Friday, 6 March 2009

Public Sector: Still A Job For Life

There appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding of employment law within the public sector. Take this case, for example.

July 12 - Mannan is released on bail on condition he does not approach his wife and son. Over the next few days, Mannan ignores his bail conditions, pestering Sabina with text messages, banging on the front door and putting his hand through the letterbox, demanding she open up.

September 7 - Mannan is arrested again for breaching his bail, but the Crown Prosecution Service decide to release him without charge and his bail conditions are removed.

Now, I'm no lawyer, but what exactly are the point of bail conditions if, when broken, they are immediately removed? He was clearly a dangerous man or the bail conditions wouldn't have been set in the first place, and there was clear evidence of persistent breaches of those conditions. Open and shut case, one would have thought.

Not to the CPS caseworker involved though, hence ...

September 12 Mannan forces his way into the house and stabs her to death with a kitchen knife.

What say the CPS?

CPS chiefs have admitted they got it wrong, and have promised to meet her family to apologise. 'We have dealt with this through our disciplinary procedures and have taken steps to prevent this happening again.'

However, as is customary in the public sector, no-one loses their job. Shoot an innocent Brazilian, no charges. Baby gets brutally killed under your social care watch in a high profile case? The chances are you will be able to cling onto your salary, someone may have to take the flak if pressure from the tabloids carries on for over a week, but the odds are firmly in your favour. A bit different from the private sector, where you can lose your job, and sometimes your home, for just about any old shit these days.

Look, it's quite simple. First, you charge them with gross misconduct because, let's face it, incompetence leading to someone's death can quite legitimately be classed as such. You'll need to suspend them while you hold an investigation, but that shouldn't take long seeing as you've already concluded it was a crassly idiotic decision. About 10 minutes, I reckon. Then you point them to this part of ACAS guidelines.

Gross misconduct

If an employee commits an extremely serious disciplinary offence the company may dismiss them without prior warnings and without notice.

Next, take one of these ...

... and fill in the boxes. Send the top copy to the tax office, give the rest to your employee with their final salary as per their contract, and wave a cheery goodbye. Then hire someone who does have a clue.

The old adage of the public sector being "a job for life" has never been more true, it would seem.

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