On Saturday The Times revealed Samantha Jones is planning on stripping dozens of senior staff of their desks in No. 10, moving them into the Cabinet Office. The paper reported one Whitehall source saying “No one is happy” and another who said morale among No. 10 staff is at “rock bottom” as staff face this latest shakeup alongside the police investigation. Guido suspects these miffed members of staff may not be speaking on everyone’s behalf…
Samantha Jones is now trying to turn morale around; for example, a new ‘smiley face system’ using push button “happiness machines” has been introduced to allow staff to show how happy they are:
That’s not all: Jones has also created a new section on the intranet called “Building hurrays!”. This pioneering HR strategy allows staff to leave anonymous praise for colleagues (and, in many cases, Larry the cat). Following Saturday’s Times story, one staffer quietly added a note of thanks to former legislative affairs head Nikki da Costa, who spent much of the weekend tweeting about how ill-conceived Jones’s idea is:
I expect there may be soreness that the Times somehow got a readout, and somebody could deliver an office wide b*****king tomorrow. It may be cathartic but it won't be effective, unless the deeper problems are acknowledged and addressed, and staff are invited into the tent /end— Nikki da Costa (@nmdacosta) March 13, 2022
The trolling staffer wrote that da Costa should be thanked for “consistently speaking up for ordinary, hardworking but oft-ignored staff across No. 10″. It managed to stay up for a few days before someone higher up noticed and took it down…
Are the anti-Jones briefers any more than a noisy minority? Another No. 10 source defends the new permanent secretary describing her as a “comfort blanket and part of the solution. Not the problem”, citing her always having sweets on her desk for visitors. As a former nurse her allies praise her for pairing a bedside manner with a toughness built up via her stint in the IDF. Perhaps certain disgruntled staff will settle down when the Metropolitan Police get their questionnaire reviews out of the way…
“Action to accelerate the defining mission of the Prime Minister to level up the country has taken a step forward today, with the appointment of a new Permanent Secretary and Chief Operating Officer to improve the Number 10 operation.
The Cabinet Secretary, with the approval of the Prime Minister, has announced the immediate appointment of Samantha Jones as interim Permanent Secretary.
Currently the Prime Minister’s Expert Advisor on NHS Transformation and Social Care, Samantha will bring considerable management experience, including over 15 years leading organisations in both the public and private sector. This includes senior leadership experience as Chief Executive of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust.
In line with plans to create a new Office of the Prime Minister she will be the first Chief Operating Officer for Downing Street, reviewing structures and operations in No 10 before a competition is launched to appoint the position permanently.”