The setting of arbitrary timescales and targets for a return to civil service workplaces is wrong

5 September 2020

Outgoing Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill, in his departing letter to departmental heads, has called on more civil servants to the office.

Sir Mark called for at least 80% to be back in the office at least once a week by the end of the month.

Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of Prospect, said:

“Across the civil service we have been engaging with employers to ensure workplaces are Covid Secure and safe for staff to return to. While the majority of staff in the civil service have been working from home many Prospect members have had to attend offices and outstations, and conduct site visits due to the important operational and often safety-related work they undertake.

“Ensuring the safety of Prospect members is critical wherever they work. Discussions about staff returning to workplaces have focused on a managed and graduated return. To maintain social distancing and ensure workplaces comply with Covid Secure risk assessments, the reality is that working patterns will continue to be a blend of home and office working. Prospect is engaging with employers on this.

“Employers need to be sensitive to the concerns of staff and ensuring¬† a focus on workplace safety will be critical to building confidence. Over the past months our members have delivered magnificently despite the challenges. Prospect believes the setting of arbitrary timescales and targets is wrong and the managed and graduated approach should continue.”

Public Services

From protecting our rivers to inspecting our workplaces, Prospect members work in the public interest across a range of organisations.