Insolvency Service plans to close half its offices and reinvest £20m savings in online services

Written by Beckie Smith on 13 May 2022 in News
News

Unions warn that restructure could imperil up to 300 jobs

Credit: Crown Copyright/Open Government Licence v3.0

The Insolvency Service is to close more than half of its offices in England over the coming years plans to reinvest the expected multimillion-pound savings in improving its online services.

The executive agency, which provides information on bankruptcy, redundancy, paying off debts, company insolvency and misconduct of trading companies and partnerships, will close 11 of its 20 local offices in England over the next five years. Bigger offices will absorb smaller ones, in a move the Insolvency Service said will save more than £20m over the next decade – and the PCS union warned could put as many as 300 jobs could be at risk.

Its offices in Cardiff and Edinburgh will stay open as the organisation – sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – moves towards a “regional hub” model.

In England, the offices in Birmingham, Croydon, Exeter, Ipswich, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham will remain open.

The Cambridge, Watford, Birkenhead, Blackpool, Brighton, Chatham, Reading, Southampton, Bristol and Plymouth locations will close.

The savings will be used to improve online facilities, “making the agency’s services more customer focused, efficient and accessible”, the agency said.


Related content


Staff affected by the office closures will be relocated to their nearest regional centre.

But the PCS union has pushed back against the plan, which it says could put more than 300 of the agency's 1,700 staff at risk of redundancy and threatens the Insolvency Service’s work.

Its general secretary, Mark Serwotka, called the announcement “yet another blow to hard-working civil servants, who are treated with utter contempt by the government”.

“Their work is constantly undervalued by ministers; these office closures follow hard on the heels of DWP office closures across the UK,” he said. “We shall not sit back and witness our civil service being systematically destroyed in front of our eyes. We shall fight these closures, as we’re fighting the DWP office closures, because cuts have consequences, not only for our members, but for those who use these important services.” 

The trade union is encouraging people to write to their local MPs to oppose the closures.

Responding to the concerns, an Insolvency Service spokesperson said: “We do not want to lose our excellent people, which is why there will be a comprehensive package of support measures to help our staff in the transition to new working arrangements over the next 3-5 years.”

The organisation has started consulting with staff about how their jobs will be affected.

Announcing the plan, Insolvency Service chief executive Dean Beale, said: “This is an exciting development which will see us become a more modern and streamlined organisation in the right locations for our customers, enabling us to better meet their needs.

“As well as supporting the government’s effort to help the country build back better from the pandemic, we will be able to focus on improving our services while delivering best value for money for taxpayers.”

 

About the author

Beckie Smith is deputy editor for PublicTechnlogy sister publication Civil Service World, where a version of this story first appeared. She tweets as @beckie__smith.

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

‘DCMS can speak with a single, expert voice on digital policy within government’
26 October 2022

Perm sec Healey claims that department’s emergence as the go-to place for tech policy is ‘an incredible asset to the UK’

Leaders want public sector to become ‘digital to the core’ to cope with challenges
9 November 2022

Reports identify importance of technology skills to help meet service demand in spite of financial pressures

Home Office seeks software developers to meet ‘daring targets’ for use of automation
2 December 2022

Department looks for trio of experts to join specialist team

No crypto in government reserves, Treasury minister confirms
23 November 2022

Bank of England will soon take the next steps in exploring the possible introduction of a central digital currency