28 January 2016
HM Passport Office today announced the detail of its plans for its "transformation of customer service operations."
We are the trade union that collectively represents the vast majority of the current workforce and our members in more than 15 sites now face the closure of their workplace with the first scheduled to take place as early as March. We have not been consulted on the criteria set by HMPO for site selection or on the outline decisions.
HMPO currently has an estate of 33 interview offices that will reduce to 17. These plans put forward a radical closure plan which will potentially leave 64 staff at risk of redundancy and further fracture links to the communities staff serve, towards a future that relies heavily on the public travelling longer distances for interviews at extra cost or the choice of a limited video conference facility at a few locations. Of the sites given a reprieve in the announement, this may be only be temporary. Many of the remaining sites remain at risk because of leases ending in 2018.
In our view, these plans fail to understand the challenges and risks that people face in all communities, undermine the service HMPO provides and impose further costs and inconvenience on the public. We are demanding that HMPO enters into substantive talks over its proposals and that the plans are scrutinised by parliament.
The proposals would see the following offices closed:
Our first priority is to keep offices open where possible. But we will also be seeking commitments from HMPO to retrain people and move them across business streams within the Home Office to support redeployment if necessary.
We are calling for the implementation of these plans to be suspended while a full consultation goes ahead.