Whitehall farce: Not sufficient desks to finish civil servants’ working from dwelling tradition

New figures have revealed the Division for Worldwide Commerce solely has sufficient desk house to accommodate 22% of its employees within the workplace – regardless of a authorities push to get civil servants to cease working from dwelling.

In April Cupboard Workplace minister Jacob Rees-Mogg circulated a letter to fellow ministers wherein he urged them to “ship a transparent message to civil servants in your division to make sure a speedy return to the workplace”.

However knowledge obtained by Sky Information below the Freedom of Data Act present the extent to which places of work in Whitehall are unable to offer ample desk house for all workers.

In 2022, the Division for Worldwide Commerce’s workplace in Admiralty Place had 3,151 staff and 708 desks.

The Division of Well being and Social Care’s London workplace had simply 848 desks for two,707 workers – which means there may be house to accommodate simply 31% of employees. Since 2018, the variety of staff hooked up has practically tripled, however solely ten further desks have been discovered.

The Division for Training’s Nice Smith Road headquarters has the full-time equal of two,243 staff, however only one,100 desks can be found.

In 2021, the House Workplace constructing on Marsham Road had 2,012 desks for 4,137 employees hooked up to the workplace.

Extra on Dominic Raab

The Division for Enterprise, Power and Industrial Technique (BEIS) on Victoria Road has lower than half the variety of desks required to accommodate all employees hooked up to their headquarters.

Shadow cupboard minister Rachel Hopkins stated the figures make a “mockery” of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s “futile head-counting train within the corridors of Whitehall”.

BEIS stated their employees numbers at 1 Victoria Road have elevated because the division leads on vital duties to ship “key authorities commitments”, together with the Vaccine Taskforce.

Different departments, together with the Northern Eire Workplace and Division for the Setting, Meals and Rural Affairs had related desk shortfalls.

The Cupboard Workplace refused to launch info it holds and no response was obtained from the Division for Tradition, Media and Sport or the Ministry of Defence.

Solely the Division for Work and Pensions and the Overseas Workplace reported having sufficient desk house for all employees – with 2,333 desks accessible to the two,158 employees employed on the former and three,500 desks and three,200 workers on the latter.

However regardless of the dearth of workplace house accessible throughout the remainder of Whitehall, the federal government have been pushing laborious to cut back the variety of civil servants from working at dwelling.

Sky Information understands Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab goes as far as to personally evaluate move knowledge to verify what number of civil servants are coming to work on the Ministry of Justice – which has 2,138 desks accessible for the 4,125 employees employed at its Westminster workplace.

One civil servant in his division stated to Sky Information that he “actually must have higher issues to do”.

The Ministry of Justice declined to remark however a supply stated “ministerial oversight on workplace attendance shouldn’t be uncommon and the MoJ is not any exception.”

One civil servant instructed Sky Information that whereas there may be variation between departments in some circumstances, an absence of desks meant employees had been solely allowed to work within the workplace for 3 days per week earlier than the pandemic.

One other civil servant criticised the federal government saying that “making an attempt to arbitrarily pressure full-time workplace working, which may typically be much less efficient is sort of silly, particularly when usually places of work haven’t got even house anyway”.

They stated the civil service has developed “actually efficient hybrid working patterns because of the pandemic”.

Yesterday the federal government launched an replace on the variety of civil servants working within the workplace for every division.

It confirmed simply lower than 1 / 4 of House and Overseas Workplace employees labored from the workplace final week.

Ms Hopkins stated: “These figures make a mockery of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s futile head-counting train within the corridors of Whitehall and the creepy notes he has been leaving for civil servants who’re simply making an attempt to get on with their jobs.”

She added: “Ministers must be specializing in offering actual options to the price of dwelling disaster, as an alternative of making an attempt blame their employees for the federal government’s personal incompetence.”

Responding to the figures, a authorities spokesperson stated: “The prime minister and cupboard secretary have been clear they wish to see workplace attendance throughout the civil service persistently again at pre-pandemic ranges and we have now seen vital will increase in occupancy which continues to be carefully monitored.

“There may be complete settlement throughout authorities on there being clear advantages from face-to-face, collaborative working and we all know that that is significantly essential for the training and improvement of recent and junior members of employees.”

The federal government additionally highlighted that using hybrid working preparations weren’t new and had been in place earlier than the pandemic.

They stated most departments organise house on the idea of a ratio of desks to employees that’s based mostly on the idea that not all employees will likely be within the workplace daily.


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