Boris Johnson orders civil servants to return to the office by end of next week


BORIS Johnson has ordered civil servants to return to the office by the end of next week.

The PM has scrapped his ‘work from home’ message in a bid to get officials back to work to clear a backlog in public services.

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Civil service chief Alex Chisolm said in a letter to all Whitehall departments that it was time to “change the default” and “accelerate the return to the workplace from August 1”, the Mail reports.

But many of Britain’s biggest businesses have told hundreds of thousands of office staff to stay at home, despite growing fears for the economy, a Mail audit revealed.

Only 10 per cent of staff at several top firms have returned to the workplace after switching to remote working during lockdown. 

Unilever, BT, and the Royal Bank of Scotland are among those who have no immediate plans to bring employees back to the office.

But Whitehall departments have been told to prepare assessments of “productivity impacts associated with remote working” and “plans to address any backlogs in service fulfilment that have built up as a result of enforced absence from office working”. 

Thousands of Brits are struggling to register births or get passports due to Covid-19 delays. 

More than 150,000 babies are thought not to have legal status because parents have been unable to register births.

Grieving families are struggling to obtain probate to wind up their dead relatives’ estates.

And holidaymakers looking to make trips abroad face huge delays in getting new passports. 

The average time taken to process applications doubled since before lockdown. 

Boris Johnson blames remote working for the backlog and has told officials he wants it cleared by the end of September. 

The PM today said people need to stop thinking coronavirus “is something that makes it impossible to do things” because it could be with the UK for another 12 months.

Instead he wants to see people’s lives return to ‘normal’, 

But an audit by the Mail found only a quarter of top firms plan to bring staff back to the office in the next two months. 

Vodafone, Facebook, Google and Coca Cola don’t intend on bringing staff back until next year.

Last week the government’s top scientist crushed the PM’s plans to get people back to the office by insisting there is “absolutely no reason” for people to stop working from home.

Sir Patrick Vallance contradicted Downing Street by saying working from home remained a “perfectly good option because it’s easy to do”. 

And Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested earlier this month that bosses could be forced to offer everyone the chance to work from home if they want to.

He said he would consider changing the law to force employers to offer staff the option after the pandemic is over. 


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