25 November 2009
On 2 November DWP Shared Services took over work from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF). This reflects moves across the civil service to brigade shared services operations. The DWP is recognised as a major player in this field and already undertakes work for the Cabinet Office. Other smaller departments are also seeking to transfer shared services operations to DWP. Although this move strengthens the position of DWP as a major provider of shared services across Whitehall, it means extra work with a negligible increase in staffing. PCS will monitor developments closely and would welcome feedback from branches on the impact of this change.
Management have notified SSTUS of some major organisation changes affecting Customer Payments operations.
They plan to combine the recall and enquiry telephony work that is currently undertaken by the Bank Liaison Section (BLS) into the Customer Payment Contact Centre (CPC) activity at Runcorn.
To proceed, they intend to integrate the people and skills from the Bank Liaison Section with the contact centre.
Management will shortly be issuing information about a preference exercise to be undertaken within BLS to identify 10 FTE AOs and 1 EO who will move with the BLS telephony work into the Contact centre at Runcorn. In essence this will mean that instead of working in BLS, they will work in CPC, all of which is within Customer Payments. The BLS staff working from Runcorn who do not move with the telephony work will continue with backroom processing activities, as now.
PCS would welcome any feedback on this development.
Management informed the Departmental Trade Union Side recently of the above project that is a HR Change project to establish a Complex Case Advisory Services Team.
This discrete team will sit in the Corporate Centre as part of the Employee Policy Centre of Expertise, i.e. not within Shared Services. It is intended to handle complex HR policy queries from DWP clients and manage complex casework that was previously carried out by HR Business Partners. The team will be located in four regional hubs – Sheffield, London, Newcastle and a site in the Northwest.
PCS are not convinced that this represents any improvement on current structures that could not be addressed by increased staffing and better training.
The project also indicated that it would mean a reduction in staffing in Level 2b in Sheffield as the new team takes over DWP casework. Management could not specify numbers. PCS oppose this reduction in an already overworked unit.
Overall PCS believes this project is ill thought out and merely adds another layer of bureaucracy rather than improving the service.
Feedback on any of the above issues should be directed initially through your branch to Dave Wilkinson or Paul Barton Group Assistant Secretary at Group Office in Leeds.
Members will have seen the recent announcement that DWP Shared Services is to take complete operational control of civil service pensions. A national review has been underway for some time and the recommendations were to establish control in one government department. DWP will take over all existing APAC sites. PCS will be meeting management next month to discuss the implications and also the role of the new Chief Operating Officer.