Anti-bullying firm that was paid £140,000 to tackle harrasment in the Cabinet Office is accused of disability discrimination itself by one of its founders
- A tribunal ruled Stuart Bradley’s unfair dismissal claim could proceed
An anti-bullying firm that was handed £140,000 to crackdown on harassment in the Cabinet Office has been accused of disability discrimination itself by one of its founders.
The Cabinet Office is said to be ‘urgently reviewing’ its contract with the Manchester-based company Culture Shift, which was announced only last month.
The organisation which provides ‘real-time reporting platform to identify and prevent harassment and bullying’ was introduced to Whitehall to allow civil servants to ‘anonymously report incidents of Bullying, Harassment or Discrimination’.
The firm was handed the contract just days after former Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab resigned over allegations of bullying staff. Mr Raab always denied the claims.
But now former co-founder of Culture Shift, Stuart Bradley, who helped create the business in 2018, claims he was unfairly dismissed himself, as his long Covid symptoms should have been considered as a disability under the Equality Act.
Co-founder of Culture Shift, Stuart Bradley (pictured), claims he was unfairly dismissed from the company on the grounds of disability discrimination
Culture Shift was handed £140,000 to crackdown on harassment in the Cabinet Office has been accused of disability discrimination itself by one of its founders
According to The Times, a tribunal ruled that Mr Bradley was able to proceed with the liability hearing and unfair dismissal case against Culture Shift Communications Ltd.
Speaking in light of the findings, Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the civil servant’s union PCS, said the new contract was ‘extremely worrying’.
A Cabinet Office source also told The Times: ‘We are urgently reviewing the circumstances around how this contract was awarded.’
The findings come as the Cabinet Office has come under scrutiny for its bullying allegations.
Last year, an independent report found that one in ten civil servants working in the Cabinet Office, amounting to 1,000 staff, had suffered from some form of bullying, harassment or discrimination.
This included non-white civil servants feeling alienated or suffering from ‘microaggressions’ such as being mistaken for a colleague of the same ethnicity.
Following his resignation, Mr Raab blasted ‘activist’ anti-Brexit civil servants and their ‘passive aggressive culture’.
Speaking to the BBC in the hours following his departure he claimed his departure would spark a ‘very dangerous precedent’ within Whitehall and could mean it’s ‘almost impossible for ministers to deliver for the British people’.
Last month, Dominic Raab resigned from his position as deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary amid bullying allegations
Culture Shift co-founder Gemma McCall (pictured) tweeted following Mr Raab’s resignation: ‘Greater leaders should and can inspire and motivate their team to achieve success without resorting to shouting, bullying or intimidation’
After Mr Raab stepped down from his position in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Cabinet, the chief executive of Culture Shift Gemma McCall tweeted: ‘Greater leaders should and can inspire and motivate their team to achieve success without resorting to shouting, bullying or intimidation.’
The organisation, which claims to have an ‘exceptional workplace culture’, is expected to roll out a pilot of 1,000 civil servants before expanding more widely to up to 10,000.
It comes amid warnings that civil service morale is in decline, according to a survey published in October by Civil Service People Survey, with the number of individuals experiencing discrimination rising year on year.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson told the newspaper: ‘All contracts are reviewed and awarded through robust due diligence processes and in line with procurement regulations and transparency guidelines.’
Culture Shift and Mr Bradley both declined to comment when asked by the Times.
MailOnline has also contacted the Cabinet Office, Culture Shift and Mr Bradley.