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DWP Operations – staffing and recruitment update 17/01/2012

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.
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The below is copied from a circular from PCS DWP Group Office.

DWP briefing

Department for Work & Pensions Group

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

17 January 2012

DWP/BB/008/12

DWP Operations – staffing and recruitment update

As reported in DWP/BB/180/11, DWP have announced their intention to take on 4,000 permanent staff into DWP Operations. The bulk of these staff will be employed in the Job Centre network but it is expected that other Operations Directorates will also take some of the additional staff. Around 3,000 will be EO’s and the remainder will be AO. Not all of the 4,000 staff will be new recruits. A large proportion of the 4,000 will be made up from unassigned staff from other parts of DWP and by FTA’s offered permanent contracts.

Management propose to fill the 4,000 posts as follows. The numbers are approximations:

  • Surplus staff from within DWP (surplus staff will have preference over all other staff and are not required to compete with other applicants in the external recruitment exercise)
  • Surplus staff from other government departments
  • 1,100 FTA EO’s will be offered a permanent contract, and are included in the 4,000 additional staff
  • 500 AO’s on temporary ‘VRA’ EO contracts will be offered substantive promotion to EO
  • 1,200  staff will be recruited through the external recruitment exercise, though this number may include

internal applicants who are also able to apply to this exercise

  • 375 unassigned staff, mainly from the corporate centre
  • The balance will be recruited into the AO grade

FTA EO’s

The EO FTA staff who will be offered a permanent contract will not necessarily be offered a permanent post in their current location. In most cases this should be relatively close to their current office, but this cannot be guaranteed in all cases. Particular problems in offering a post nearby may occur where offices are geographically remote or where there are large numbers of surplus staff who have to be accommodated.

FTA AO’s

Management have not yet agreed to offer a permanent contract to all AO FTA staff. They say that the extent to which they can do this is likely to vary depending on the numbers of AO’s successful in the EO recruitment exercise. If there are more FTA AO’s than there are AO vacancies there will be a selection exercise to determine who can be offered a permanent contract.

Reinstatement

PCS has pressed management to offer reinstatement to the FTA staff who have had their contracts ended and have either been dismissed or have been returned to their original grade. Unfortunately management have refused to agree to do this despite the obvious benefits to the department. PCS will continue with its legal challenge seeking redundancy payments for those FTA’s who have been dismissed having had 2 years service.

AO’s previously on ‘VRA’ terms as EO’s

PCS has also demanded that management offer permanent contracts to the existing AO staff who had previously been on Variable Rate Allowance (VRA) terms as an EO but who have since been returned to their substantive AO grade.  These members have already successfully gone through a fair and open competition to EO at the time when the FTA’s were recruited and PCS strongly believes that management should now offer them all permanent EO contracts.  To make matters worse, many were even offered TDA to EO as soon as they were returned to the AO grade.

Management have so far refused to agree to make these staff permanent, though they have not finally ruled it out as a possibility.  The GEC will continue to demand at national level that these staff are made permanent and urges reps and members to maximise the pressure on management at local and regional level as well.

Benefits of reinstatement

Reinstatement would enable DWP to be sure they took on trained and experienced staff with a proven track record and it would save them the time and effort of holding a large scale recruitment effort. Instead all management have said is that they would welcome applications from former FTA staff and expect that their previous experience would leave them well-placed to score highly if they were to apply in the external recruitment exercise. Any ex-FTA who applies for reinstatement will be turned down.

Internal promotion

PCS also pressed management to run an internal AO to EO promotion exercise in advance of an external recruitment exercise to give existing staff the opportunity of promotion without having to compete in what is likely to be a heavily over-subscribed external recruitment exercise. Again management have refused to do this, except in a small number of Districts where they believe they can fill all EO vacancies without an external recruitment exercise.

PCS expressed our strong concerns that DWP has again by-passed internal promotion as a means of staffing up the EO grade. This is the second majo EO recruitment exercise where this has happened. Management were keen to stress that this should not be interpreted as meaning there will be no more AO to EO promotion exercises in DWP, although PCS expects that this is what it will seem like to many AO members.

Recruitment Process

The external recruitment vacancies are currently advertised on Civil Service Vacancies website. They have been broken down into 37 separate exercises based on DWP Districts. There will be a sift of the applicants based on the scoring of the competencies. The recruitment exercise will be conducted in-house. Management will use the exercise to create waiting lists to enable them to recruit further staff later in the year if the need arises.

Support for existing staff

PCS pressed management to ensure that local managers put in place measures to support and encourage existing staff applying in the recruitment/promotion exercises. Management nationally agreed that local managers should be doing this, including holding 1 to 1 and group sessions with staff and allowing staff official time to complete application forms etc.

Transfers

PCS is keen to see that the recruitment of new staff should be used as a means to enable members who have been seeking a transfer to another office to have that transfer granted. Members with outstanding transfer requests, particularly into Job Centres where the bulk of the new staff will be taken on, should ensure that the relevant District managers are aware of their transfer request.

PCS welcomes the recruitment

PCS has been pressing management to make the FTA staff permanent and to recruit additional staff for many months. It has been clear to the GEC that DWP needed to do this but management refused to change their approach until now. So while it is welcome that they have finally changed direction on staffing, it has come far too late.

If this decision had been taken when PCS first called for it then the jobs of many of the dismissed FTA’s would have been saved and hundreds of our AO members, who have been returned to their original grade, would have been promoted by now. PCS will continue to press management to make all FTA staff permanent and to offer real promotion opportunities to members.

CHARLES LAW

Negotiations Officer

 ROB WILLIAMS

Group Assistant Secretary

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