The announcement on 13 September followed on from the earlier one in the year that they were having to bring forward the date to close the site at Lichfield. It has long established that the site didn’t form part of CMG’s long-term estates plan, and this was confirmed when Lichfield was included in the list of “Transitional sites” under the people and locations programme, yet it was envisaged that CMG, at least, would retain a presence on the site until the end of 2019.
In addition to around 50 CMG staff, the Lichfield office also contains a job centre, and while DWP has secured alternative premises in the town for our members in the job centre, this new office does not have the capacity to house CMG as well.
Since the closure was announced in April, DWP has successfully found redeployment for the majority of the CMG staff but, at the time of writing, there remain 13 staff who are outside of mobility for offices where current vacancies exist.
Future of our members in Lichfield
PCS is extremely disappointed that DWP has decided to move to consider redundancies. We believe that an organisation of over 80,000 staff could, and should, be able to find roles within mobility for such a small number of staff.
Once again, as was previously the case in Plymouth, the department’s willingness to move to a redundancy situation for small numbers of staff is worrying. We know the potential closure of larger transitional sites is on the horizon, with hundreds of our members working in those offices.
Martin Cavanagh, DWP group vice president with responsibility for CMG, is clear of the threat this poses to our members, “If DWP cannot accommodate or find a solution for these small numbers without starting formal consultation, it must give us cause for concern with much larger numbers of staff likely to be affected later on, unless we can stop these closures”
“PCS is committed to using the formal redundancy consultation process to do everything in our power to ensure that DWP, or if necessary another government department, does offer these staff the opportunity to continue their careers in the civil service and avoid any move to compulsory redundancy, including campaigning if necessary.”