Jonathan Werran 06 June 2011

Naked civil servant exposed

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has confirmed reports that a senior official has been suspended for using Twitter to make comments about ministers and government policy.

A seven-month investigation led by a Cabinet Office security specialist helped unmask the DCLG official writing as The Naked Civil Servant, who to avoid detection used his iPhone to post on the micro-blogging site.

Speculation has been rife as to the identity of the insider responsible for making acerbic comments about government policy, which breach civil service standards of impartiality. Among their posts the official said local government needed ‘better national leadership’ to stand up to ministers.

The civil service management code, which outlines core values and standards expected of officials states: ‘They must not seek to frustrate the policies, decisions or actions of Government … by unauthorised, improper or premature disclosure outside the Government of any information to which they have had access as civil servants.’

With a profile image of Nigel Hawthorne in his trademark role as Yes Minister’s arch mandarin Sir Humphrey Appleby, the user described himself as ‘a lazy good for nothing civil servant’ and advised ‘all tweets are personally expressed & not serious.’

A DCLG spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that a civil servant has been suspended. A disciplinary interview will take place in the near future.’

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