"Sorry you were out when I visited".
"I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon."
Minister for Brexit and Government Efficiency, Jacob Rees-Mogg has been criticised for leaving a note for civil servants. The note, which had been printed on government paper with Mr Rees-Mogg's title, was left at empty desks. Mr Rees-Mogg expects all civil servants to stop working from home.
Predictably, the likes of the unions and the Liberal Democrats got their knickers in a twist, calling the note passive/aggressive. FDA union boss, Dave Penman said the note was crass and insulting, and “undermined civil service leadership”.
Whilst true that JRM’s comments were less that subtle, were they justified? The idea of working from home is an appealing one to some. No travel times or costs, lunch in the fridge at far less cost than grabbing something from a sandwich shop or café, and the ability to work without anyone looking over their shoulder. This is all well and good if the work is getting done, but what if it isn’t?
Let’s take just one example: Looking on the government website yesterday, there is now a ten-week waiting list for a passport – and that’s the official line. Imagine deciding to go on holiday this year – the first time in a while that it has been easily attainable? If your passport ran out in the last two years, you’d now be forced to wait till the school holidays – with the sharp increase in prices – before you could realistically book anything.
Want to go before then? Fork out for an express service unavailable online, travel to a passport office and pay pretty much double the usual fee.
Taxpayers are the ones who pay these civil servants’ wages. In private enterprise they’d have been told to return to work or be replaced by someone willing to follow instructions. If the job isn’t getting done, which it clearly isn’t in a number of cases, they should get back to the office or make way for someone who can do as they’re told.
Martin Day – Party Secretary