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Government HR failures reinstate fired staff

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Government HR departments are failing to follow statutory dismissal procedures, meaning increasing numbers of civil servants are being let off dismissal, an official report reveals.

Over one fifth of all disciplinary cases involving appeals during 2005-06 were judged ‘unfair’, the report by the Civil Service Appeal Board (CSAB) says. This is an increase of 15 per cent on the previous year.

Of 253 appeals considered by the CSAB in 2005, 55 judged Whitehall HR at fault. In 10 cases the board demanded the employee be reinstated immediately.

The procedures were launched by the government in October 2004, requiring employers to follow a three-step process when disciplining or dismissing staff. If the business fails to follow this the dismissal is automatically judged unfair.

CSAB chairman John Davies said in the report: “It is clear that departments and agencies do not always appreciate the importance of respecting the standard statutory procedures and it has, perhaps, not been fully appreciated that if there is a breach the board has no choice other than to find the dismissal automatically unfair.”

Davies also accused some managers of using appeals to “justify and uphold” their decisions instead of objectively revisiting the details of the case.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said: “We have received the report and will consider these issues.”

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