Matt Frei speaks to former civil service head after bullying allegations

29 February 2020, 14:07

After claims of the chief of the Home Office being forced out and bringing legal action against the government, a former head of the civil service shared his views of the saga with Matt Frei.

The Home Secretary has come under fire today after the resignation of Sir Philip Rutnam from his post as the head of the Home Office.

Matt Frei was joined by former head of the Civil Service Lord Bob Kerslake to break down the news, which was described by Sir Philip as "a vicious and orchestrated campaign".

Matt wanted to know if the Home Secretary was guilty of "allegedly bullying or belittling some employees or is there something more systemic?".

Lord Kerslake was quick to dismiss the news as systematic bullying, pointing out Boris Johnson's ambitions to stamp out bullying completely.

"The prime minister sets the context" he stressed, ruling out any allegation of a system of bullying in the civil service.

The Home Secretary has come under fire after the resignation of a senior civil servant
The Home Secretary has come under fire after the resignation of a senior civil servant. Picture: PA

In an attempt to decipher the news, Lord Kerslake stated that "there will be a big piece of heart searching going on within government and in the civil service" to find the reasoning for the resignation of Philip Rutnam, who accused Priti Patel of shouting, swearing and belittling people.

Wondering about the implications of the news for the public sector in future, Matt Frei wanted to know "how damaging to the civil service is this particular episode", adding his knowledge of the American politicised system of appointing civil servants as a possible future in the sector if there are more complaints from employees.

The former Civil Service boss Lord Kerslake brushed off the suggestion, stating "anybody who has looked at the American system knows just how dysfunctional it is, we do not want to go there".

Lord Kerslake admitted the revelations will bring for an interesting couple of weeks in government and in the civil service as the court case against the government is built.