11 August 2021

Urgent - Survey of DWP members

PCS has been consulting with DWP on the impact the latest announcements by the respective governments, about lifting Covid restrictions, will have on our members across the group.

Front-facing roles most at risk

As has been the case in recent months across the jobcentre network, our members in public facing roles are being placed at a disproportionate risk compared to their colleagues, due to DWP's ramp up of face-to-face activity.

This has been particularly felt in jobcentres with thousands of our members forced to see customers face to face, despite the clear evidence that remote working has continued to deliver excellent results for those in receipt of benefit. We have always understood and championed the importance of the public facing roles carried out by our members, but we are clear they must only ever be carried in an environment that is safe for both our members and the public.

This is not currently the case in the view of your group executive committee (GEC).

Others now at risk

In addition to front facing roles, we are also aware that a number of directorates within DWP are actively planning the "restack" of equipment in offices to enable a return to the workplace for members who have been working safely from home. PCS is not against this in principle but again insist this should only be looked at when it is safe to do so.

Unnecessary risk

Our members across DWP have shown over the last year and more that they can carry on providing vitally important services to some of the most vulnerable in our society in the most extreme of circumstances. Working remotely, many have shown the capacity exists to administer the benefits system and other crucial services without forcing our members or the public to place their safety at risk with unnecessary travel to and from our sites.

We want to hear your views

We have listened to you throughout the pandemic and have used your feedback to both formulate and press our demands on DWP. 

  • Your engagement with PCS has been critical in:
  • Preventing late working across operations throughout these dangerous times
  • Forcing the employer to facilitate the majority of members working from home
  • Achieving a credit for members who have continued to attend the workplace despite the risks involved
  • Keeping the benefits system afloat in the most trying of circumstances.

The online survey gives you an opportunity to tell us what you think about this next phase of the Covid pandemic, whether you feel safe either in the workplace or physically returning to the workplace, and whether you would be prepared to take action if you felt your safety was threatened.

The answers you give will be used by the GEC to decide on the next steps in our safety campaign, including the ongoing jobcentre dispute.

Please complete the survey by Friday, 10 September.