“Privatisation threat as welfare services handed to Capita”

18 July 2012

A union has demanded an urgent meeting with the Department for Work and Pensions after it unilaterally announced plans to hand core welfare services to the private company Capita.

The DWP's contact centre management says the private firm will take over jobseekers allowance online services from September.

The announcement was apparently made without any prior consultation, and with no attempt to explain the rationale behind the move or its implications.

While JSA online is currently only relatively small, DWP has a target of 80% of new JSA claims to be made online by 2013.

The union says there is no justification for handing this work to Capita, which it alleges makes vast profits from taxpayers' money without the public scrutiny and accountability that is routinely and rightly required of the civil service.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "This is a very worrying development which paves the way for the privatisation of some of our most fundamental and important welfare services.

"The pursuit of private profit has no place in the provision of such important public services, and we are committed to opposing this every step of the way."