Employment news

“Hundreds of complaints about harassment” in Civil Service

A Guardian investigation has found that hundreds of civil servants have complained about sexual harassment or bullying, although only a small number have faced disciplinary action as a result.

Using a freedom of information request, the paper discovered that government departments and other public sector bodies have received over 550 complaints from staff in the past three years. Ninety-five of these employees made complaints of sexual harassment. As only twenty one departments or public bodies provided data – many claiming they were unable to supply the information in case it allowed individuals to be identified – the Guardian concluded that the true number of those who have been harassed could be higher.

It also found that the number of cases actually investigated was very low. At HMRC there were 294 bullying complaints between 2016 and 2018, but fewer than 20 individuals were the subject of disciplinary investigations in any one year. At the Crown Prosecution Service, there were “fewer than 10” complaints of bullying by female staff but no disciplinary investigations and at the Schools inspectorate Ofsted there were 13 bullying complaints since 2015 with no disciplinary action taken against staff in any of the cases,

The government has responded by saying that it had published a comprehensive review into tackling bullying and harassment earlier this year and that it had further strengthened the routes for staff to report bullying and harassment to ensure investigations are transparent and staff are fully supported.