Sunday, July 05, 2009

Civil Servant Loses Job Over Blog Comment

The Telegraph is reporting that a junior civil servant has been sacked for leaving an anonymous blog comment on criticising Hazel Blears over her flipping. Read the full story HERE.

Does this strike you as being a bit over the top? What it implies is that there is an army of civil service snoopers tracing anonymous blog comments all over the internet and then trying to trace them back to government employees. I am not sure how they do this, but no doubt someone out there can enlighten me.

Anyway, even if the civil servant concerned, Lisa Greenwood, has contravened the civil service code - and she wasn't even employed in Hazel Blears's department - surely a written warning could have sufficed.

UPDATE: Curioser and curioser. TheyWorkForYou have denied that this woman ever left a comment on their site.


Anonymous said...

From what you've told us, this would appear to be an appalling effort to cow the entire civil service.

Surely civil servants should be allowed their own private political views and an anonymous comment can reflect those views?

Even if she left the comment in work time, employers generally offer employees access to the web or personal use so long as that use doesn't impinge on their ability to do the work they are employed to do.

For the sake of consistency, I trust we'll be firing those civil servants in the PM's office who did the dirty work on Blears after her 'youtube if you want to' article was published...

Cynic said...

Isn't it politically impartial to criticise a Minister (ie holding public office) who flipped her home then had to pay money back?

She should sue for unfair dismissal on the basis that Ministers who have been shown to be dishonest kept their jobs while she was sacked for complaining. As she's unemployed, can she get legal aid?


Good on you for bringing this up!

It is shocking IMO!

Labour seem to have screwed the civil service to being a political tool of the Labour party that will tolerate no indepedent thought even on expenses!

It is like Labour have not realised the anger of the people, whether in public or private sector on this issue! I dont reguard the posting or comment of this type as political campaigning. It is wrong and extreame for someone to lose their job over this and the individual probably has a good case for reinstatement!

I know what i would like to say to Gordon Browns Government on this! It would involve a few expletives! How dare they! I hope Hazel Blears, who is now no longer the minister will condemn this over the top reaction against freedom of speech!

Anonymous said...

The post was anonymous. Anybody viewing it would have had no knowledge of whence it came.

How can that translate to her bringing the Department in to disprepute?

More significant;y, what is the point of having an "anonymous" option, if it can be traced?

Which blog owner is going to be the first to guarantee "anonymous" posters that their identity cannot be traced?

Anonymous said...

It will have been traced on the department's servers - key logging

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that there was a procedure for the dismissal of an employee, which include verbal warning, written warning and as a last resort dismissal.

KP said...

anybody who has any expecation of privacy for their internet access at work is very foolish

although she does have my sympathy given what she said

Im surprised civil service rent a quote PCS union leader serwotka hasnt said anything. although she may have not been in union I suppose.

Sandy Jamieson said...

Of course, she's got to be sacked. A Civil Servant criticising a Labour, a Labour Minister. Next thing she might even think of voting Tory. She'll have to go. More might think of doing so.

KP said...

having now read the article and seen she has only been there 7 months, under our current employment laws she cannot sue DCSF for unfair dismissal except in cases of sex discrim

Praguetory said...

I smell a reinstate Lisa campaign. Has anybody else noticed that this is Ed Balls department?

Anonymous said...

Is it an Ed Balls department?

If it is i will be interestead to see him jiggle under the spotlight!

JuliaM said...

"I am not sure how they do this..."

From the story, it appears she made the comment using her private email, then when it bounced back, made it again and used her business email!

They didn't need to be Sherlock Holmes, did they..?

Uncle Albert said...

"A DCFS spokesman said Miss Greenwood had been found guilty of gross misconduct and had brought the Government department into disrepute."

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

VotR said...

If she posted from work, she is screwed. Her own IT staff will have all the evidence it needs. Since the blog entry was traced back to her work email address, 'they' have all they need to dismiss for gross misconduct. She will be lucky to get benefits without a six month wait.

If she posted that from home, then she should be even more worried.

Freedom of speech means nothing to managements. They have their own necks to protect. I hope the axe falls on the lot of them, especially in light that MPs have nothing to brag about on moral grounds after the expenses debacle and scandal, especially Flipping Blears.

Poor girl, I hope she gets some support for slagging off the former minister. She did have some justification, after all.

peter_dtm said...

well surprise surprise

they have already successfully banned members of a legal political party from being members of the police service; fire service etc.

