23 January 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says it has no plans to offshore its support services.
The denial follows reports that the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), one of the UK's largest trade unions, was sent a leaked document entitled Offshoring Process
, which suggested the department was considering a move to offshore some services.
The document said: "In line with the continuing need for government departments to reduce 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."
But the DWP said it had no plans to move call centres or any other services offshore. It said the document sets out security criteria that must be met when considering offshore options and added that it had been produced on a contingency basis in case any of its suppliers contemplated such a move.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme today, DWP permanent secretary Leigh Lewis said: "We've not moved any of our department's jobs offshore and we've absolutely no intention to do so. This story has no basis in fact and I am pleased to make that clear.
"Like other big organisations we have a huge number of suppliers to the department and it's possible they may want to source some of their work overseas.
"The document is about safeguards we would want to have as a department in case any of our suppliers want to source some work overseas."
The DWP is facing a two-day strike at the end of this week over job cuts. Around 15,000 jobs have already been lost with a total of 30,000 planned to go by 2008.