Civil Serf – what went wrong
There’s been a lot of discussion across the blogosphere, and in the press, about the disappearance of the Civil Serf blog yesterday. The Sunday Times and the Sunday Telegraph both published articles about Civil Serf and shortly afterwards the blog disappeared.I’ve been quite taken aback by the response. You’d think some terrible contravention of human rights had occurred the way people have been talking about it.The facts are simple, Civil Serf crossed the line. The Civil Service Code is clear about integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality being critical to acting as a civil servant. Even if all she’s guilty of is being indiscreet, then she’s certainly not acted in the spirit of the code.
If you work for an organisation, any organisation, and choose to criticise it anonymously (but leave enough clues to identified) you are asking for trouble (this isn’t the first time I said that). End of.
The fact that the person in question is a civil servant does not make it in the public interest to ‘lift the lid on Whitehall’, because a civil servant is more aware than most of their terms and conditions of employment and why they’re important. So they have less excuses if they do cross the line.
For the record, I enjoyed reading the blog. I recognised the tone but 1. although its not my experience, I know some colleagues sympathised more and 2. Working in any large bureauocracy (public or private) is frustrating. Its easy to single out the public sector but its a pretty obvious target.
Obviously I think civil servants are absolutely in their rights to blog their thoughts, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing what I do here. But that right needs to be placed in context whoever you work for.