The independent report into allegations about the Home Secretary’s conduct concluded that Ms Patel did not consistently meet the high standards required by the Ministerial Code, even if unintentionally. I believe she is right to have apologised for inadvertently upsetting those she was working with and for any offence she caused.
It is clear from the report that the Home Secretary had become, on many occasions justifiably, frustrated by the Home Office’s lack of responsiveness, and the lack of support she felt she received at the Department for International Development three years ago. The report also explains that many of the concerns were not raised at the time, and that Ms Patel was unaware of issues that could have been addressed. I understand that relationships, practices and culture in the Home Office are now much improved.
The Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretary have written to all ministers and permanent secretaries setting out the importance of mutual trust and respect between politicians and officials. Senior civil servants and politicians must work together to create a professional and respectful working culture that is focused and ambitious for change and in which there is no place for bullying.
As you will know, Sir Alex Allen, who conducted the report, has resigned from his position. I understand that Lord Evans, Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, has said that this whole episode raises questions about the arrangements for investigating and responding to breaches of the Ministerial Code, and his Committee is looking into this as part of its review of the institutions and processes in place to support high standards of conduct in public life.
I understand that the civil servant who raised a complaint in the Home Office is now keen to move on with his career and a financial settlement has been agreed.