Jacob Rees-Mogg has been criticized for leaving “rough, degrading” remarks on empty civil servants’ desks, urging them to return to the office.
The government’s efficiency minister recently called for a “quick return” of government officials to their offices in Whitehall, now COVID’s restrictions are coming to an end.
In notes he left for government officials, he wrote: “I’m sorry you were out when I visited you.
“I’m looking forward to seeing you in the office soon.”
Sky News understands that Mr Rees-Mogg’s department, the Government Office, was completely empty when he left notes.
He says it is very important for the taxpayer to see that the government is working properly and that the Whitehall estate is being used well.
Dave Penman, head of the FDA’s civil servants’ union, said Mr. Rees-Mogg “signaled virtue to his political base,” damaging the morale of civil servants.
Mr Penman told Sky News: “The fact that the Minister considers it appropriate to leave such stupid and degrading remarks to civil servants shows how detached Jacob Rees-Mogg is from government affairs.
“With each such statement and display, he shows that he has no idea how a modern workplace works and has little concern for the effective delivery of vital public services.
“Instead, it focuses on signaling the virtues of its political base and either doesn’t pay attention or just doesn’t care how it damages the morale of civil servants and the reputation of the civil service as an employer.”
Mr Penman added: “Ministers should take care of what the civil service provides, not where someone is sitting at any given time of day.
“It is time for colleagues from the Rees-Mogg cabinet to stand up for their departments and end the harmful cultural war that is being waged against the people on the government’s agenda.”
Labor chairwoman Angela Rayner wrote on Twitter: “Doesn’t Jacob Rees-Mogg have a more important thing to do than mess up and leave scary remarks for government officials? We’re not in the 18th century now.”
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Earlier this month, Mr Rees-Mogg wrote to all foreign ministers, arguing that leaving work now, after the COVID restrictions were lifted, would bring the benefits of “personal cooperation”.
He also sent ministers a table showing which ministries sent staff to office the most, with the Department of Commerce and Industry (DTI) at the top and the Department of Education at the bottom.
The league table showed how many employees from each department went to the office on the average day of the week since April 4.
The Ministry of Education averaged 25%, while the rest worked remotely, with the Ministry of Labor and Pensions 27% and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 31%.
DTI had 73% in office, followed by the Department of Health with 72% and Mr. Rees-Mogg’s department, the Government Office, with 69%.