Civil servants to strike over Steria offshoring plans

Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union’s civil servant members have announced a strike on Friday (25 October) over the government’s plans to outsource back office functions to French IT company Steria.

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Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union’s civil servant members have announced a strike on Friday (25 October) over the government’s plans to outsource back office functions to French IT company Steria.

The strike will take place before the outsourcing deal, which affects more than 1,200 workers, is finalised on 1 November.

According to PCS, Steria and the Cabinet Office have confirmed that the move will mean that some of the work, including payroll and procurement, will be offshored.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “From day one, ministers have pushed for this work to go overseas, putting jobs at risk and threatening the security of sensitive financial information.

“We will not stand by and watch while yet another piece of the civil service is parcelled up and handed to a private company to make a profit.”

The strike will affect offices in Blackpool, Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and York.

The Cabinet Office is outsourcing a range of shared services in several government departments, including IT, HR and finance, to Steria as part of the Independent Shared Service 2 (ISSC2) programme.

ISSC2 (Independent Shared Service 2) is part of the Civil Service Reform Plan, which aims to consolidate and deliver government back office functions more efficiently.

The ISSC2 initiative is comprised of a number of existing shared service centres, the largest of which is operated by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). ISSC2 will deliver payroll, HR, finance and procurement services to DWP’s existing customers, with more government departments joining in due course. 

"The civil service is moving to be a faster, smaller and more unified and sharing services is a central part of this," said a Cabinet Office spokesperson.

"The Next Generation Shared Services Strategy (NGSSS) sets out a new model to share HR, procurement, finance and payroll functions with five centres instead of the current eight in order to deliver more efficient and cost-effective services."

The spokesperson added: "The process of selecting a private sector joint venture partner for the second of the two independent centres has commenced and we have consulted with staff and unions throughout, and continue to do so. An announcement will be made in due course."

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