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Sir Humphrey demonstrates how to save money by wasting it.

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wintonian

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No not the Mail today but the Torygraph:

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee: Whitehall told to remove bunting over H&S fears

They were instructed that it was not "appropriate to a professional workplace" to have the decorations and warned that they should not have stood on tables or chairs to put it up.

"The bunting needs to be removed," Cabinet Office staff were told in a memo sent last Thursday. However they were ordered not to take it down themselves to avoid further health and safety risks.

The Whitehall workers were also told that using printers to make the bunting was "not going to help" meet targets to cut paper waste and "greenhouse gas emissions".

His part of the department's website features a a message of congratulations to the Queen on her 60 years, illustrated by a picture of a building decorated with Union Flag bunting.

The memo was sent on Thursday, saying that it was "potentially embarrassing" to have offices with "non-work related posters".

It was sent to senior staff in a part of the Cabinet Office whose desks are in a Treasury building, and sent by that department's "head of supplier management", Sue Morris.

Miss Morris wrote: "I note that some of the teams have decorated the area with bunting that has been strung from the ceiling and light fittings.

"I assume this was put up by standing on tables or chairs – clearly not sensible from a H&S aspect and not something that we want to encourage elsewhere. It’s also not appropriate to tie anything to the light fittings."

She added: "The bunting needs to be removed and I’d be grateful if you could speak to whoever is responsible. However staff shouldn’t attempt to take it down themselves – please ensure that they call the helpdesk instead."

The use of colour printers to produce the flags also irritated Miss Morris.

"Could you also please remind your colleagues that that’s not an appropriate use of these fairly expensive resources," she wrote.

"Colour printing needs to be used sparingly and only for work purposes. You will also be aware that we have stretching targets to meet under the Greening Government Commitments and this wasteful use of paper is not going to help us achieve those targets."

The Greening Government initiative is an attempt to cut paper waste and carbon emissions which are blamed for causing climate change.

Civil servants are aiming to cut carbon emissions by ten per cent to "lead by example".

And she was also concerned that the presence of the bunting would embarrass both her department and the Cabinet Office.

"I am sure you will appreciate that it would be potentially embarrassing for both Treasury and Cabinet Office if it is picked up on that our walls are strewn with non work related posters and noticeswhile we are insisting that other departments reduce waste, paper, costs and resources," she wrote.

The memo is in contrast to public statements by ministers criticising the "health and safety" culture for putting Jubilee celebrations at risk.

Priti Patel, the Conservative for Witham, said: "This is typical of the killjoys and jobsworths that pervade parts of Whitehall and the civil service."

Last week Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary - who in March told Parliament "the bunting police are gone" - ordered Somerset county council to "think again" after it told traders in Burnham-on-Sea they could not hang bunting from lampposts as they had not been "stress tested".


"Unnecessary and irrelevant health and safety regulations should not be used as an excuse to prevent people to celebrate; the only red tape in sight should be the Jubilee bunting hanging in the streets," he said.

His warning was reinforced by Judith Hackitt, chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who said: "Health and safety law does not to apply to local events organised by community volunteers and a few sensible precautions to deal with any potential minor incidents are all that is required.

"We are encouraging people to challenge decisions when they think health and safety is being used as an excuse."

The HSE's "myth busters panel", which rules on whether valid health and safety concerns had been raised, did not respond to inquiries for comment.

On Friday night George Osborne, the Chancellor overuled the edict telling staff that they should ignore the instructions and encouraged them to "cover the building" with Jubilee bunting.

Employment minister Chris Grayling, who is responsible for health and safety law, addded: "No one anywhere in the country should feel that they can’t have bunting and decorations up to celebrate the Jubilee.

"Health and safety law is all about protecting people in high-risk workplaces. It is not about ruining the fun of the Jubilee."

My embolding to point out what I think are the best bits.
 
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LE Greys

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You've not worked in a large organisation have you?!


Not really, but if it was the University of Aberdeen, then it's believable. However, we're not celebrating the jubilee of our boss.
 

455driver

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Has anyone ever carried out a risk assessment about carrying out risk assessments?
 

tbtc

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I'm not sure about the title of this thread - we're not talking about huge sums here - it seems a bit of a minor thing to get worked up about.

This kind of thing happens in all big organisations (inc the private sector one I work for where we're not allowed to put up Christmas decorations without assessments etc being carried out).

I should say that this has nothing to do with Health & Safety (which gets blamed for everything), more "a fear of getting sued if someone falls over" (which is nowt to do with H&S legislation, more to do with our courts and compensation culture - does this make anyone proud to be British? http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebustocrookes/7278501126/in/photostream)
 

Oswyntail

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And, just because the Civil Service is a public body, doesn't mean that it doesn't have its fair share of puritan, roundhead killjoys (and republicans)!
 

Schnellzug

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"The Greening Government initiative is an attempt to cut paper waste and carbon emissions which are blamed for causing climate change."

Are they sure about that? It sounds suspicously like the Transport Secretary preparing to stage a Coup. :-X
 

IanXC

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"The Greening Government initiative is an attempt to cut paper waste and carbon emissions which are blamed for causing climate change."

Are they sure about that? It sounds suspicously like the Transport Secretary preparing to stage a Coup. :-X

Well I suppose a coup is easier when there are no paper records for your actions to conflict with ;)
 

Nym

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Has anyone ever carried out a risk assessment about carrying out risk assessments?

Yes, it was several pages long and highly ironic, also including the phycological effects of being required to do risk assessments and implying that a nessesarry mititigation for risk of suicide would be the provision of counciling for anyone required to complete risk assessments. This was duely submited to MAG... ;)
 
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