Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Have the DWP read the Civil Service Management Code?

We all like to get our travel paid for if we can right? Well I do anyway. If you;re really lucky, or should I say you're in senior management you might get to travel business or even first class. It's usually based on your pay grade at the end of the day.

The same is true in the Civil Service and within Government departments. First class rail travel for example is quite heavily restricted as part of the terms and conditions of service for staff in senior grades within the senior civil service. Obviously Ministers and the officials accompanying them fall within these allowances.

Having said this though, there is, according to at least the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, a policy to encourage staff "to travel standard class where appropriate" and to also "take advantage of discounted or other cost effective travel options which may be available (e.g. special offers, day returns) wherever practical."

And then of course there is the Civil Service Management Code along with the Ministerial Code about travel. The latter of which states that "Departments and agencies must ensure that staff use the most efficient and economic means of travel".

So can someone, anyone, please tell me - in the name of all that may be Holy - how the Department of Work and Pensions managed to spend £9.48 million on first class rail travel in the past 12 months? At merely a rough estimate that must be at least 50,000 first class tickets. Do they all have weekend homes in Scotland or something and bill the tickets to the office or something?

Two things seem likely, they've either not read, or are choosing to ignore the rules written down about finding the cheapest alternatives available.


Anonymous said...

Possibly there may be a lot of Chiefs & few Indians.

But seriously, where are the NAO in all this?

Jon Worth said...

It's probably a combination of 2 things: too many people taking first class, and also the DWP having offices spread all over the place and hence loads of travel - a proportion of it is probably not necessary.

Anyway, look on the bright side: at least they are not flying.

dizzy said...

At least you concede it is probably somewhat excessive. It's worth noting that BERR only managed to spend £1.2million and that is pretty big department too.

Anonymous said...

"But seriously, where are the NAO in all this?"

Perusing the dessert trolley.

Anonymous said...

There will always be times when face-to-face meetings are necessary, but given this is the era of telephone conferencing, how many of their journeys were really necessary anyway, 1st class or not.

Anonymous said...

It's pointless even thinking that this is anything other than the natural order of things in any system without an underlying profit motive.

You might just as well ask Call Me Dave to change his message without first spelling out to him some underlying political motives (sometimes known as principles).

Both Call Me Dave and the Civil Servants are doing their best in the circs. Headless chickens really.

Who will rid us of these turbulent plonkers.

Answers on a postage stamp to:


Note to PC Plod (Canterbury Branch) this is a light hearted reference to an historical event that took place centuries ago and not an invitation to murder. On the other hand......