AXE FOR UNCIVIL SERVANTS
THE Government department which hunts benefits
cheats sacked 684 of its staff for slacking off last
year, we can reveal.
The civil servants – fired for poor attendance – were
among 1,106 employees axed by the Department for
Work and Pensions.
Among the remaining 422, 372 were given the boot for
“misconduct”, which can include unauthorised access to
computers and criminal activity.
The DWP, which lost £3.2billion last year to benefit fraud
and error, also had to devote huge resources to
disciplining badly-behaved staff.
Figures obtained by the Daily Star Sunday under
Freedom of Information laws show there were 2,636
disciplinary cases among the 98,928 workers.
More than 900 involved “disclosure of information” and
710 were for “computer misuse”, which includes
browsing Facebook in work time and writing blogs.
A further 29 involved “serious criminal offences”, while
23 cited “fraud, theft and loss of official funds”.
In March of this year DWP employee Samantha Douglas, 30, from
Wrexham, North Wales, narrowly avoided jail after diverting more than
£24,000 in benefits she administered into her own bank account.
Matthew Elliott of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said the level of bad
behaviour was worrying.
He said: “While it’s right that the DWP should get rid of failing staff, it is
deeply worrying there are so many employed there in the first place.
“Taxpayers cannot afford slacking at a department which is vital to getting people back into work
and off benefits.”
The DWP told the Daily Star Sunday: “The vast majority of our employees demonstrate the -
highest standards in relation to the performance of their duties and their dealings with the public
and fellow employees”.
It added: “Where an employee breaches these standards, disciplinary procedures will be followed
and action taken depending on the individual circumstances of the case.”