HMRC indulges in desk clutter ‘madness’

Civil servants working for
HM Revenue and
at Longbenton in Newcastle have had black tape stuck on
their desks to show them where to place items.

The black tape regime is part of a £7m government project that aims to
improve efficiency by clearing clutter and keeping desktop equipment in the
optimum positions.

One worker at Longbenton told the Daily Telegraph that the programme was
‘demeaning and demoralising’. The
Public and Commercial Servants Union
described the project as

According to the Daily
, the programme has been so far reaching that one member
of staff was asked whether a banana was ‘active’ or ‘inactive’, in other words
whether it was going to be eaten immediately, which was acceptable, or whether
it was for later, which would mean the fruit would have to be cleared from the

further reports that staff were asked: ‘is that banana on your desk
active or inactive?’ inquiring as to whether they planned to eat it or should it
be thrown away.

An HMRC spokeswoman said the programme, which was devised by consultants
Unipart to improve performance, would help ensure that office space was
efficiently used and would also support working relationships.

She added that employees were allowed to move items into zones that suited
them best.

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