BEIS Staff Spent 5 Working Weeks Debating How to Quit Stonewall

Following Guido’s report that taxpayers coughed up over £1.2 million to Stonewall in 2021/22, including a whopping £700,000 for the “Diversity Champions Scheme”, Guido can now reveal that BEIS civil servants spent 5 weeks of staff time just to figure out how to leave it. A full 185 hours… only for the government to hand over £1.2 million anyway.

According to new FOI data from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, the department held 16 meetings in total, lasting over 8 hours, with a total of 362 staff in attendance across the discussions. Yes, 362 staff spending weeks scratching their heads over this impossible task. A task which, judging by the million-pound hole in the taxpayer’s wallet, they failed anyway… 

Last year, Guido reported on the panicked “crisis meetings” the Department for Levelling Up and the Department for Health held to solve the same problem. FOI requests were also sent to BEIS at the same time. Back then, they simply ignored the request entirely. Wonder why…

Such was Stonewall’s iron grip on Whitehall that even BEIS Permanent Secretary, Sarah Munby, had to get involved. Clearly the top 362 civil servants working on this weren’t up to the job. Munby had to hold a town hall meeting, lasting 30 minutes, to figure out how to stop burning cash on turning staff into “diversity champions”. That meeting was attended by 275 people, and during working hours. Obviously.

mdi-timer 19 January 2023 @ 12:56 19 Jan 2023 @ 12:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Grant Shapps Clashes with Darren Jones in Testy Committee Hearing

Sparks flew at the Business Select Committee hearing this afternoon, as BEIS Secretary Grant Shapps clashed with Committee Chair Darren Jones over the state of the economy. Jones even accused Shapps of being “rude [and] inappropriate” for interrupting him:

“You don’t seem to want to have a discussion based on data around the performance of your department in terms of economic growth…”

A testy Grant Shapps later apologised for failing to bring “a nine-point plan” with him. Handbags…

mdi-timer 13 December 2022 @ 15:39 13 Dec 2022 @ 15:39 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BEIS Sets Up Vegan Safe Space

With snowflake civil servants busy briefing against Raab, it begs the question: what sort of work environment do these work-shy, overpaid members of the blob actually want? BEIS has gone some way to painting that picture, as an internal memo this week announced the launch of a new vegan safe space for employees:

The BEIS Vegan Network is safe and friendly space to discuss and share all things related to veganism.

The Network aims to improve the understanding of veganism across BEIS, improve the workplace experience for vegans and act as a networking and social platform for its members. The Network is open to all colleagues, including vegans…”

Guido anticipates the discussion group will not be taking place outside of work hours, given the blob’s past record…

mdi-timer 16 November 2022 @ 14:00 16 Nov 2022 @ 14:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Government’s Mixed Messaging on Major Energy Announcement

Guido is giving the government the benefit of the doubt over its planned “review” of Sizewell C. According to the BBC, a spokesperson said they are “reviewing every major project”, including the new nuclear power plant, as Jeremy hunts for £25 billion in spending cuts. Scrapping a route to energy independence shouldn’t be on the menu…

BEIS, however, suggest this is overblown, and “one large-scale” plant is still likely to go ahead:

“HS2 is under way, within budget, and supporting 28,000 jobs, we are also seeking to approve at least one large-scale nuclear project in the next few years and aim to speed up the delivery of around 100 major infrastructure projects across the UK.”

As Jim Pickard points out, this is obviously a reference to Sizewell, although it’s not clear on the timings. The government also indicate that Sizewell is likely safe because scrapping it would undermine decarbonisation plans. Either way, pulling the plug because it will “take years to build” would be straight out of the Nick Clegg playbook. Go nuclear, go large

UPDATE: Government spokesperson confirms Sizewell C is NOT being scrapped.

mdi-timer 4 November 2022 @ 10:33 4 Nov 2022 @ 10:33 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Truss Gives Union Policy Back to Cabinet Office, ‘Brexit Opportunities’ Moves to BEIS

Liz Truss has just published a written statement on the Machinery of Government, which sets out a key reversal to Boris’s last reshuffle. When Gove was moved from the Cabinet Office to Levelling Up he took two key planks of his old department’s remit with him: the Union, and elections. Truss’s statement today announces that Union policy is moving back into the Cabinet Office, under the responsibility of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Nadhim Zahawi. It appears elections policy is staying with DLuHC…

This will allow the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to lead the UK Government’s engagement with the Devolved Administrations and drive forward cross-Government efforts to deliver tangible improvements for people across the UK, working closely with the Territorial Offices.

The written statement also confirms that Jacob Rees-Mogg’s old Brexit Opportunities portfolio is following him over to BEIS, bringing together “work to tackle EU red tape, seize post-Brexit opportunities and efforts to ensure the regulatory and business environment enables the UK to attract investment and boost growth.” Will the reshuffle never end?

mdi-timer 11 October 2022 @ 14:00 11 Oct 2022 @ 14:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
BEIS Hold Departmental Sports Day During Energy Crisis

In just under a month, the energy price cap will rise to £3,549 per year. By next year, it could be £5,000, £6,000, or higher. Figures that would make lesser government departments sweat. Fortunately, not so at BEIS: today it’s their departmental sports day – held on a paid work day rather than on the weekend. Rest assured, civil servants are safely away from their desks, instead soaking in the last of the summer sunshine with all the fun and games befitting a Department charged with tackling an energy crisis. 

It seems mandarins are already aware of the bad optics. Guido hears the Department has already cooked up a few decent excuses for letting their staff do no work, including pointing out that other departments have had their own sports days already – so why should BEIS miss out on the action – and that employees happen to really enjoy being paid by the taxpayer to have fun. Managers approving days off to run around a field proves popular with staff? Stop the presses…

mdi-timer 2 September 2022 @ 15:48 2 Sep 2022 @ 15:48 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Previous Page Next Page