inversion of the anthem that propelled Tony Blair’s 1997 victory.

One former minister puts it bluntly: “What’s the mood? I’ll tell you: there’s been a big increase in the number of people who think Boris is a c**t.”

That’s only on the Tory benches of the House of Commons, I hasten to remind readers. The vast majority of the general public have considered him to be that for many years.

“We’re like a herd of elephants smelling danger,” a senior backbencher tells me. “There’s been a distinct stirring, we’re anxious and distressed. There’s some trumpeting. But the real shift is we’re slowly on the move – away from Boris.”

How sad for the UK that the only genuine movement to remove Boris Johnson and his mixture of incompetence and malice from government comes from his own party, whose members are preparing once more to stab a leader in the back.

Labour leader Keir Starmer appears to be a more staunch supporter of Johnson than any Tory MP, doing everything he can to ensure that nobody but the most mindless tribalist will vote for the alleged “Opposition” party in any future election.

And the general public? Deprived of any hope for real change, most find themselves cast into limbo. The Tory government is still engaged in a project to deprive us of our health, our rights and – thanks to Patel again – our citizenship.

A deceitful election campaign by Johnson and his Tory client press in 2019 has deprived us of any power to prevent it – by fooling millions of people into voting to harm themselves.

You are entirely at the mercy of Tory MPs – many of them the same MPs who have stood accused of shocking corruption over the last few weeks.

So it isn’t just Johnson’s followers who have a right to feel betrayed.

But the voters have only themselves to blame for allowing notorious gang of known liars to make utter imbeciles of them no fewer than four times in a row since 2010.

Source: Priti Patel’s officials ‘brand her a moron’ over ‘erratic and outlandish ideas’ – Mirror Online

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It’s time for people hit by the #LabourDataBreach to unite and demand answers

For the many? HOW many Labour Party members, ex-members, and even non-members have been affected by the massive data breach that happened at the end of October, of which the party only informed us a week later?

The (verbal) backlash against the loss of data affecting thousands of Labour Party members has been huge – but it is action that is needed.

This Writer has already suggested that a lawsuit is required – and some victims are suggesting that we (This Writer is among those affected) may each claim thousands of pounds in compensation.

But the question is: how do we take this forward?

Some have suggested that a Subject Access Request under General Data Protection Regulations should be made to the Labour Party, along the lines described by Philip Proudfoot:

If you want to go that way, then feel free. But I have already been down this route with the Labour Party and, even after calling in the Information Commissioner’s Office – the regulator overseeing data protection in the UK – it took two years to get a reply, and even then it was only partial.

The ICO was toothless because it then told me that if I wanted to take any matter forward, I should do it myself, through the courts, as has also happened to Simon Vessey, here:

So This Writer’s preference is that a large number of those affected should unite and launch legal action within the civil courts.

Already, people are coming up with ideas about how this can be done. I like this:

And of course the Left Legal Fighting Fund exists, if I recall correctly, to help people with cases like this. If everybody affected got together via this new Labour Data Breach website, and then donated towards a single court action via https://www.fightingfund.org, we might all gain access to a simple – and cheap – way of achieving justice.

It’s also – I believe – the only way we’ll force Labour to explain exactly what has happened.

ADDITIONAL: Another friend has contacted a different law firm for advice and will report back on what they are told:

And apparently the law firm mentioned in the tweet below is interested in representing people affected by the data breach – among many others, it seems. I would have thought it would be more cost-effective to hire a single firm, collectively.

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Dementia patient deported by Patel; Labour councillor wants ‘anti-migrant militia’ [Also in the news]

Border Force: while a Labour councillor calls for the creation of migrant vigilante groups, Priti Patel has deported a dementia patient.

Lots to get through tonight and no time for commentary:

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The social care system is being ruined by profiteers [Also in the news]

This window-writing may have been by a child in care, but it might equally have been written by an adult – or by one of the people employed to care for either of them.

The demand for profit is causing huge harm to the private care system, it has been claimed.

Investor returns have become more important than quality care and workers’ pay, according to research.

Private equity, hedge funds and real estate investment trusts have brought in predatory financial techniques, justified in the name of enticing capital into a sector that the government has persistently failed to adequately fund.

Boris Johnson promised to overhaul the system, more than two years ago. He has yet to lift a finger.

That’s unless you include his government’s Covid-19 strategy that killed – what – 30,000 care home residents, at least?

Also in the news:

Charities are warning that foodbank use will rocket if the Universal Credit cut goes ahead

But the Tories have been pushing more and more people into food poverty. It is their policy.

So why would they care?

Iain Duncan Smith wants civil servants to go back to working in the office

The former Tory leader thinks it’s necessary “because there’s an ecosystem around them made up of cafes, restaurants bars, even theatres and other areas that give people jobs and without people back in their offices, going out for sandwiches, you know, coffees, etcetera that ecosystem will collapse and people will lose their jobs”.

Business chief asks Johnson to save firms from the damage done by Brexit – and goes unanswered

In response, Richard Murphy of Tax Research UK has asked why business leaders are putting up with Johnson.

A reader responded that they are probably waiting for the Tories to further reduce workers rights and financial reporting standards, while another pointed out that Johnson made his position clear three years ago when he said, “F*ck business.”

Abbott calls for end to Patel’s cruel mass deportation flights

The fourth mass deportation flight to Jamaica since the Windrush Scandal will leave the UK today (August 11), showing that Home Secretary Priti Patel and her boss Boris Johnson have learned nothing from it.

The excuse is that the deportees are all dangerous criminals – except they aren’t, according to Labour’s Diane Abbott. And they have served the sentence for their crime.

In fact, they are being subjected to double jeopardy, which should be illegal in UK law – penalising people twice for the same crime. It is imposed because the deportees are not white.

And finally:

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Greensill: civil servants told to declare unauthorised second jobs while independent inquiry move is rejected

David Cameron: he could almost be saying, “Don’t look at me! There’s a civil servant over there who stacks shelves at a supermarket because I froze her pay in 2011!”

The latest developments in the Greensill scandal show typical Tory attitudes – one rule for them and a different rule for the ‘help’.

So – as predicted by This Site – Conservative MPs have rejected a Labour plan for a full Parliamentary inquiry into lobbying by former MPs on behalf of their current employers. Instead, the government has commissioned a review, to be run by a friend of the Tories. It will be a whitewash.

Meanwhile, civil servants are being ordered to declare second jobs they have that “might conflict” with their rules. This is after repeated assertions that former procurement chief Bill Crothers’s second job with Greensill was thoroughly vetted and above-board.

It seems to This Writer that Boris Johnson is looking for someone to blame; trying to take the heat off his school chum and former colleague, David Cameron.

Of course, civil servants shouldn’t have second jobs at all, let alone second jobs that may create a conflict of interests with their duties in the interests of the nation.

But I wonder how anyone has the time. And it also seems to me that if they have managed to get away with this, then we still have to question the behaviour of government ministers who devised the rules on outside employment.

So if any civil servants – especially those in top jobs – are found to have broken the rules… and if serious conflicts of interest are discovered… then Boris Johnson is still going to have a lot of explaining to do.

Source: Greensill row: Civil servants ordered to declare second jobs – BBC News

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