The Government has ordered civil servants who work from home to return to their desks by the next week to make maximum use of government offices.
Minister Steve Barclay, Cabinet Office minister, confirmed that all departments should prepare to receive their staff back in order to support the recovery from the pandemic.
This comes just after Boris Johnson, who updated the Commons about the removal of Covid-19 Plan B Measures and declared on Wednesday that the end to working-from home guidance was imminent.
Even though the Prime Minister (pictured) urged officials to “show a leader,” a Daily Mail audit revealed that only 3% of employees were present in some departments.
Later, he said that Whitehall must show leadership and ensure everyone goes back to work.
A Daily Mail audit revealed that only a small percentage of civil servants had been at their desks yesterday, in spite of Government pleas.
However, last night Mr Barclay (Chancellor of Lancaster) reiterated that the Prime Minister asked civil servants be the ones to take the initiative amid concerns about city centers becoming ‘ghost cities’ due to the fact that many people still work remotely.
Mr Barclay stated that “Now, we’re learning to live and breathe with Covid” and had lifted Plan B. He suggested that it was time to abandon reliance on video conferences and return to face-to-face collaborative work.
“I am grateful to Civil Service for handling the difficulties of the last two years.
At the seven-floor headquarters of the Department for Education, in Westminster, a total of 63 employees were recorded – 3 per cent of the 2,000 members of staff the building accommodated prior to the pandemic
“It’s important to see that our offices are used as efficiently and effectively from the next week, in order for us to make a full recovery following the outbreak of the pandemic.
Union leaders immediately dismissed demands for Whitehall employees to resume “normal work patterns” as irresponsible.
According to the FDA, which is composed of senior civil servants and other officials, the workplace has ‘changed dramatically’.
Dave Penman, union general secretary, made a comment that caused uproar and said it was “insulting” to try to get officials back in the office.
Steve Barclay from Cabinet Office (pictured), has confirmed that the Cabinet Office will be preparing for the return of all employees in an effort to speed up the economy’s recovery following the pandemic.
In Westminster, the offices of Treasury house 880 staff from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Between 7.30 and 11 AM yesterday, there were 132 persons who entered the main entrance.
The government hopes that the return of office work will result in economic benefits to town center businesses such as sandwiches shops, bars and restaurants which were destroyed by lockdowns.
According to plans to shrink the Government estate by 2030 Whitehall might only be able accommodate half of its civil servants.
The ‘State of the Estate’ report, published by the Government Property Agency last month, also revealed buildings in the Whitehall ‘campus’ currently cost £621million a year to run.
Mail’s audit is a clear example of why he was forced to do so
Many civil servants were absent yesterday, despite repeated Government appeals to the nation to return to normal.
Even though the Prime Minister asked officials to show leadership, only 3 percent of some department staff showed up at their desks, according to an audit by Daily Mail.
With civil servants being ordered to return their offices next week, the Government now has signaled a crackdown.
Kwasi Kwarteng, Business secretary, called for people to get back to work yesterday. Only 142 out of the possible 1,800 workers turned up yesterday at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, between 7.30am and 11:00am.
At the seven-floor headquarters of the Department for Education, in Westminster, a total of 63 employees were recorded – 3 per cent of the 2,000 members of staff the building accommodated prior to the pandemic.
Local tour guides claimed that the streets nearby had been deserted for several weeks.
Only 142 out of 1,800 possible workers turned up at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy yesterday between 7:30am and 11 AM.
Only 94 workers arrived for work at Caxton House, Department for Work and Pensions. One hundred and fifty-eight employees can be accommodated in the seven-storey structure.
The number was only a slight improvement on when reporters monitored the same building for two days in July 2020 – prior to the vaccine rollout and when the virus was much more of an unknown quantity.
In Westminster, the Treasury also houses around 880 staff from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Today, there were 132 visitors to the main entrance. They arrived between 7:30 and 11 AM. It can hold up to 2200 employees.
The Mail only recorded 94 workers arriving at the Department for Work and Pensions Caxton House site through the main entrance
A Government official supported the turnout and said: “We are not yet at our full capacity but it’s only the first day. Isn’t that right?”
Yesterday, the Ministry of Justice received more visitors than any other department.
However, it was not likely that the 278-person staff would be able to fill 14 floors shared with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Government Legal Department.
Around 3% of London’s staff arrived at North Tyneside’s HM Revenue and Customs Building, which has a capacity of 6,500.
Only a handful of people arrived at the Swansea Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency Headquarters.
Tom Hunt, Conservative MP for Ipswich said, ‘It goes unavoidable that civil servants must return to their offices. The reason they are not returning to work is, at the very best, questionable.