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No TUPE transfer for housing benefit staff

Friday, December 11, 2015

Making Experienced Council Benefit Staff Redundant Before Successful Roll Out Of Universal Credit A Waste Of Talent And Money

No changes should even be considered until the new system has been successfully implemented says GMB

GMB, the union for local government workers, commented on the statement by Department of Work and Pensions Department that as Universal Credit is introduced it does not propose to make any staff transfer arrangements for council staff who currently work on Housing Benefit for people of working age. See notes to editors for copy of written statement made on 10th December in Parliament on Universal Credit and Local Authorities.

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer, said “Announcing mass redundancies before the new system is implemented risks not only the livelihoods of thousands of dedicated public sector workers but also the essential payments that millions rely on.

No changes should even be considered until the new system has been successfully implemented.

Spending taxpayer’s money making redundant capable and willing individuals with obviously transferable skills and experience who in most cases could administer Universal Credits with the minimum of training so a new workforce can be employed is a waste of both talent and money.”

End

Contact: Justin Bowden 07710 249744 or GMB press office 07974 251823 or 07921 289880.

Notes to editors

Copy of written statement made on 10th December in Parliament on Universal Credit and Local Authorities

Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 10 December 2015
Made by: Mr Iain Duncan Smith<http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/mr-iain-duncan-smith/152> (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
HCWS377<http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2015-12-10/HCWS377/>
Universal Credit and Local Authorities

The full Universal Credit service will be rolled out nationally for all types of claimants from May 2016, completing in June 2018. At this point we will start to move the people receiving legacy benefits to Universal Credit. This carefully managed process will finish by early 2021.

This means the need for Local Authorities to administer Housing Benefit for working age people will progressively reduce. Local Authorities need to plan for the future and have sought clarity about implications for their staff currently administering Housing Benefit.

Today I can confirm that my Department does not propose to make any staff transfer arrangements for Local Authority staff who currently work on Housing Benefit for people of working age.

There has been extensive consideration of this issue and engagement with the Local Authority associations. As Universal Credit is a new benefit, delivered in a new and fundamentally different way, my Department has concluded that there will be no "relevant transfer" within the meaning of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (as amended). Any such transfer would anyway be exempt as a transfer of administrative functions between public administrative authorities. My Department has also considered the requirements of the Cabinet Office Statement of Practice (COSOP). My Department has concluded that COSOP does not apply where, as here, there is no "relevant transfer" for the purposes of TUPE; and that the new and fundamentally different delivery model for Universal Credit makes staff transfers inappropriate.

The phased nature of this process means that the impact on Local Authorities can be managed in a way which minimises the need for any redundancies. Where this does not prove possible, after the exercise of all reasonable efforts to redeploy people, the Department has given Local Authorities a commitment that we will meet their costs of any residual redundancies.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS372<http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Lords/2015-12-10/HLWS372/>

 

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