6 August 2021

PCS responds to inaccurate media reports about civil servants and returning to the office 

Throughout the unprecedented global Covid-19 pandemic, PCS has always prioritised the safety of its members.  

Therefore, at the height of the pandemic which led to more than 150,000 deaths in the UK alone, we came up with 5 safety tests and negotiated homeworking for the majority of our members. 

This included making sure staff were supplied with the right equipment to do their jobs so they could work from home. 

Alongside this, many civil servants whose jobs could not be done from home were attending workplaces and have been throughout the pandemic.  

Both sets of workers have been serving the public and keeping society functioning.  

In terms of public service delivery, this has been an overwhelming success, with vital Universal Credit payments processed by DWP staff and the furlough scheme rolled out by workers in HMRC. 

Our members were rightly lauded by the government as heroes for their efforts.

The chancellor Rishi Sunak himself has credited civil servants for keeping the country going by working successfully from their “kitchens and living rooms” throughout the pandemic.  

It is nothing short of a disgraceful and libellous slur for some journalists to depict hard-working and diligent civil servants as somehow “shirking” or “twiddling their thumbs” because they are currently working from home.  

It flies in the face of the facts and that government ministers have themselves publicly recognised the extraordinary efforts civil servants and other public sector workers have made during the pandemic.  

PCS continues to have intensive and productive discussions with the Cabinet Office on future working arrangements.  

We are pressing them to prevent any large-scale return of staff to offices until it is demonstrably safe to do so; and even then to not return to the pre-pandemic world – we want maximum choice and flexibility for workers going forward, including homeworking where desired. The pandemic has proven that this is eminently achievable while maintaining service delivery.