asked the Secretary of State for Social Services why his Department closed the Walsall Road local office in Perry Barr; and what circumstances brought about its reopening.
The decision whether a local office can continue to provide a public counter service in the face of industrial action is for local management in the light of all the circumstances. In the case of the Perry Barr local office, a number of staff followed their union's directive to come out on indefinite strike from 4 November. At that time, management judged that to reorganise duties in order to maintain the public counter service could have led to an escalation of the action within the office and thus jeopardised the ability to maintain the large number of regular benefit payments which the office usually makes. The situation was kept under review and the office was reopened as soon as management judged that this could be done.