ANNA MIKHAILOVA: Civil servants build back better with a Lego exercise

ANNA MIKHAILOVA: Civil servants build back better… with a Lego bricks team-building exercise ‘to eliminate hierarchies and increase empathy’

While Boris urges everyone to return to their workplaces, Government officials have been at home playing Lego at taxpayers’ expense. I kid you not.

In March, the Cabinet Office paid for 28 mandarins to participate in a ‘Make Happy’ workshop run by a bearded hipster whose many talents include a training qualification in Lego Serious Play. 

This research-based concept claims to ‘eliminate hierarchies, increase empathy, foster collaboration and create a safe environment to tackle thorny issues’. 

The Cabinet Office paid for 28 mandarins to participate in a ‘Make Happy’ workshop run by a hipster whose talents include a training qualification in Lego Serious Play (stock image)

Such as running a country in the grip of a global pandemic, while rebuilding a battered economy and combating inflation?

Apparently not. The civil servants were sent packs of Lego bricks, which they used to ‘build’ answers to such pressing questions as ‘What’s the biggest challenge you are facing at work?’ [Suggested answer: Resisting the chumocracy’s efforts to cash in on Government contracts.] Or, ‘What’s the single most important action, behaviour, process or tool we need? [Suggested answer: Integrity.]

Make Happy boss Jonathan Banister declined to say what the civil servants built with their Lego sets, but he let on that the workshop can also be done using Play-Doh.

His website features millennial-style feedback from clients, which include councils, saying they ‘LOVED’ it – an endorsement that’s worth more than the £850 cheque that Banister trousered from the Government for the workshop.

Make Happy boss Jonathan Banister (pictured) declined to say what the civil servants built with their Lego sets, but he let on that the workshop can also be done using Play-Doh

As the Civil Service seems reluctant to ditch working from home soon, perhaps Government staff plan to build a Lego version of Whitehall. Or, as Boris (pictured) might call it, Legoverland

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: ‘This was a one-off, team-building exercise for a unit which had been working remotely for over a year.

‘During the session, staff discussed the day-to-day challenges they faced and the best ways to work together.’ 

Seeing as the ‘do as we say, not as we do’ Civil Service seems reluctant to ditch working from home any time soon, perhaps Government staff plan to build a Lego version of Whitehall.

Or, as Boris might call it, Legoverland.

IDENTI-KATE CARRIE PLAYS THE PRINCESS 

Westminster Wag Carrie ‘Three Lions’ Johnson set the rumour mill in motion when she accompanied the PM to Wembley for the Euros semi-final wearing an identi-Kate outfit to one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s. 

While the Queen-in-waiting was forced to self-isolate, Carrie Antoinette stepped up to fill the VIP void – making some in Westminster wonder if a full rebrand as Caroline, Duchess of Downing Street, is coming home. 


Carrie Johnson (left) set the rumour mill off when she accompanied the PM to Wembley for the Euros semi-final wearing an identi-Kate (outfit to one of the Duchess of Cambridge’s (right)

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee, was spotted last week gleefully showing fellow MPs something on his phone, then giving a disdainful shake of the head.

No, not another video of Matt Hancock’s Ugandan discussions. It was footage of James Duddridge, Minister for Africa, attending the funeral of titan of African liberation, Kenneth Kaunda.

With suitable solemnity, Duddridge said Zambia’s founding president would be mourned by the UK, by Kaunda’s family and by the ‘people of Zimbabwe’. 

Mildly better than the late, libidinous Tory Minister Alan Clark’s reference to the African continent as ‘bongo bongo land’, Duddridge’s diplomatic gaffe at least proved that the concept of nominative determinism is alive and well in the Foreign Office with its dud Ministers.

Whitehall’s new Office for Health Promotion is hiring a Director of Diet, Obesity and Healthy Behaviours. 

If it sounds like something from Orwell’s Ministry for Plenty, it is – in terms of salary anyway. 

The job of trying to get us to eat healthier and exercise more comes with a £110,000 salary – which, for the right candidate, will inevitably be fattened up further on Ministers’ say-so. 

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