Triad to make being an MP in possession of information damaging to the labour party an arrestable offence.

The labour party is seriously out of control.

When are the tories & the libdems work out that the longer that those miserable b%%stards stay in power the worse it will be for ALL polticians

Chris Paul said...

On the face of it this looks terrible and with very good prospects for a wrongful dismissal case.

But does anyone know how much time this worker was spending online for non-work purposes per day, per week, per month?

If this was a one off and five minutes during a lunchbreak that would be one thing. If she were spending half her time on blogs and websites of no connection with her work role THAT would be gross misconduct and a cause for summary dismissal.

The sequence of any universal reminders on conduct and performance would also be of interest.

The disrepute bit doesn't make much sense over this anonymous comment, but again one wonders whether that is the extent of the problem or not.

Were there any other disciplinary issues and warnings for matters not directly related to this particular matter?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like another real vote-winner story for this government. (Not!)

Just draws attention to their shortcomings. Why expect fair treatment from a civil service that has become a political tool of Nu-Lab?

Praguetory said...

Nice to see that Chris Paul is keen to make unsubstantiated smears on behalf of the government.

DirectGulp said...

In the part of the public sector that I work for there is no way to trace people leaving anonymous comments automatically.

Sure, they can see what websites you've visited and see that you've left a comment or two, but only after a manager has requested the IT department carry out this work. For that to happen the person leaving the comments would have made it known to somebody that it was them and that person probably told somebody else and before you know it a jumped up manager has got wind...

So far as I am aware, there is no mechanism in place to pro-actively monitor and then react to comments. This is the Government that collects valuable customer data for the scrappage scheme by asking manufacturers to email them in a spreadsheet - this is not secure and a disaster waiting to happen. I doubt they can watch social media activity and in a proactive way. It would just require too much resource.

From tomorrow the sector that I work in is blocking access to all social network sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and so forth in what I might half-jokingly call an Iranian-style crackdown. Are they doing it to stop people posting things?

They would say it is for security and productivity. However, it's been OK until now and then suddenly they start sacking people and I see there's also the news about this MI6 chappie's wife and her Facebook usage...

It all sounds a bit dodgy to me. What's wrong with public sector employees using these sites? - Just like in the private sector it should be a disciplinary action if you take the Michael - but most workplaces are happy for staff to use these things sensibly. If I recall rightly, I remember reading some reports somewhere that it can actually improve productivity and engender trust and respect between employer and employee.

Alas, I digress... There is definitely something going on. There is a crackdown happening for one reason or another.

strapworld said...

Whilst this story is another example of how this Government is communistic in its approach.

However, The shocking story is yet another British Serviceman has been murdered in Afghanistan. That is five in the last week.

When will the Conservative Party start asking about the equipment our soldiers are getting. The vehicles are still death traps and we have been told so many times that they are to be (or HAVE) been upgraded, yet they are still being blown to bits!

IF we cannot afford to protect our troops with the best equipment, then we have to bring them home.

I speak as a father of a son in the army. He has served in Iraq and Afghanistan and, luckily, his number did not come up. BUT it is about time our politicians asked just what is the point?

It took the Russians 10 years and had to admit defeat. How long and how many fine young lives must be lost before our politicians pull them out?

Enough is enough.

andy said...

They aren't tracing anything. MI5 aren't on the case.

Someone snitched, plain and simple.

He told someone who told someone who told someone and someone wanted to cause him trouble so they told someone important.

Dick Puddlecote said...

The labour party is seriously out of control.

You got that right peter_dtm.

The good thing is that she has spoken out about it so that more might realise what we all know.

Labour = lying, illiberal control freaks.

Anonymous said...

What has she actually done wrong? It's not wrong for a civil servant to hold private political views. It is wrong (rightly) for them to express them publicly.

In this example, she expressed political views privately and so there's no case to answer. Are they going to sack civil servants for voting next?

She may have misused her work computer (who doesn't?), but that's not instant dismissal territory.

Labour is poisoning this country.

Anonymous said...

I think the key thing is that the comment was written from her work computer. If you want to do that kind of thing, do it at home. Leave it at the door when you go into work. She would probably still be in a job now if she had posted that comment from her own computer at home instead.

Thatsnews said...

