DWP has announced limited extensions to DWP operating hours.
PCS has been making the case to the department that any extension to operating hours should be as cautious as possible to enable the department to test what customer demand actually is after 6pm. We remain unconvinced that there will be a sizeable demand at that time.
What has been announced?
- In DSDRD only, Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Child DLA, Industrial Injuries Disability Benefit (IIDB) and Access to Work (ATW) will extend operating hours to 8pm Monday to Friday from 15 October 2018. The telephone lines opening hours for these service lines will be extended to 7.30pm. This will impact around 1,000 staff.
- Carers Allowance operating hours will be extended to 6.30pm and telephone opening hours to 6pm from 10 September 2018, bringing them in line with the rest of the department.
- No other part of DWP, including the rest of DSDRD, will have their operating hours extended to 8pm before March 2019 at the earliest.
- Jobcentre opening hours will remain as they are now until March 2019 at the earliest.
- There are no plans to extend Saturday working to areas where it does not already exist.
- Members in non-customer-facing areas like OED and the Corporate Centre will have no formal extension to operating hours but will be expected to provide proportionate support to those parts of DWP that will operate to 8pm.
- Members who have opted out will not be required to extend their operating hours beyond the hours that they are currently contracted to work
- Members at SEO and above cannot be required to extend their operating hours beyond what the hours that they are currently contracted to work
Originally DWP had presented PCS with proposals for a much more rapid extension to operating hours. We welcome the fact that DWP has listened to PCS advice and amended their plans to a much more limited extension as we suggested.
DWP had previously announced its intention to extend operating hours to 8pm from August 2018 and many members have been expecting that this would apply time. This is not now the case.
The earliest DWP could have extended operating hours to 8pm was October 2017, as stated in the Employee Deal agreement. For the vast majority of members this has been now put back to March 2019 at the earliest.
The pressure PCS has applied on DWP has undoubtedly been a major factor in the department’s decision to propose such a limited extension to operating hours over the period of Rotation 4. We will monitor the customer demand for DWP services after 6pm very closely and continue to argue for as cautious an approach as necessary for any further extensions.
We will be organising members’ meetings in the sites where operating hours are being extended to give members an opportunity to raise their concerns and ask any questions.