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Friday 21 April 2023

FDA calls for independent inquiry in to ministerial bullying in wake of Raab investigation

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Following the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, after the Prime Minister received the report that upheld claims he bullied civil servants across a number of government departments, the FDA has called for reform of the complaints procedure and for and inquiry in to ministerial bullying.   

Responding to the news FDA General Secretary, Dave Penman, said: 

“As Dominic Raab’s resignation letter makes clear, he was guilty of bullying civil servants and, therefore, had breached the Ministerial Code. His obviously reluctant tone and dismissal of the complaints says more about his conduct than any findings will. This resignation is not a vindication of the current system, it’s a damning indictment of the inadequacy of a process that relies solely on the Prime Minister of the day to enforce standards.

“The Prime Minister may have been left with no choice today, but he still has serious questions to answer over what he knew when he appointed Raab as Deputy Prime Minister in October. The sad reality is that if he had appointed him to any other government department, his behaviour would, in all likelihood, still be going unchecked.

The FDA’s own research revealed that one in six senior civil servants had witnessed misconduct by ministers in the last 12 months alone, across more than 20 government departments. This demonstrates that Raab is not just one bad apple, and there is a wider problem with ministerial bullying than the Prime Minister wants to admit.

“Bullying blights people’s lives and careers. It also gets in the way of government working effectively and efficiently. This investigation must be the seminal moment when the Prime Minister recognises that he has a duty to protect civil servants from the misconduct of ministers, and that the current system is neither fit for purpose nor commands the confidence of the very people it is supposed to protect. A recent FDA survey showed that 70% of senior civil servants had no confidence in the system for dealing with complaints.

“Given the scale of complaints against Dominic Raab and the evidence we have produced of a wider problem, the Prime Minister must now launch an independent inquiry into ministerial bullying, along the lines of the inquiry conducted by Dame Laura Cox KC commissioned under similar circumstances in Parliament.”

On this topic the FDA has received extensive broadcast coverage including interviews on BBC Breakfast, BBC News, Newsnight, Sky News, BBC Radio 4 The World at One, Channel 4 News, ITV News, LBC, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Scotland, Times Radio, Talk TV, GB News and many more.

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