United Kingdom

Government contractor Capita accused of being 'hypocritical'

Major Government contractor Capita has been accused of being 'hypocritical' for defying Ministers' advice to get staff back into the office.

The company last week announced a 'virtual first' approach, aiming to permanently ditch face-to-face meetings.

It means staff at the company will only come into its offices if necessary, and only when online meetings are not feasible.

Capita received £997 million in Government contracts in 2019-20, and a startling £6.5 billion since 2015, according to a recent report by Tussell, which analyses public contracts.

Major Government contractor Capita has been accused of being 'hypocritical' for defying Ministers' advice to get staff back into the office

Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, said: 'If no one goes back to their offices, those people who work in bars and cafes and restaurants will be out of work.

'So this 'I'm alright, Jack' approach to the economy, considering they've had money from Government, seems to be a bit hypocritical.'

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that going into the office is 'really beneficial' to young people and warned that video meetings are no substitute. 

In the summer, Ministers dropped formal advice to work from home and instead 'expect and recommend' a gradual return to office work.

Capita said their strategy was due to the 'environmental benefits of this permanent shift to hybrid working' and its target of net zero emissions by 2035. 

Its 35,000 employees are 'set to work more flexibly, even after Covid restrictions have ended' with a 'virtual first approach to all meetings'.

A Capita spokesman said: 'Like many employers, we have moved to a hybrid working model following widespread consultation with colleagues. As we look to support the Government and target net zero, our 'virtual first' meetings approach will ensure appropriate use of our offices.'

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