PCS has agreed for DWP to run pilots to test the longer term viability of combining working from home with working at the office. The aim is to test the impact of this on both the business and the members of staff and will be used to inform the department’s future planning and recruitment. The pilot will run for three months.
Increasing working from home helps to meet PCS’ current priority of maximising the numbers of members able to work from home as a safety measure during the ongoing pandemic. The pilot was also used to enable DWP to meet Treasury criteria to allow for the 2020 pay offer to access the full 2.5% as per the Treasury remit, which the GEC have rejected.
At present working from home has been used as an emergency ad hoc reaction to the crisis. The aim of the pilot is to enable working from home in a more measured and planned way, especially in the light of the ongoing space restrictions in offices caused by the need to socially distance at work.
A number of back of house and Jobcentre locations have been selected. They include UC, legacy, CMG and pensions locations. At these locations management will seek volunteers to combine working from home with working from the office in one of four ways:
- One day a week in the office, four at home
- Two days a week in the office, three at home
- One week in four in the office, three at home
- One week in the office, one week at home
It is important to stress that this pilot is for volunteers only and no member should be pressurised to take part if they do not want to. If the pilots are over-subscribed DWP has developed criteria for selecting staff to work from home.
- All current DWP HR policies will apply to staff working from home.
- The Employee Deal will continue to apply in the same way that it does in the office
- The health and safety and wellbeing of staff is of utmost importance throughout
- Home working risk assessments must be carried oun in all instances
- Full HR, operational and management support must be available
- A consistent approach must be followed in all instances
- Staff who do volunteer can change their mind at any time
- The work done at home will aim to resemble as closely as possible the work done in the office, though there will not be inbound telephony work done at home as part of this pilot.
These pilots are being run with the agreement of the unions at national level. As part of this management have committed to full consultation with local trade unions reps who will have a key role in ensuring the key criteria of the pilots are followed.
Sites in the pilot
The sites in the pilot are:
- Hyde JSA
- CMG Falkirk
- Canterbury UC
- Walsall MA
- Walsall UC
- Blackpool JC
- CMG Tyne View Park
- Stratford DMA
- Wrexham UC
- Makerfield UC
- Pudsey JC
- Morley JC
- Leeds Park Place JC
- Wrexham JC
- Purley JC
- Bromley JC
- Glasgow Dundas UC
- Oxford JC
- Wester Hailes JC
- Ayr JC
- One pension centre
- A number of HRT and DMA locations.
We are aware that working from home comes with its own challenges, which is why the voluntary nature of these pilots is so important. We will keep members updated as to progress and any concerns should be flagged up with your branch rep to escalate to group if not resolved locally.