Sex toy, poker and jive dance workshops offered to civil servants working from home

18 May 2022, 11:15 | Updated: 18 May 2022, 12:26

The "inappropriate" motivational workshops were "not approved by management"
The "inappropriate" motivational workshops were "not approved by management". Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Civil servants who are working from home are being offered "inappropriate" motivational workshops which include learning about sex toys and the art of home brewing.

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The "feel-good seminars" are being offered to hundreds of employees at the Department for Work and Pensions free of charge, with staff told to take "as many sessions as you like" as long as it does not affect work appointments.

One workshop, which is paid for by the taxpayer, is titled The History Of Sex Toys, and focuses on topics such as "female emancipation and the HIV/AIDS crisis".

According to The Sun, as many as 500 staff at two Jobcentres in Bournemouth after being offered sessions to learn poker, salsa, Korean and make-up for men.

The Newspaper reported that the sessions were "not approved by management" and would be cut.

Minister for Government efficiency, Jacob Rees-Mogg branded the sessions "time wasting" for "hard-pressed taxpayers" whilst Nigel Mills said it was "inappropriate content for a work environment".

Read more: Civil servant's security passes to be tracked in Whitehall to stop staff working from home

Relations between the Government and officials have been strained by a drive, led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, to get civil servants staff to return to their desks.

The Government efficiency minister is leading efforts to get staff back in Whitehall offices, challenging Cabinet colleagues to do more to encourage their officials to return to London.

The approach - which has seen him leave notes on vacant desks and threaten to remove the London weighting from salaries of remote workers - was criticised as "Dickensian" by Cabinet colleague Nadine Dorries.

Mr Rees-Mogg presented figures to Cabinet this month showing that some Government departments were using as little as 25% of office capacity in early April.

As part of Whitehall's newest attempt to force civil servants to return to the office staff at the Treasury will have their security passes monitored for attendance.

Rishi Sunak's staff have been warned their office security passes will be tracked to ensure staff are regularly coming into the office, but no minimum office attendance requirement has been set.

Read more: 'Outrageous slur': Head of TUC organisation blasts PM's WFH coffee and cheese comments

Jacob Rees-Mogg branded the sessions "time wasting" for "hard-pressed taxpayers"
Jacob Rees-Mogg branded the sessions "time wasting" for "hard-pressed taxpayers". Picture: Alamy

Whilst the Treasury states there has been a "significant increase" in employees returning to the office, they are currently advertising senior jobs with hybrid work models, requiring staff to be in the office between 40 and 60 per cent of the time.

A government source told The Telegraph: "It has taken far too long for departments to shake off their lockdown mindset, but taxpayers and voters should take heart at reports that Whitehall is taking this seriously."

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union which represents senior civil servants, warned that "good people will leave and the civil service brand is trashed in a highly competitive employment market".

The Prime Minister said there was a "general issue" in the public sector - and perhaps more widely in the economy - about refusing to give up remote working.

Telling the MailOnline that working from home doesn't work, saying: "My experience of working from home is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you're doing."