This is the first example of a potentially worrying situation, as under the new, post-Prime leases negotiated by DWP, it is easier for landlords to break from the lease or end it earlier, than it was under the Prime Contract.
While this is a reality of the current property market, it should concern us all that DWP - who exist to administer social security provision, find work for those unable to do so and provide services for some of the most vulnerable in our society - are not in complete control of where they can run those services from.
While there is no suggestion at this stage that this will be a big problem in the future, it is concerning that a major government department is, to all intents and purposes, at the mercy of private landlords whose primary aim will always be to maximise profit and who will continually seek opportunities to do just that. This very real risk cannot go ignored.
Martin Cavanagh, DWP group vice president states “The fact we are in this situation in Lichfield shows how potentially vulnerable our members in DWP now are and confirms the importance of carrying on our campaign to safeguard all of the sites we have members working from; especially those marked as transitional.”
The DWP GEC will keep members up to date with developments and continue to work with branches and encourage them to campaign to save our offices.