Philip Rutnam, the Home Office permanent secretary, has quit saying he has been target of a “viscious and orchestrated campaign against him”. Apparently Rutnam plans to sue the government for constructive dismissal and says what has happened is part of wider pattern in government. He’s right about the latter, they’re trying to get rid of dead wood.
His career hasn’t exactly been marked by starry success, a few more of these obstructive civil servants should go pour encourager les autres to get with the programme. He should have been fired a long time ago…
“I have this morning resigned as permanent secretary of the Home Office. I take this decision with great regret, after a career of 33 years. I’m making the statement now because I will be issuing a claim against the Home Office for constructive dismissal. In the last ten days, I had been the target of a vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign. It has been alleged that I have briefed the media against the Home Secretary. This, along with many other claims, is completely false. The Home Secretary categorically denied any involvement in this campaign to the Cabinet Office. I regret I do not believe her. She has not made the efforts I would expect to disassociate herself from the comments. Even despite this campaign, I was willing to effect a reconciliation with the Home Secretary, as requested by the Cabinet Secretary on behalf of the Prime Minister. But despite my efforts to engage with her, Priti Patel has made no effort to engage with me to discuss this. I believe that these events give me very strong grounds to claim constructive, unfair dismissal, and I will be pursuing that claim in the courts. My experience has been extreme, but I consider there is evidence that it was part of a wider pattern of behaviour.
One of my duties as Permanent Secretary was to protect the health, safety and well-being of our 35,000 people. This created tension with the Home Secretary, and I have encouraged her to change her behaviours. I have received allegations that her conduct has included shouting and swearing, belittling people, making unreasonable and repeated demands, behaviour that created fear and needed some bravery to call out. I know that resigning in this way will have very serious implications for me personally. The Cabinet Office offered me a financial settlement that would have avoided this outcome. I am also aware that there will continue to be briefing against me now I have made this decision. But I am hopeful that at least it may not now be directed towards my colleagues or the department. This has been a very difficult decision, but I hope that my stand may help in maintaining the quality of government in our country, which includes hundreds of thousands of civil servants loyally dedicated to delivering this government’s agenda. I will make no further comment at this stage.“
So why did the Cabinet Secretary have to remind civil servants about briefing against ministers? Who was briefing against the Home Secretary in a manner sympathetic to Rutnam, the permanent secretary?
The Home Office’s diversity unit is already twenty people strong, yet they are advertising for another £70,000 to £80,000 diversity and inclusion reform director. It will be the successful hire’s role to “actively promote an inclusive culture where everyone can fulfil their potential”. Guido wonders when Sir Philip Rutnam, the current Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, will fufil his potential.
The advert comes in the midst of briefing about the Home Secretary’s behaviour, accusing her of being a ‘bully’ and ‘intimidating’. Bullying in Whitehall is not seemingly constrained to the Home Office, with another advert put up last week by the Cabinet Office for a ‘Special Adviser’s HR Policy Lead’.
Reports linked this advert to Dominic Cummings’s ‘unkind’ treatment to SpAds. The PM’s Spokesman claimed it’s the result of a review launched in December 2018….
HS2 has announced the departure of its Director-General following the £170 million cancelled contract debacle. David Prout, the civil servant who had overall responsibility for the entire project for the last four years, has resigned and will take up a position at Oxford University in September. A major blow…
Guido also understands the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport, Philip Rutnam, is leaving. He will join the Home Office. The man in charge of HS2 is out, and the most senior DfT mandarin is off too. Problems growing for HS2 ahead of what will be a fiery Transport questions for Chris Grayling this morning…