One in eight civil servants 'bullied'

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Indy Politics

More than one in eight staff in several major Whitehall departments have protested they have been bullied, intimidated or suffered discrimination in the past year. Thousands of civil servants have also complained that they were unfairly treated, poorly led and over-worked.

The Government has attempted to stamp out victimisation and combat racial and sexual prejudice in Whitehall. But a series of staff surveys published yesterday found a significant minority of civil servants still complaining about their treatment.

Most worrying for ministers are the numbers who say they have been intimidated by managers in the past 12 months. Fifteen per cent of staff at the Department for Education and Skills, which has been under pressure over Tony Blair's school reforms, said they had been treated in a way they would describe as "bullying or harassment".

At the Home Office, involved in changes to the immigration and criminal justice system, 14 per cent of civil servants complained of bullying, 11 per cent of harassment and 13 per cent of discrimination because of their sex, race, social class or pay grade.

Fourteen per cent of staff at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which struggled with carbon emission targets, said they had been bullied, while only 44 per cent said they would feel safe reporting harassment. Nearly a quarter of staff at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said they had witnessed "occurrences of unfair treatment", and 10 per cent said they had been bullied in the past year.

Only 10 per cent of staff at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which was rocked by David Blunkett's resignation as Secretary of State last year, said they had confidence in their department's senior managers. Just one in five said they felt valued in their job at the DWP, while only one in four at the Home Office (26 per cent) described their morale as high.

The Cabinet Office, which released the figures, said the survey was helpful as departments could use it to make improvements. But the Public and Commercial Services Union said: "Worryingly ... a large proportion of people have no confidence in senior management."