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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 June 2005, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Tieless call by Whitehall chief
Collar and tie
Times have changed since Oscar Wilde praised ties
Ties may soon be abandoned in the traditionally austere environs of Whitehall after the UK's top civil servant said they were unnecessary.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull made the call this week at the launch of the National School of Government.

It has since been backed by the FDA, the trade union and professional body for Whitehall mandarins.

Sir Andrew said that, so long as staff looked authoritative and professional, they did not need a tie.

It's only right that civil servants be allowed to leave their wool jackets and ties at home
Jonathan Baume, FDA

"Obviously it would not be suitable for people to turn up in blue jeans and trainers because it could undermine their authority, but as long as they looked smart they needn't wear a tie," he said.

FDA general secretary Jonathan Baume welcomed Sir Andrew's comments.

"Oscar Wilde once said that a well-tied tie is the first serious step in life," he said.

"Times have changed, thank goodness, and it's only right that civil servants be allowed to leave their wool jackets and ties at home."

Elsewhere in the civil service, tie-wearing has been challenged by staff.

In 2003, Matthew Thompson won a claim of sexual discrimination against Jobcentre Plus.

The test case arose because a dress code demanded Jobcentre Plus men wear a collar and tie, but there was no dress code for women.


SEE ALSO:
What your tie says about you
17 May 05 |  Magazine
Man wins tie sex ruling
11 Mar 03 |  England


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