She probably did it from work. They probably knew what had happened within minutes of it being posted.

Vile creeps.

We might or might not get ID cards, Hutton blames Brown, Darling blames the bankers

Dick Puddlecote said...

Chris Paul, your apologist stance makes no sense.

A DCFS spokesman said Miss Greenwood had been found guilty of gross misconduct and had brought the Government department into disrepute.

"The civil service has a clear code of conduct for its employees, which states that civil servants should be politically impartial and not act in a way that could damage the reputation of their department.

Either they are using fear and intimidation as a tool against someone earning a measly £16k, or they are appalling at conveying their reasoning for her sacking.

So Labour are the new Stasi, or merely incompetent beyond belief.

Your choice.

Praguetory said...

"She would probably still be in a job now if she had posted that comment from her own computer at home instead."

More like she would definitely still be in a job now if it was a Conservative MP she had criticised.

Thatsnews said...

KP, an employer tried the same trick with my younger brother.

Who then took him to the cleaners for Wrongful dismissal...

Thatsnews said...

But does anyone know how much time this worker was spending online for non-work purposes per day, per week, per month?

Oh, for god's sake, Chris Paul. You are defending the indefensible, here. Spinning, just spinning...

It is none of your business, or ours.

jailhouselawyer said...

I fail to see how speaking the truth brings the department into disrepute.

This must be a hanging offence then?

Chris Paul said...

PS - Obviously 7 months means far less protection than 22 months which I wrongly read this as.

She was dismissed on May 22. Points about whether this was a one off and the only issue do still stand. Managements in private AND public sectors are going after people on all sorts of disciplinary matters at the moment to avoid paying redundancy etc.

As well as unfair discrimination on gender, race, disability there are quite a few other causes where there is no length of service requirement to take action for unfair dismissal.

Political and TU membership being possibly important ones in this case.

David MacLean said...

Hmmm, let's not jump up and down and get too excited. It's clear that her position was untenable position once she was discovered.

I agree with her comments, but she's a civil servant and should have acted accordingly.

Sacked, no arguments.

Chris Paul said...

Dick Puddecote - do behave.

I simply want more information. The dismissal makes no sense at all on the information given. Which is thin.

If that's it I'll be 100% sympathetic to the employee, as you might notice from my PS.

But if this woman is spending half the day - or any significant time - online for non-work then no reasonable person would expect her to survive a complaint like this.

Similarly if there are other issues the Telegraph has not disclosed.

But it is always heartening to see Tories expressing solidarity for workers in scrapes.

Mr Sceptic said...

How does it compare with the case of Azad Ali?

Read this article by a former special adviser to Blears.

davefromluton said...

So making a comment brings the Government in to disrepute and leasds to a sacking.
Flipping your house 2 or 3 times, costing the tax payers significant sums in foregone stamp duty is OK.
Clearly all animals are equal but some are more equal than others!
But perhaps next time she should blog from home and in her own time

Plato said...

How can an anonymous comment bring HMG into disrepute?

It can't.

To sack someone for having an opinion is appalling.

So what if they are a civil servant - that's about 20% of the current workforce.

Is New Labour going to stop the livelihoods of all those on the public payroll who disagree with them??

Anonymous said...

I must say this is a quite unbelievable story. Everyone is entitled to a political opinion; and everyone is entitled to express that opinion. Civil servants in junior grades are entitled to campaign and participate fully in political activity. It is only those in more senior positions who should refrain from public political expressions. The key point is public; under no definition can a junior civil servant, expressing a view anonymously, fall into this category. If the computer systems allow access to such sites then comments will be left. I doubt this person is the only one in DCSF to leave a comment via their work computer. Have they all been fired?

Chris Paul said...


What on earth do you mean? I wondered how much this woman was online (AT WORK) on non-work matters. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough for the hard of thinking trolls round here who say:

Oh, for god's sake, Chris Paul. You are defending the indefensible, here. Spinning, just spinning...

It is none of your business, or ours.

The Telegraph story is very thin. Really pretty crappy journalism if you ask me. But if that's it - she made one comment and got sacked without warning - I have no great sympathy for the employer, or the employer's local staff perhaps it is. But I doubt that's the case, I really do.

Tom said...

How ironic, given that the Prime Minister was doing the exact same thing to Hazel Blears in public...

Jabba the Cat said...

@ DirectGulp said...

