The civil service isn’t just absurd in its timing but a denigration of hard-working staff. My office, like every other MPs office, has been inundated over recent years, not just months with requests for assistance from constituents. From the Foreign Office when covid first afflicted through DVLA and now to Passport Office there’s been real worry and concern.
It’s not been down to idling staff and certainly not as a result of a surfeit of numbers. The complexity of issues that arose and the added difficulties of homeworking were no doubt the main reason. Industrial action and other factors have compounded it, but it’s seen parliamentarians staff requiring to use dedicated channels to try and resolve matters.
To be fair that’s almost invariably done, and the civil servants at government itself or in those agencies, have been obliging and helpful. However, it has required MPs staff to get on the phone early and wait in a queuing system before being able to speak to someone.
Those have just been the organisations where there’s been a real spike in demand, the work with others whether Home Office, DWP, HMRC or whoever has been constant. Again, when approached the staff have provided assistance and explanation.
Of course, as in every line of work there’ll be the odd individual who’s frankly at it. Tales of chancers apparently catching Covid for the eighth or nineth time are legion and frankly unacceptable. But that applies in every sector not just the civil service and affecting private employers just as much. Dealing with them is down to management and will often have the support of other workers who after all have had to cover for their shirking.
For some Tories the public sector is almost an anathema. But the UK civil service isn’t some Sovietesque job creation scheme with thousands simply on the payroll but with no work to do. There’s bright minds devising policy and others simply trying to cope with volume of demand. Outsourcing the work, as that’s what would be required, might suit Tory ideology in reduced terms and conditions of employment and the enrichment of friends and donors as with PPE, but it would leave the rest of us worse off.