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HP shelves plans to offshore DWP support roles

Dole queues to be slightly shorter than expected

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HP has abandoned plans to offshore the jobs of IT support staff working on the Adams 2 contract for the Department of Work and Pensions.

The saga began in June when HP first revealed it was in talks to transfer some 200 roles based in north-east England to India to help it match the Government's demand to cut costs.

The move was met with obvious resistance from HP employees, the Public and Commercial Services Union and latterly local MPs, who highlighted the security implications of overseas workers managing a live database on 25 million citizens.

"Having discussed the proposal with our government client, we have agreed that in this instance we will continue to carry out the work in the UK," said an HP spokesman in a statement sent to The Reg.

Due to the sensitive nature of the work carried out by HP employees at the DWP, the Government had the final say on transfer of roles but the PCS also put pressure on proceedings by balloting staff on their appetite to strike.

Slightly less than half of unionised members turned out but 90 per cent of those voted for industrial action short of a strike, including working to rule and disrupting the knowledge transfer process.

Commenting on the latest development, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "This is very good news for our members who have campaigned hard on this and been rewarded with saving their jobs.

"But it also means that the very real concerns we raised about data security have been listened to, and we are pleased that ministers have seen sense."

Employment minister Chris Grayling said he had asked contractors to "find a way to work in the UK".

"We have always been clear that we will not offshore any DWP jobs, and we are exploring how future offshoring can be minimised," he said. ®

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