Whitehall blogger undone by IT team
A public sector manager who blogged about the "pointless and doomed" world of working for the UK government has been suspended thanks to tracking by computer experts.
Known by her pseudonym Civil Serf, the 33-year-old manager at the DwP has also been stripped of her laptop and security clearance after the IT team traced her activities.
An insider at the Department for Work and Pensions said the result was an extraordinary outlay of resources, as everyone was told to clear their desks until she was identified.
Disclosures seen by a Sunday paper also reveal that despite protesting her innocence when threatened with suspension, she finally confessed to have blogged about Whitehall's secrets.
Since November last year, she used her blog to ridicule goings-on in Whitehall, launch personal attacks on ministers and accuse an idealess government of recycling old policies.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown was named 'Velcro' – because, she said, bad news stories stuck to him, while other ministers were implied as being lazy or indecisive.
"Ministers only take decisions at the weekend (probably) because they have their spouse and/or political adviser to do it for them."
The manager, reportedly from London, added clout to her claims by telling readers: "Fortunately for you i'm just senior enough in my department to really know what's going on.
"Fortunately for me i'm not senior enough to attract suspicion from my blogging."
But coverage last weekend from papers including the Sunday Times seemed to make both her blog and job untenable, as her warts-and-all revelations fed the press and government critics.
Writing on his blog, Jeremy Gould, a civil servant who runs government websites, said he had been surprised by the backlash to Civil Serf, which he felt was an open and shut case.
"The facts are simple, Civil Serf crossed the line," he wrote.
"The Civil Service Code is clear about integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality being critical to acting as a civil servant. Even if all she's guilty of is being indiscreet, then she's certainly not acted in the spirit of the code."
A spokesman for the DwP was reported as being less certain, telling the Mail of Sunday an investigation has begun as to whether or not Civil Serf's actions were a breach of the code.
Given there is no wording about the use of internet blogs in the code, the Cabinet Office is expected to unveil guidelines for civil servants and government employees who want to blog.