The Government body responsible for regulating energy markets and companies has been slammed as groups claim that Ofgem’s decision to allow its staff to work remotely has played a role to “public sector sluggishness”. Data obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request shows that in May, 85 percent of the staff were working remotely.
In a “monthly snapshot” provided by Ofgem, 1,147 of 1,350 employees did not come into the office on May 1 this year.
However the year before, 99 percent of its employees were working from home, as the pandemic was still gripping the nation.
In April, the organization switched to a hybrid working model, under which all staff were required to attend work at least one day a week, with the rest of the time spent working remotely.
Joe Malinowski, of price comparison service the Energy Shop, slammed this working model, particularly in the light of the massive energy price spikes, according to the Telegraph.
He said: “Given the significant problems of energy markets, many of which have been of Ofgem’s own making, one would genuinely have expected staff to have been marched back into the office to get on with the job of getting market working for consumers again.”
Joe Ventre, of The Taxpayers Alliance, said there were “bound to be concerns that widespread remote working is contributing to public sector sluggishness.”
This comes as Ofgem was slammed last week for creating “an energy market built on shaky foundations” which has led to the collapse of several suppliers in just a year.
Meg Hillier, of the National Audit Office (NAO), said: “Once again, it’s the public who has to pay for the mistakes of those charged with protecting them. It’s unacceptable.”
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A spokesman for Ofgem said: “Our staff are working relentlessly to protect customers during these very difficult times, whether from home or in an office, and it is an insult to suggest otherwise.
“As mentioned in the FOI response and in line with Government guidelines, the Ofgem offices are open, and employees are working part of the time in the office and part at home.”