19 April 2022

Members peering into black hole of DWP office closures

“It's like peering into a black hole but trying to encourage staff to believe the best will happen,” says Susan, summing up her response to the threatened closure of the benefits processing centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, where she works.

Hanley is one of more than 40 DWP processing offices which the DWP announced last month would close next year. It is one of 13 sites where staff are not being offered a chance to relocate within the department.

“This closure was announced without sufficient information and traumatised the staff,” said Susan, an executive officer with more than 20 years’ service.

“I don't know how much more we can take. It’s heart breaking.”

William has spent the last 2 years helping people with applications for Personal Independence Payments. He enjoys his work and helping the public.

“I am so proud of the work we do. All this hard-won experience will be gone,” he says. “I have worked at Hanley service centre for three-and-a-half years. This closure is devastating.”

Peter is an administrative officer at the Hanley centre who has worked for the department for more than 20 years, he is appalled by the closure decision.

“I am shocked and appalled by the decision to close our office,” he said. “I have recently taken out a mortgage with my partner and have gone virtually overnight from what I what I thought was a reasonably secure job to being thrown into the realms of an uncertain future with no answers as to whether I can be redeployed elsewhere or whether I will be made redundant. I have worked for all my working life and faced with this has brought on daily panic attacks and makes me feel physically sick.”

Members' names have been changed.

Tell us how you think this decision could affect you by emailing: dwp@pcs.org.uk

We will use your comments on social media and in web articles but will change your name.

Also get in touch if you are part of a campaign in your area against the closure of one of the offices, to tell us how you are fighting the plans.

We also need all PCS members to sign our petition against the DWP plans and use our e-action to ask their MP to support our campaign.

Are you a DWP member in need of help or support?