Nadine Dorries has criticised Jacob Rees-Mogg, the minister liable for Brexit alternatives and authorities effectivity, of foisting a “Dickensian” approach to working from home on the civil service.
Rees-Mogg, who has beforehand been referred to as “the honourable member for the 18th century” has written to cupboard ministers urging them to coerce employees right into a “rapid return to the office” and has been leaving notes in empty Whitehall workspaces with the message: “I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon.”
Rees-Mogg offered figures to cupboard final week displaying that some authorities departments had been utilizing as little as 25% of office capability in early April. Dorries’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was at 43%.
The tradition secretary stated Rees-Mogg’s letter to authorities departments introduced to thoughts “images of burning tallow, rheumy eyes and Marley’s ghost” in reference to Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.
She stated: “There’s a whiff of something Dickensian about it. Why are we measuring bodies behind desks? Why aren’t we measuring productivity?”
The Times reported that a number of different cupboard ministers had reservations concerning the plans to drive civil servants again to the office, and that some everlasting secretaries had additionally raised issues.
Dorries and Rees-Mogg have beforehand disagreed concerning the want to return to locations of labor after the lifting of coronavirus restrictions. But a authorities supply instructed the PA information company that the dispute between the 2 was “good natured”.
Dave Penman, common secretary of the FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, stated Rees-Mogg’s approach would imply that “good people will leave and the civil service brand is trashed in a highly competitive employment market”.
He stated: “It sends a signal that he simply does not understand how modern offices work. He doesn’t understand … what’s happening across the economy, not just in the public sector.”
Rees-Mogg used a Mail on Sunday article to say officers might lose the London weighting on their pay or see their jobs moved elsewhere in the event that they weren’t at their desks.
“Those who are at their desks every day seem to be younger, hardworking and ambitious civil servants, often renting house-shares in London for whom the office provides the right environment for work.
“Meanwhile, others enjoy the fruits of their London weighting at home in the shires. As the minister responsible for government property, it is my job to ensure the government estate is run efficiently and commercially. Empty offices are a cost to the taxpayer.
“Essentially, if people are not back in their office it will be fair to assume that the job does not need to be in London,” he stated.
Internal HR insurance policies obtained by the Daily Mail stated working remotely couldn’t be used as a method to keep away from paying for childcare or put in fewer hours, and that there could be penalties if individuals’s efficiency was discovered to be struggling.
Oliver Dowden, chairman of the Conservative get together, defended Rees-Mogg’s approach in a Sky News interview.
He stated: “As we learn to live with Covid, I think if we really want to serve the British people best, one of the things we need to do is have that collaboration, that kind of sharing ideas that comes from working in the office.
“So, Jacob’s efforts are driven by getting the very best value for taxpayers and I support him in doing that.”