Home Office spent £370,000 on settling top civil servant's Patel bullying claim

8 July 2021, 22:34 | Updated: 8 July 2021, 23:16

Priti Patel was accused of bullying by Sir Philip Rutnam
Priti Patel was accused of bullying by Sir Philip Rutnam. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Home Office spent more than £370,000 to settle a top civil servant's tribunal claim after he quit amid allegations of Priti Patel's bullying, accounts confirm.

Former permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam accepted the six-figure sum earlier this year after launching legal action against the Home Secretary.

He dramatically resigned in February last year, accusing Ms Patel of a "vicious and orchestrated" briefing campaign against him, claiming constructive dismissal and accusing her of bullying subordinates.

An employment tribunal was due to hear his case in September.

The Home Office's annual report and accounts for 2020-21 confirm he received a payout of £340,000 plus legal costs - taking the spend to at least £370,000 plus VAT of an anticipated £6,000.

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Although the figures were previously reported, neither Sir Philip's representatives nor the department would publicly disclose the amount at the time.

The document, published on Thursday, said: "Sir Philip Rutnam resigned from his post as Permanent Secretary of the Home Office on 29 February 2020 and subsequently began legal proceedings against the department.

"On 4 March 2021, the Home Office and Sir Philip signed an agreement to settle these proceedings. As part of this settlement, the Home Office made a special payment of £340,000. A contribution to his legal costs was also made of £30,000 plus VAT."

A Government spokesperson said: “The Government and Sir Philip’s representatives jointly concluded it was in both parties’ best interests to reach a settlement rather than continuing to prepare for an Employment Tribunal.

“The Government does not accept liability in this matter and it was right that we defended the case.”