UK Civil servants to work from home during Olympics
Working from home all the time, would save £billions in office space and travel time......
The government has defended plans to let civil servants work from home during the London Olympics, insisting staff will not use it as an opportunity to shirk their normal duties.
From July 21 -- six days before the opening ceremony -- until the Paralympic closing ceremony on September 9, ministries will allow staff to work from home to avoid the widely anticipated bottlenecks on London's transport system.
But the policy has prompted criticism from at least one business group, who said it would lead to the government working only "intermittently" for seven weeks.
A spokesman for the Department of Transport stressed that working from home was just one of a range of "flexible working arrangements" available to civil servants.
"In some cases, working from home is an option, but it is only one option," the spokesman said.
"It is not appropriate for all staff. In every case, staff will be expected to work just as hard and for the same amount of hours as if they were in the office.
"We are encouraging staff to plan ahead and consider different work and travel patterns during the Games," he added.
Row erupts between head of civil service and Cameron's policy adviser over plans to slash the number of public sector workers
A row has broken out between the head of the civil service and ministers over plans to reform Whitehall by slashing the number of public sector workers.
Sir Bob Kerslake has publicly rejected suggestions by ministers that civil servants are ‘lazy’ and has hit back at reports that his staff will be cut by between 70 and 90 per cent.
Meanwhile, a meeting between the mandarin and David Cameron’s policy adviser Steve Hilton ended in Mr Hilton storming out in apparent frustration.
Revealing his thoughts on Twitter last week, Sir Bob described a meeting with Education Department staff, saying: ‘Really enjoyed talking to DfE staff yesterday. Lots of good, challenging questions.
Rebutted recent rubbish about “lazy” civil servants.’ He added: ‘For the avoidance of doubt there are absolutely no plans to cut the civil service by either 70 or 90 per cent.’
Ian Watmore resigns as permanent secretary in Cabinet Office
Ian Watmore, permanent secretary in the Cabinet Office, and one of the three men at the head of the civil service, has resigned and will leave the civil service at the end of June.
Watmore, who has headed up the Cabinet Office Efficiency and Reform Group since June 2010, was made permanent secretary in October 2011, when previous incumbent Sir Jeremy Heywood stepped up to succeed Lord O'Donnell as cabinet secretary. Sir Bob Kerslake was appointed at the same time as part-time head of the civil service.
In a statement on the Cabinet Office website, Watmore was thanked for his contribution to civil service reform by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who said Watmore had helped government departments deliver billions of pounds in savings as a result of tough cross-Whitehall controls on spending.
Kerslake said he greatly valued Watmore's support and the strides that had been made in transparency, procurement and eradicating waste in public spending. Heywood, who said he had worked closely with Watmore over the past two years in particular, said Watmore had established the Cabinet Office as a "genuine centre of excellence in driving efficiency and reform across government".
The civil service is not a punchbag for ministers
The immediate focus is the government's long-awaited civil service reform plan, due next month. The discussions have been enlivened by the often brutal iconoclasm of Steve Hilton, the prime minister's strategy adviser, who has just started a year-long sabbatical in California. He advocates a much smaller civil service, all fitting into Somerset House, and he has clashed with civil service leaders who regard some of his views as naive. But many of his underlying frustrations are shared by ministers. However, the new civil service leadership, Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, and Sir Bob Kerslake, the head of the civil service, fully accept that more big cuts and reforms have to happen – even though there has been vigorous debate over the extent and details.
Get a beer to stagger trips during London Olympics, says transport chief 'Go for a beer' to help space out your journey during the London 2012 Games travellers are advised.
said he was confident the transport network would be able to cope, if everyone took time to plan their journey.
Mr Hendy added: ‘With forethought and care about when you use the transport system, it will work out all right. I have never seen anyone in a Tube station for half an hour – go for a beer.’
London flat available to rent during 2012 Olympics for £37,500 a week Property rental prices in London are notoriously high but, even by the capital’s standards, shelling out £37,500 a week is steep. That’s how much it’ll cost you to rent this five-floor house in Greenwich, south London, during the Olympics this summer.