"From tomorrow the sector that I work in is blocking access to all social network sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and so forth in what I might half-jokingly call an Iranian-style crackdown."

Hmm...maybe someone in management has finally twigged that the muppets should be working instead of surfing?

Plato said...

Jabba - if your staff aren't working hard enough it has nothing to do with where they surf.

Blocking social networking sites will not stop lazy idiots from being lazy elsewhere.

CherryPie said...

Civil Servants are not supposed to use their work accounts for non work reasons, which may have a bearing on this. I think perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye though.

The Grim Reaper said...

I loathe having to agree with an odious turd such as Chris Paul, but even a stopped clock is right twice per day. This story simply doesn't add up.

I am simply not convinced that even this government would sack someone for writing one anonymous comment on a website criticising a minister. Mind you, all you need to do to get a phone call from Edward Michael No Balls is to post a blog entry calling him a liar. Just ask Fraser Nelson.

tankus said...

Muppet for using a work PC

she probably has history

.. Only use a work PC for work

If you dial 9 on your phone to get an outside line ...all calls are recorded .

just not worth risking it in this job environment

Plato said...

tankus - and what does this say about our political system?

A little person can't make an anti-government comment anonymously without fearing having their livelihood stopped?

So what if they used a work PC - does that make their comment more seditious?!

Stevo Bevo said...

Speaking as a civil servant, though I think sacking her was totally over the top, and though I suspect that the minister in question wanted revenge on an underling, the civil servant is not a martyr here.

It might seem like splitting hairs to say that it's OK for a civil servant to criticise a minister via her home computer but not via her work computer, but there is surely a principal at stake here.

I'm forever moaning about MPs of all parties on blogs but I do it from home. Yes, I visit blogs online at work during lunch time and yes I post comments but I try to confine such comments to the "society is going to hell in a handcart" variety rather that "this government is going to hell...etc".

Partly because I wouldn't put it past my Dept to use it as ammo against me should it ever prove convenient, but also because I'm employed to be an impartial servant of the crown from 9 to 5. While my saying that this or that minister is awful may not bring down the government, it's a slippery slope. Junior civil servants must cleave to the principle of an independent civil service because someone has to and the politicians and the mandarins won't.

Jabba the Cat said...

@ Plato said...

"Jabba - if your staff aren't working hard enough it has nothing to do with where they surf."

Muppets are muppets. If you give them a distraction they will be distracted.

Thatsnews said...

I am simply not convinced that even this government would sack someone for writing one anonymous comment on a website criticising a minister

Yes, Grim Reaper. BUT... this government is not normal. And what if a low level item of Vermin on the Civil Service Totem Pole decided to curry favour by instigating a dismissal of his or her own back?

UB41 said...

As much as I'm shocked, I'm with Chris Paul on this one (as none of us know the full facts).

If there's more to it (i.e. hours online per day) then I can see this being used as an excuse to get her out.
However, they should have disciplined her properly over internet usage rather than just this.

If, on the other hand, she's been sacked just for this......very worrying.

Plato said...

Stevo Bevo - talk about hair-splitting.

What is wrong with an ANONYMOUS comment irrespective of which IP address it came from?

No one would know who wrote it and dare I say - what is wrong with an un-named person criticising the government during their lunch hour or in the two minutes otherwise spent yaking beside the kettle?

Since when did working for HMG turn workers into thought-slaves?

JMB said...

I can never understand when people complain after being disciplined for using the Internet on company computers for non-work purposes.

It seems a "white-collar" attitude, what would they think of a factory worker spending his working time making things for himself using company materials?

Proud to be a republican said...

Its nice to know that the British State still has absolutely no respect for the concept of "Freedom of Speech".

Think the Conservatives will be any different?


Jimmy said...

Rude e-mails about Hazel Blears?

Free Speech

Rude e-mails about Nadine Dorries?

Crucify him.

Have I got this right?

Tom said...

There's a difference between commenting on a minister's publicly broadcast video statement and making up salacious rumours about an MP's private life.

Bill Quango MP said...

KP. That is absolubtely not the case.
Unfair dismissal exists for every worker form the moment they are employed.
I have seen a case where a totally unqualified worker, who had lied on the application about the level of their skills, who had lied that they had been dismissed from their previous post, took the company that dismissed them for 'unsuitability' to tribunal and won £10,000.

