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Update from PCS DWP Group on JSAOL Privatisation 14/08/2012

Posted by pcsdwpsheffield in Uncategorized.
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DWP briefing

Department for Work & Pensions Group

 

 

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

Date: 13 August 2012

DWP/BB/102/12

 

 

Update on privatisation of JSA Online work



Background

 

JSAOL provides claimants with an electronic method of claiming JSA. Once a claim is registered on the system a work focused interview must be booked within 48 hours. The booking process has been undertaken by staff in Contact Centre Services. This work has provided essential activity for those members requiring a reasonable adjustment away from the phones.

 

Management announce privatisation

 

PCS reacted angrily to the announcement that JSA Online work was to be handed over to Capita especially as we had no consultation about this decision or any information in the announcement.  The timing of the announcement was inflammatory given the recent ballot result that 89% of our members in CCS want improvements to their working conditions, including an alternative being constantly on the phones.

 

We remain opposed to the privatisation of DWP work. Management have made great play that this only represents a tiny part of the process of JSA Online not the whole process – the booking of Work Focused Interviews. Capita will undertake call

 

 

backs and text messaging to book the interviews. However, it is still concerning that private company will deliver any element of what is the growing provision of digital services.

 

Reasonable adjustments

 

The work that is being outsourced is the work currently being done in 14 call centres in CCS.  It is one of the few roles in contact centres that provide work for members who require a reasonable adjustment to be put in place for non-telephony work.  Management gave a commitment in the meeting with PCS on 23rd July that all members on JSA online would be redeployed onto paper reduction work.  However this has changed in the message to all staff to include return to telephony as an option as well.  If any members with reasonable adjustments in place for non-telephony work feel under any pressure to do telephony work as a result of these changes they should contact their local PCS rep straightaway.

 

PCS is continuing to press for more work to be available for call centre members who are unable to do telephony on a short term or longer term basis.  We thought we had convinced management to address this issue. However, the privatisation of the JSA Online process for booking of work focussed interviews goes against this commitment.

 

Need for privatisation?

 

PCS has questioned why it is necessary to outsource this work given the limited nature of the work, the small numbers of staff employed on this service and the high proportion of members who are doing this work as a reasonable adjustment.  Management have argued that it is better to privatise the work than have to deliver the work on weekend overtime to meet turnaround targets.  PCS does not accept this and will continue to press for the full information behind the decision to outsource. PCS does not believe there is a valid business case. PCS has serious concerns about a private company being given access to the sensitive and personal data of DWP customers and does not accept that privatisation of this work brings any benefits to the delivery of public services.

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

PCS will continue to campaign for improved employee relations at all levels in Network Services.  Management’s lack of consultation with PCS is consistently an issue that is damaging morale and any confidence in management’s commitment to deliver good customer services and good working conditions.

 

PCS will not let this matter drop. We are completely opposed to the outsourcing of any departmental work especially that which provides essential non-telephony work for members requiring reasonable adjustments. Management’s rationale is deeply flawed and we will pursue this through our parliamentary group. It is shocking that a few weeks later HMRC have announced they intend to recruit 1000 more staff for their contact centres. Why won’t DWP do likewise?

 

Charles Law                                  Industrial Officer

Paul Barton       Group Assistant Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

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