A few days before Philip Rutnam stood up and announced his resignation as a result of what he claims is the bullying towards his staff from Priti Patel, a question arose in the House of Lords from the Labour Peer Clive Brooke, Baron of Alverthorpe. The question led to a response and the response is clearly way below the credibility of the sort of provision a modern organisation can justify. The company I work for is a small company and we are regularly asked by the public sector for a list of the training we have carried out for our staff and in most cases the training demands a regular revisit to improve the prospects of us avoiding problems. Now to be fair we have never been asked about training that we carry out on bullying, but we do get asked about our management capacity, diversity and inclusion, particularly when we tender for public sector contracts. In any case the very nature of our management demands that we avoid such matters and our staff are not prevented from speaking out about the way they are being treated by the owners of the company and their senior staff in the way that public servants are prevented. We all know that the public sector do set out rules regarding what civil servants can say and do.
Clearly training someone for their role does not mean they will necessarily follow the criteria they have been handed, and although we have not had such challenges in our company, there is plenty of evidence of people in a range of industries who fail to follow the training they have received. However such provision is still an important issue as if things go wrong and the people have been trained, they cannot then claim they didn’t know what to do. If Priti Patel and indeed the other Ministers are trained, they are still capable of bullying, providing poor management and harassment, but at least there will be evidence that they have been given the best chances and resources to improve matters. If a SME needs to keep records for a public tender and indeed for smaller pieces of work on many occasions, then it seems perfectly reasonable for the Government to do the same with their Ministers. Given that Nicholas True is the most recent Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, perhaps he can take the question and apply it to his agenda to change the Cabinet’s Office approach.