DWP to offshore IT jobs?

Department denies plans outlined in leaked document

Department denies plans outlined in leaked document

Thousands of back-office government jobs could be sent offshore as the government looks to cut costs, a trade union has warned.

According to a leaked government document dubbed "Offshoring Process", the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is considering the use of private sector firms for jobs including IT, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union said.

These firms could then sub-contract work and move a proportion of government jobs to countries such as India.

The DWP document, which was seen by silicon.com, said: "In line with continuing need for government departments to reduce work costs, proposals are being made by service providers to undertake work for or on behalf of the department overseas. This could involve the transfer of part or even all of the functions of a DWP area of business that would have previously been located in the UK, to a centre located outside of the UK."

The PCS is asking the government how far it has gone with plans to use outsourcing sub-contractors.

A spokesman for the PCS said: "We're asking for clarification as to who the service providers are, what proposals have been made and what work is to be moved. There are still a lot of questions that need answering. We'll be putting questions through our parliamentary group."

But the DWP has denied it plans to send jobs offshore, stating the document was only for consideration.

A DWP spokesman said: "The document was produced on a contingent basis. There are no proposals. We have no plans to move any of our services offshore. It is possible that some of our suppliers use sub-contractors that are based abroad."

The government is under pressure to cut costs following a report from ex-CEO of the Office of Government Commerce, Sir Peter Gershon, who said the public sector must save £20bn through improved efficiency by 2008.

Employees at the DWP, which employs more than 100,000 people and orchestrates the Child Support Agency (CSA), unemployment benefit and state pensions, are threatening to strike this week over proposed job cuts.

Last week MPs were debating the future of the CSA.