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Gradists out;Diary

A jazzily illustrated copy of the Department for Education and Employment's' Business Plan for the current year plops onto the Diary's paper-strewn desk - and, as if by magic, illustrates the Boss's heartfelt whinge about the civil service. Apparently, one of the year's "Key Management Challenges" is "to challenge, and act to eliminate, gradist practices and inappropriate behaviour."

Gradist practices? Whaat? We ring a Sanctuary Buildings mole. "Oh, that's when you say things like 'I'm a Grade 5 and I don't deal with the likes of you, you lowly little person.'" We shall be seeking performance and output measures from the department at the end of the year to establish whether such gradist behaviour has been challenged, or, indeed, eliminated.

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