Thousands in Whitehall complain of harassment

More than 30,000 civil servants claim to have been bullied or harassed at work over the last year, according to the biggest internal survey ever to be carried out across Whitehall.

The results of the research, which involved 340,000 members of staff, emerged as Gordon Brown faced accusations that he had bullied workers within his office.

One in 10 employees from 96 Government organisations has complained of bullying, with a quarter blaming their managers for the harassment. The head of the union for civil service mandarins said ministers and their advisers were guilty of regularly berating staff.

"Too often politicians have little idea about what is acceptable in a modern workplace, and the behaviour of some ministers and special advisers does fall short of what is acceptable on occasions," said Jonathan Baume, the general secretary of the Whitehall union, the First Division Association. "The civil servants concerned generally either have to grin and bear it whilst the minister or special adviser remains in office, or seek a transfer."

Sir Gus O'Donnell, the head of the Civil Service, said the launch of the survey showed that Whitehall was "taking its responsibility to ensure staff are properly engaged very seriously".