Ministry of Justice — the sick man of Whitehall

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By Judge John Hack on

Michael Gove arrives to find a culture of sick days and stress that is the worst of all government departments

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Ministry of Justice employees have been branded as the most poorly in all of Whitehall.

In a development that will come as little surprise to many lawyers, the results of a freedom of information request show that MoJ staffers take more sick days than their counterparts in all other government departments.

The results of the FoI request were published yesterday by the London daily newspaper, City AM. The newspaper found that on average, individual MoJ staffers spent 8.64 days ill out of the office.

That pipped the second place department, Transport, where employees spent an average of 7.96 days staring at daytime telly with a box of tissues and a jar of aspirin to hand.

According to the paper’s report, the total number of sick days taken at the MoJ during the 2013/14 financial year was 601,237.

But perhaps the most shocking disclosure to emerge from the FoI request was that the ministry employs a vast army of civil servants, with 69,575 staff in total on its books.

City AM said the ministry was fairly circumspect in its reaction to being named and shamed as sickest department in Whitehall. A spokesman told the newspaper that it was “working to bring down” days lost to sickness.

Presumably the arrival of new head master Michael Gove as Secretary of State and Woolsack Percher-in-Chief will stun them into rude health.