Windrush scandal is linked to a bullying culture | Letters

In response to Amelia Gentleman’s piece arguing that the bullying allegations at the Home Office pale in comparison to Windrush, Clare Sheffield says that both are part of the same problem, and Ian Bartlett writes that the issue isn’t limited to one department

I understand why Amelia Gentleman is not inclined to feel sympathy for Sir Philip Rutnam, after her experience investigating the Windrush scandal (The biggest scandal is Windrush – not bullying claims, Journal, 4 March). But she is wrong to dismiss the bullying allegations as “trifling” in comparison.

In truth, both are part of the same problem – a bullying culture, where it is difficult and career-limiting to speak out or disagree, is a culture that creates scandals such as Windrush. A department that doesn’t care about its staff won’t care about those it affects either. Gentleman complains that officials took “no discernible action”, but civil servants suffer from the fact that their actions are often not discernible to the outside world – I don’t know if officials within the Home Office did challenge their leaders in response to the Guardian’s Windrush evidence, but I do know that I want them to be working in an environment where they could do so without fear of suffering attacks or reprisals.
Clare Sheffield
West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire

• Amelia Gentleman’s article is everything we might expect from this fine journalist, and Windrush remains a huge blot on the Home Office record. But the current bullying allegations go far beyond the individual, in this case Sir Philip Rutnam, and beyond his department.

The outcome of this kerfuffle will hopefully help to put the brakes on a culture of bullying apparently typified by Dominic Cummings, which seems to infect the entire government, and which is leading to an exodus or stifling of talent at a time when it is needed as at no other in living memory. So, in this instance, at least, we must surely wish all power to Sir Philip’s elbow.
Ian Bartlett
East Molesey, Surrey

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