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JCP Staffing Update 09/08/2011

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.

DWP briefing

Department for Work & Pensions Group

To: Branch Secretaries, Additional Branch Contact, Regional Secretaries, GEC

29 July 2011


Jobcentre Plus – Staffing Update


Future of FTA’s

At recent meetings with senior Jobcentre Plus management PCS has repeatedly made the case for the FTA staff in Jobcentre Plus to be offered permanent contracts. Unfortunately Jobcentre Plus continue to refuse to do this even in those offices where it is clear that there will be a need  to retain all of the staff for the foreseeable future.


PCS argued that Jobcentre Plus should be making a business case to government Ministers to seek an exemption from the cross-government recruitment ban that would enable them to make the FTA’s permanent. Jobcentre Plus argue that, when making their staffing plans, they have to follow the economic forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility, which predicts that unemployment will fall in 2012. As a result management remain unwilling to change their approach to FTA’s.


However the JSA claimant count continues to rise and the pressure on our members working in Jobcentre Plus continues to grow as staff leave and no one is replaced. At such a time it makes no sense to increase the staffing shortages by continuing to make FTA staff leave at the end of their contracts. PCS has recently succeeded in getting a further 700 FTA contracts extended, but, although this is welcome, it fails to address the underlying staffing problems in Jobcentre Plus caused by the ban on recruitment and the temporary


nature of the FTA posts. PCS will continue to seek to persuade management to make all FTA staff permanent.


Movement of Staff within Jobcentre Plus

Management believe that there are staffing imbalances within different parts of Jobcentre Plus Operations. Generally speaking they maintain that JD is understaffed, CCD is about right and BCD is over-staffed. PCS does not accept that any part of  Jobcentre Plus is over-staffed and believe that we need more staff not less.


Management are particularly concerned that about so-called ‘hotspots’ within the Job Centre network where there are offices that are 10% or more below their staffing allocations. As a result management want to transfer staff from other areas of Jobcentre Plus into these offices.


Management have agreed with PCS that in the first instance any such transfers will be on a voluntary basis only. Guidance on how to seek volunteers is currently subject to consultation with PCS, but should be issued shortly. If the exercise to seek volunteers does not supply as many staff as management believe is required, then management have committed to consult PCS further before deciding what, if any, alternative measures are required.


PCS believe there are a range of alternative measures such as, moving work, voluntary detached duty, further FTA extensions and seeking authority to recruit new staff that could, and should, be put into place before management begin even to consider compulsory transfers to resolve their supposed staffing imbalances.

Although some managers have begun telling their staff were they believe transfers of staff may be required, national Jobcentre Plus management have told PCS that the exact details of the number, grades and locations of  these transfers has not yet been finalised, particularly as management have to take into account the transfers that are expected from the office closure programme. Management have agreed to share this information with PCS when it is finalised and we will issue more guidance to branches at that stage.


Negotiations Officer



Group Assistant Secretary









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