As a result of the pressure applied through negotiations and the feedback from reps and members as part of the DWP GEC’s staffing campaign, Child Maintenance Group (CMG) agreed to recruit approximately 289 FTE (full time equivalent) into CMG in July 2018 on 18-month fixed-term contracts.
The GEC warmly welcomes these additional staff coming into the Child Maintenance Service and the support that they will give to members struggling to cope with high workloads in parts of the business; however we see no reason why these new recruits cannot be given a permanent contract.
CMG has argued that it has an expected headcount reduction in the future and that they do not want to increase the risk of redundancy in the future. The GEC however believes that there is plenty of work, both in CMG and in the other parts of the DWP. More than enough to ensure that these staff could be made permanent, protecting these members’ long term future. This will allow the department to retain the experience these members gain during their time with DWP, not to mention preventing the waste of investment in training if these members’ contracts expire and they leave the department.
PCS further believes that given the current levels of work, the volume of complaints, often caused by overwork, leads to pressure on members who are then unable to spend the time to deal with cases properly. The volume of calls received in changes of circumstances and applications as well as chasing outstanding arrears and resolving complaints in CMG means that, even with these additional staff it is not likely to be enough. The GEC will continue to press for further recruitment into CMG so that the workloads can be tackled, services improved, complaints reduced and the stress which members suffer from as a result alleviated.