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One in five civil servants want to quit the Legal Aid Agency

Respondents admitted to experiencing age, disability, ethnicity and gender discrimination

11 February 2015

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One in five employees of the Legal Aid Agency want to leave within the next year, the latest civil service survey has revealed.

While the main reasons for this desire to leave are varied, issues of bulling, discrimination, pay requirements and confidence in management seem to play a significant part.

For example, during the past 12 months, one in ten respondents admitted to personally experiencing discrimination, bullying or harassment at the Legal Aid Agency. A further 9 per cent preferred not to say whether they had been discriminated against during that period.

Respondents who admitted to experiencing discrimination gave multiple grounds including age, caring responsibilities, disability, ethnicity and gender. The largest reason given though was for 'grade, pay band or responsibility level'.

Only 40 per cent of those surveyed felt that, compared to people doing a similar job at other organisations, their own pay was reasonable.

Sixty-seven respondents admitted to being bullied at work by a colleague, with a further 62 claiming they had been harassed by either their manager or another manager in their part of the Legal Aid Agency.

Despite this, over two thirds of civil servants said they were confident the agency was taking effective action to reduce discrimination, bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Seven per cent of those surveyed said they wanted to leave the Legal Aid Agency as soon as possible, with a further 13 per cent admitting they hoped to do so in within the next 12 months.

Almost a third of respondents said they wanted to remain working for the agency for at least the next year.

Just under half of civil servants felt that changes made at the Legal Aid Agency were 'usually for the better', but 56 per cent of respondents admitted to feeling a strong personal attachment to the Legal Aid Agency and that the department inspired and motivated them to do the best in their jobs.

Notwithstanding some of the headline figures, responses to the survey showed an upward trend of engagement and positive feeling inside the agency from its staff.

Sixty-one per cent of employees said they were proud to tell others they were part of the Legal Aid Agency.

The full survey results can be viewed here.

John van der Luit-Drummond is legal reporter for Solicitors Journal

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Legal Aid