"Glad to see you're all satisfied."
The Government Legal Department has sabotaged its own attempt to mollify disgruntled staff, by offering to answer their questions and then ignoring the difficult ones.
478 GLD colleagues dialled in to a meeting last week to hear their Executive Team answer questions they had provided in advance.
Staff had been told that the Executive Team would "endeavour to answer all pre-submitted questions", which the government lawyers were able to push up the agenda before the meeting by up-voting them.
The opportunity was welcomed by GLD lawyers, one of whom complained earlier this year that morale was at "rock bottom" following the announcement by HM Treasury of a two year pay freeze.
The most popular question demanded to know how the GLD would retain its staff given that there had been "no real pay rises" for ten years and that, with inflation due to hit 4%, staff were being "asked to do more for less".
The second most popular submission asked whether the GLD board would "apologise for the terrible way its staff have been treated" in relation to pay, and to "assure its staff there is some sliver of hope for the future?"
The Executive Team dealt with the awkward questions by pretending they didn't exist, said a source who attended the virtual meeting.
According to the GLD's wildly upbeat summary of the session, Susanna McGibbon, Treasury Solicitor and Permanent Secretary, "reflected on how important, fascinating and rewarding our work is in continuing to support the Government, and the good that we are doing for our country", while the Attorney General, Michael Ellis, expressed "every confidence that GLD will continue to be a brilliant place to work".
Their love-in was at odds with the sentiment of some staff who were left "utterly bemused" when management decided not to address queries touching on pay and workload, said a GLD insider. The Executive Team's approach was an "astonishing way to treat its workforce, which they clearly regard as nothing more than children to be patronised", said the lawyer.
A GLD spokesperson told RollOnFriday, "We are continuing to work hard on improving our overall reward package for staff within the tight constraints placed upon us. This is, and will remain, a key priority over the coming period. We also continue to monitor factors including the wider legal labour market and recruitment to make an informed decision on any future pay business cases".
"All questions submitted in the internal virtual event will be answered in a written document for GLD staff", she added.