That person had been given two previous warnings and had had a disciplinary with a regional exec.
They were employed for a total of 9 days.

It is possible that Gross Misconduct does apply in this case but it is not guaranteed.

Verity said...

The ridiculously named "Jailhouse Lawyer" 11:01:

In more civilised times, your offence, killing an old lady with an axe when her back was turned because she had left the lid off your jar of marmalade and this really infuriated you, would have been a hanging offence and you would not have been around to sneer.

Werner Patels said...

Big Brother is watching YOU, YOU, and YOU.

Sounds like the troll who is Canada's Chief Commissioner of the Human Rights Commissions (= kangaroo courts, thoughtpolice, politically correct language police), who recently admitted in a newspaper interview that she keeps about 1,200 files on bloggers who are a) right-wing, b) have written nasty stuff about her and c) have stood out for being politically incorrect.

jock amin said...

no police state labour is watching you.

i am in total shock about this.

do you think sir michael white will run this story.i think not,he is part of the kill blogs conspiracy. it is all becoming clear.the old media/quango crats had it carved up in this very dark reminds me of the last king of scotland.
they got power,gongs,cash for quango done.

along comes blogs with no real interest in all of that stuff.

you are the enemy,mind how you go.

check you brakes in the morning ian.

tomandclaire said...

What about the civil servants that stood around a applauded Mandelson we he returned? Have they been sacked for not being impartial?

Paul said...

Strange one this. If a civil servant's PC is monitored and misuse (= inapropriate comment) is a sacking offence, why wasn't McBride dismissed before he was outed?

Why was his manager not disciplined for failing to apply the rules?

slowjoe said...

I'm torn on this one.

On the one hand, it's Ed Balls' department, and he's a nasty piece of work. Wouldn't surprise me if he specifically had a group of true believers hunting down anyone who dissented from the NuLab line.

On the other hand, if the woman already has a disciplinary record/was still on probation/posted from a work computer, sacking is probably reasonable. (Of course, this rule would also hold for civil servants serving a Tory government. Rod for your own back, anyone?)

I would expect that case 1 above holds, but we should await further information. (But that isn't a criticism of Iain for posting this. Civil servants need to know that this case exists ASAP, rather than waiting for the full facts to emerge.

Batteredstrat said...

Had this been reported anywhere but the Telegraph I might have had a little more confidence in the story, but it is incredibly thin, and the Telegraph has proven that it won't let the truth get in the way of a good story.

To make the story believable, I would have to know whether the lady in question had previous disciplinary problems, whether she had been performing well in her job. I would also like to know if she placed the comment in work time or on a break.

I would also like to know whether they electronically traced the message from the blog, or via keylogging.

Something here doesn't quite add up. But if the Telegraph does have this story right it is totally appalling.

Cynic said...

" What has she actually done wrong? It's not wrong for a civil servant to hold private political views. It is wrong (rightly) for them to express them publicly. "

Except when they are:-

1 a Labour supporting Union Rep 'representing' their members views

2 an impartial senior civil servant speaking publicly supporting Labour Party Policy because it is 'government policy' as opposed to just party policy

Non Runner said...

This is gross hypocrisy. How many ministers have gone public in their criticisms of civil servants in the past, bringing the civil service into disrepute?

Plenty said...

Just another example of government spying. Although perhaps she shold have waited until she got home?

Steve said...

Really a shocking story! Yeah, Is there any rules stating that civil servants should not indulge in this kind of social media activities?

Dan Brusca said...

On the face of it, this is ridiculous. Sure, civil servants should be politically impartial in how they carry out their job, but I very much doubt that the civil service code trumps the European Convention On Human Rights, which guarantees her right to freedom of expression.

Cynic said...

"why wasn't McBride dismissed before he was outed?"

... because that was 'authorised' perhaps but you are right ....she should seek disclosure of all the documents from the Cabinet office (that should concentrate minds) and use him as a comparator at an IT

Anonymous said...

this is all very similar to the end of the last dark labour government.bancrupt/in the pocket of russia.

wilsons connections with the kremlin,wilsons connections to the unions,who were paid to be spies.

no change,labour must go,it is our duty.

Half The Story said...

the women who sucked Prescott's snizzle (well the one who isnt in government) who got sprted out, whereas the political one got office......

And he got pats on the back.

One rule for them..........

trevorsden said...

