Monday 18 February 2019

Taoiseach's office staff 'bullied and harassed'

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

A SURVEY of Department of the Taoiseach employees has found a shocking one-in-four civil servants believe they have been bullied or harassed while at work, the Irish Independent can reveal.

And two-thirds of the Taoiseach's staff are not confident that anti-bullying and harassment policy is supported in practice by the Department.

The result of the staff survey contrasts heavily with Bertie Ahern's time in office when almost half of the department's civil servants felt this policy was implemented properly.

The unease among staff is sure to be of huge concern for Mr Kenny who has been vocal in his condemnation of bullying.

Last night, Mr Kenny's spokesman said he was "not aware" of the survey which was published on the Taoiseach's official website yesterday.

At 7.30pm, the spokesman said it was "too late" to establish if Mr Kenny was concerned by the survey's findings.

A staggering two-thirds of those surveyed do not believe their working environment has improved since Mr Kenny took office. And three-quarters do not think morale has improved in recent years.

A mere 29pc of those polled said good performance is recognised in the Department. This is a massive 21pc drop since the same question was asked in 2007, when Mr Ahern was Taoiseach.

The survey also highlights serious concerns among workers about leadership within the department.

Almost half of all workers do not believe the department's senior management team displays "effective leadership".

More than one-in-four do not believe they are encouraged to speak up when they disagree with a decision.

Less than half believe the department is serious about enhancing workplace culture.

The survey found 72pc of people found their work challenging and rewarding but this is a 3pc drop on the last poll.

Just two-in-10 believe work is evenly distributed in the department, which is again a drop of 4pc from 2007.

Dignity

The survey was carried out by RA Consulting last year and 77.5pc of employees responded to online and postal surveys.

Previous staff polls were carried out in 2007 under Mr Ahern and in 2010 when Brian Cowen was Taoiseach.

The survey recommended an "enhancement of dignity and respect" of staff through anti-bullying and harassment training programmes.

It said that senior management need to "enhance satisfaction" with their leadership abilities.

It also criticised workload distribution and perceived "inequities" in promotions given to civil servants working in the Taoiseach's Department.

One of the areas that was highlighted for attention was "management under-performance".

The report said the results should be seen against a background of "cuts, media criticism, corporate memory losses and increased workloads".

Irish Independent

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