Downing Street requirements for civil servants back to office backfires for the Department for Education brought about by the lack of desktops in staff sent home and others are forced work in “chaotic” conditions.
Officials work in cramped corridors or communal tables led to protests by civil servants’ unions Nadhimu Zahavi, secretary, who last month ordered to stop working with home after pressure from efficiency minister Jacob Rees-Mogg.
Degree of The chaos was revealed at Schools Week, which reported that Susan Acland-Hood, permanent secretary, ordered the staff spend 80% of their time in in office – despite the fact that DfE twice as many staff as there are tables.
Government officials said that first week of in new policy was “chaotic” with the staff are fussing trying to find space sit and dining tables are busy up. One described Great Smith Street DfE. office as like “subway station in rush hour after new policy has been implemented.
One said they attended the meeting on landing, describing the atmosphere as “less like west wing and more like Thick of This is”.
According to Schools Week, there are 4,200 desks in DfE. for 8000 full-time staff in its 12 offices throughout England, including just 95 tables for about 300 employees in Bristol and 24 tables for 110 employees in Leeds. It was reported that some employees of DfE’s office in Sheffield were sent home as of overcrowding as almost 1500 employees tried to use 790 tables.
As with many government departments working from home was widely practiced in DfE before the pandemic. About 60% to 70% of DfE employees usually worked from home or have flexible working hours on daily, and in last years office space shrunk to reflect this.
Mark Servotka, general secretary of union said new policy affect the recruitment and retention of staff.
“Our members worked flexibly for many years and deserve treatment with respect, not like naughty schoolchildren, – said Servotka, who wrote Zahavi on on behalf of of its members.
‘Try to shame them back in office when they worked hard and successfully in home throughout the pandemic bad enough.
“But when there are not enough desks – when there is physically no possible – looks like Action of hooligan.”
First Division Association, which represents senior civil servants, said it was “flooded” with members’ complaints.
“We also aware of members whose pre-pandemic flexible working hours are now considered unacceptable, impacting work parents and those with caregiving responsibilities,” Helen Kenny of the FDA told Schools Week.
Zahavi decision push staff back in office followed the bottom of DfE of a league Table of in Attendance per person, compiled by Rees-Mogg. Last month, it emerged that Rees-Mogg had been leaving notes. on empty desks in Whitehall as part of attempt to shame public servants back in office.
Stephen Morgan, Labour’s shadow school minister, said: “Instead of of acting as illustrious caretakers of the hall, ministers should spend their time dealing with everyday challenges children and teachers facing”.
DfE contacted for comment.