Error and Fraud contract work to be fully returned to HMRC Concentrix staff to be offered transfer into department with the work Belfast jobs saved.
HMRC have today announced that not only will the Benefits and Credits ‘Error and Fraud’ work contracted-out to private sector company Concentrix be brought back in-house, but the staff currently undertaking the work will transferred into the department with the work.
Vindication and victory
The decision is both vindication and victory for a long-standing PCS campaign against the privatisation of this essential Benefits and Credits work; and recognition that the ordinary workers are not to blame either for the approach taken or the frankly immoral idea of a contractor being rewarded for unjustifiably cutting essential benefits.
PCS Revenue and Customs Group, the PCS Scotland and Northern Ireland office and the PCS Parliamentary Officer have been working closely together on the campaign; which has seen Concentrix and HMRC senior management heavily criticised in both parliament and the media over the privatisation. Frank Field MP, Chair of the parliament’s Work and Pensions Select Committee, said:
"The [Select] Committee was astonished by the extraordinary evidence we heard. From Concentrix we saw a company desperately out of their depth and unable to deliver on the contract awarded to them by HMRC. From senior HMRC officials we saw a palpable disregard for the human implications of this gross failure of public service. From the tax credit claimants we saw dignity in the face of appalling and traumatic experiences.
We have no doubt that many people similarly affected have been unable to come forward. I welcome HMRC’s swift action on the Concentrix contract, but that does not excuse them for ever having allowed this to happen."
The fact that management have been forced to pay massively enhanced rates of overtime; initially to HMRC staff to pick up the work previously handed to Concentrix, and then paying the same massively enhanced rates to HMRC staff covering the work of the HMRC staff picking up the work previously handed to Concentrix, meant that the whole situation was rapidly becoming a very expensive farce.
There is no doubt that those ‘hawks’ that exist within HMRC, who chose to ignore all of the early evidence so they could continue to push their privatisation agenda, have now had their plans totally discredited. Given the initial failings by the first company, Transactis; and now the failings of the Concentrix contract, it’s clear that the department should never again go down the road of handing to the private sector, any of the essential services that HMRC provide.