Pension centres - changes to management structure and progress on AO specialist roles

28 Aug 2009

PCS recently met with PDCS management to discuss their proposals for the development of the new Pension, Disability & Carers Service Operating Model. Including a review of the management structure across the Pension Centre network. This briefing explains the outcome of the review.


The review of the management structure was, in part, because of the results from the Job Evaluation Exercise (JEGS) carried out towards the end of 2008. This JEGS exercise established that the SEO grade scored at HEO level.

Current Situation

The outcome of the management structure review is that a much smaller number of SEO’s will be required in pension centres. However, the review has also concluded that many more HEO’s will be required to carry out a range of middle management functions.

New job descriptions have been designed, and quality assured by the DWP grading compliance team, for both the HEO & SEO roles. PCS has sought and received assurance that we will be consulted about these job descriptions.


PCS has argued for over three years, at every level of the organisation against management proposals to cut out the HEO grade. PCS argued that it was destabilising the management structure, causing a lack of support to SEO’s and above, and placing a huge burden on already overstretched and under resourced team leaders. We have also pointed out that it has also lead to a lack of consistency in terms of the application of HR policies such as Attendance Management.

We are therefore pleased to see the proper restoration of the HEO grade into pension centres. It is entirely appropriate that this consultant-inspired idea is now consigned to the rubbish bin.

Surplus SEO grades

SEO’s have played a full part in delivering Transformation and this cut in the grade must feel like a real kick in the teeth for them. However, the cut in the number of SEO’s is to be expected following the results of the JEGS exercise.

PCS will give every support to members in this grade. Branches should explain to them about the work of the PCS Professional and Managerial Association (PMA) who work actively at DWP and national level to promote the needs of SEO’s and above.

Branches should also make sure that you speak to any SEO in Pensions who is not a member of PCS and ask them to join the union and get the full support of PCS.

Further work around Strategic Review – AO Specialist Role
PCS still has many concerns around the current make-up of jobs across PDCS. Many aspects of the work, including specialist roles, still appear to be out of sync with the DWP operating approach. PCS believes that the strategic review must address our members concerns in the revised operating model.

Management have now accepted some of our concerns and have agreed to look at the AO specialist roles. Branches will be kept fully informed as this work is developed.


Whilst PCS welcomes these changes we firmly believe that much more has to be done. Conference policy instructs the Group Executive Committee (GEC) to achieve improvements around other job roles in PDCS. The GEC will be working hard to fully implement conference policy and progress be reported in future branch briefings.

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