Free the 'Civil Service One'

I would thinks she could and probably will claim for unfair dismissal. Lets face it she was just commenting on something which has appalled the entire nation.

There is no way she could have brought the 'department' into disrepute if she was criticising a 'politician'.

'Half the story' hits the nail on the head - if Prescott's gobbling secretary did not bring the department into disrepute (not to mention Prescott himself) and can stay in a job, then this dismasal has got to be 'unfair'.

neil craig said...

Wheras Captain Scarlet & his mionions all got promoted for sexing up "evidence2 to support Labour. I hope the Tories go to the barricades over this. If one cann be fired for this, not even reprimanded first or anything, everybody in the civil service will know their jobs. not merely their advancement as at present, depend on supporting the party in power.

Vedette said...

Freedom of speech is dead.
Long live Gauleiter Balls. I wonder if Blears had anything to do with this injustice.

Conor said...

I can't believe that the posting was anonymous. The site allows your email address to be shown publicly, and perhaps she made the mistake of choosing that option.
Blogs are full of anti-government comments. There has to be something about this one that clearly showed it as from a serving Civil Servant.

Unsworth said...

Disgusting. Hasn't this regime anything better to do than spy on its junior civil servants? How much time, money and effort has been spent on tracing and disposing of this woman? In any ordinary and reasonable organisation she would merely have been told not to be so stupid.

'Bringing into disrepute'? Hilarious - as if its (and the Minister's) reputation could actually get any worse...

Anonymous said...

Iain, in order to post comments on They work for you, you have to 'login' with your e-mail address and password. I have signed up for alerts when my MP decides to turn up in Parliament. I can't remember what other info. I had to provide in order to get an account set up but an e-mail address would be enough to get the thought police knocking on the door. I would suggest therefore that TWFY would have grassed up Ms Greenwood to her employers. I think she needs to pursue whether the chicken or the egg came first.

Are you able to trace any details from commentators on this blog? Spill the beans because I have my suspicions about a Google blogger on a fairly small blogathon leaking info about commentators to someone in the media. I do believe that some journalists are getting very fed up with Blogs stealing their thunder. Perhaps I am getting over suspicious.

tankus said...

Use a PC at work and everything is fully visible to your employer or a subcontracted IT dept. (who are probably contractually obligated to report misuse or abuse)
nothing is anonymous

...Its irrelevant as to the comment being political or not ...It could have just as easily been on here or face-book.

Nothing at all preventing her commenting anonymously in HER time on her computer .

as JMB sez @July 06, 2009 12:22 AM
"I can never understand when people complain after being disciplined for using the Internet on company computers for non-work purposes"
It will be in her terms and conditions of employment

Theft of company time

shes a muppet

sjgibbs said...

MySociety being well known as the worst kind of snitching scum clearly would have been delighted to fink on someone posting on their sites.

Or not.

Apply a few pinches of salt to this one.

Gerry57 said...

It seems that no public servants are allowed to criticise labour. If they do they are dealt with severely, e.g. Elizabeth Filkin, Sir Alistair Graham, Gregg Dyke, Andrew Gilligan, Dr. David Kelly etc.

megov said...

Some obfuscation going on here. TheyWorkForYou say it's never been on any of their sites

Carl Gardner, Head of Legal said...

I'm shocked by this, but not surprised. Clearly if she's left an e-mail address that allowed the person expressing those views to be identified by readers as a civil servant, that was dodgy in terms of the civil service code. But gross misconduct? I think that's well OTT. A more senior civil servant I knew had a letter published in a national newspaper criticising her own department's policies - and just received a warning.

The overreaction does though reflect the blogophobia that exists in some parts of the civil service. The civil service is varied, and some bits of it are okay about civil servants reading blogs on work time, even flagging up work-related blogs for their interest. But some senior civil servants are very negative about blogs indeed, seeing them as uncontrolled and therefore fundamentally treasonous. Which may well lead to the sort of blocking Matt Wardman is investigating.

I hope the civil service sorts itself out on this, and loosens up a bit. As others have said, there are civil service habits that are highly questionable in terms of the Code - such as applauding ministers, which personally I find disgraceful. Blogophobia results from blogs being new to most senior civil servants, who often assume blogs exist solely to break rules, give away secrets and bomb the establishment.

Matt Wardman said...

TheyWorkforYou have no knowledge of this at all.

