Skip to main content

Departmental Jobs (Relocation)

Volume 531: debated on Monday 18 July 2011

11. Whether key suppliers to his Department are required to consult him on any planned relocation of jobs abroad. (66540)

Let me start by saying that we will not offshore any DWP jobs. I share the hon. Lady’s concerns regarding work being done offshore by suppliers. Many of the Department’s subcontractors began using some offshore staff under the previous Government. The Department is exploring how future offshoring can be minimised and whether jobs currently offshored could potentially be moved back to the UK in future.

I welcome the Minister’s reply. As he no doubt knows, the north-east has some of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Hewlett Packard’s decision to offshore jobs in Newcastle supplying his Department with IT will not help matters. Santander recently announced that it is bringing all its call centres back to the UK following pressure from customers. As Hewlett Packard’s customer, what concrete steps is the Minister taking to achieve the same result?

I have already had a meeting with Hewlett Packard to discuss the issue, and I expect to have another such meeting shortly. The hon. Lady refers to call centres. All the Department’s call centres are sited in the UK. We have the biggest virtual contact centre in Europe, and it is very good, I believe; I applaud the professionalism of the staff who work in it. I would expect to see many similar offshore centres return to the UK in future, because, in my view, British-based staff are the best contact centre staff.