No comments on the site about Hazel B match up, not on several other MySociety sites.


So - someone has some explaining to do. Namely the Telegraph and whoever gave them the story.

I'd say that - like Nightjack - this is written warning territory if such a comment were made from work in work time, otherwise it's none of the freakin' business.

Matt Wardman said...

Sorry - too many typos, but I think I was clear.

Anonymous said...

Government pa'troll'ers are common knowledge - taxpayer funded 'keyboard monkeys' - play lots of 'tricks' in ALL blogs - spout the party line of the day, misinform and mislead, clone, often use foul/abusive language. Spinners and manipulators ...

The report seems to suggest that Nulabor's heavily armed media monitoring unit has the means to access private and confidential IDs

Joe Public said...

"A DCFS spokesman said Miss Greenwood had been found guilty of gross misconduct and had brought the Government department into disrepute."

Is it possible for a disreputable Govermnment to be "brought into disrepute".

Red Rag said...

Yet again one of your posts turns out to be completet and utter Osborne.Do you ever check your facts?

Looks like you will have to e-mail Conservative HQ again about their lack of attention to detail, either that or write a few posts of your own.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'm amazed that a civil servant had the time to post on a blog. They're all so busy, never slacking, taking time to gossip or leaving at 5pm...

The Grim Reaper said...

Anonymous said "Frankly, I'm amazed that a civil servant had the time to post on a blog. They're all so busy, never slacking, taking time to gossip or leaving at 5pm..."

Or at lunchtime if it's too hot. Or snowing. Or raining too much. Or a little bit icy. Or... well, you get the idea. said...

So it wasn't anonymous and it was an email not a comment. Oh well.

Unsworth said...

@ Matt Wardman

"Sorry - too many typos, but I think I was clear."

Indeed, but perhaps slightly understated (in my opinion)....

Anonymous said...

... there is an army of civil service snoopers tracing anonymous blog comments all over the internet and then trying to trace them back to government employees. I am not sure how they do this, but no doubt someone out there can enlighten me.

No snooping involved. It transpires that Lisa Greenwood did not send a comment to TheyWorkForYou but sent an e-mail directly to Hazel Blears rebuking her for her her flipping activities and calling her a disgrace.

It is not very sensible for a Civil Servant to use their office e-mail to send an insulting e-mail to a serving minister. The recipient would immediately know who had sent it.

Ms Greenwood admits that she was stupid not to have used her private Hotmail account to send the message.

davorg said...

As you point out in your update, this story isn't quite what it appears. The comment never appeared on TheyWorkForYou. It appears that Ms Greenwood followed a link from TheyWorkToYou to Hazel Blears' web site. She then used the "contact me" page on that site to send an email.

No comments left on any site. It seems that the Telegraph journalist either didn't understand the story or chose to deliberately twist it.

I'm also interested in the title that Iain chose for this entry - "Civil Servant Loses Job Over Blog Comment". Where's the blog in this story? You can't seriously believe that TheyWorkForYou is a blog, can you? Once again, Iain is shown to be far from the "blogging expert" that he likes the media to portray him as.

Tom said...

Silly moo - not to use hotmail or gmail or yahoo mail - nonetheless she should have only been warned.

I think we should have the name of the person who sanctioned the sacking myself - only fair innit?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how well ut can be argued that Ms Greenwood brought the department into disrepute unless it was shown that she published the comment in such away as to inform third parties that it was an employee of the department was posting that comment.

Unless that link can be made I would have thought that the situation would be similar to any other employee who posted an anonymous comment but was not traced. I don't think it is the situation yet that employees are not allowed to express disagreement with govermment policy, the PCS does from time to time. I assume members of the PCS are still also civil servants.

Civil servants do hold contrary or varying political opinions, after all.

Of course there could be the matter of "unofficial use" of IT facilities, which is usually a matter of disciplinary sanction. I would have thought in this case a matter of a formal warning, certainly not a summary dismissal.

B Walec said...

Further info here:

Payday Loans said...

Why do labour just keep on sending letters to our houses to brainwash us when they can be doing more to wash our eyes with good work....

thomas watson said...

I don't think it is the situation yet that employees are not allowed to express disagreement with govermment policy, the PCS does from time to time.

Payday Loans said...

This has happened a few times now and with social media constantly used it will only happen more. People should just be more careful