North-East jobs at risk of being 'outsourced'

NEW BUILDING: Progress on the leisure complex at Feethams, Darlington. Picture: ANDY LAMB

NEW BUILDING: Progress on the leisure complex at Feethams, Darlington. Picture: ANDY LAMB

First published in News

DOZENS of North-East jobs are at risk of being moved out of the region as part of Government privatisation plans, The Northern Echo has learnt.

Staff at the Department for Education (DfE), in Darlington, were informed this week that the department is looking into plans to outsource IT posts.

The proposals, which are still in the early stages, are understood to affect up to 30 jobs at the DfE's Mowden Hall offices and more in other areas of the country.

The Northern Echo led a successful campaign to keep 400 DfE jobs in the town.

Plans to move out of the run-down Mowden Hall were announced by the DfE in 2012.

Hundreds of jobs were put at risk of being moved out of Darlington to elsewhere in the region.

Thousands of people signed a petition to keep the jobs in the town, with council leaders and Labour MPs Jenny Chapman (Darlington) and Phil Wilson (Sedgefield) joining the campaign.

The DfE ultimately gave in and agreed to house the at-risk jobs in a purpose built office block in Darlington town centre.

Currently under construction and expected to be complete by the start of next year, the £8m office block is seen by many Darlington residents as an extension to the town's 1960s-built Town Hall, widely agreed to be in need of major improvement work.

With the DfE yet to comment on these latest plans to outsource Darlington jobs, it remains to be seen whether or not it is the case that some of the hundreds of jobs the new office is being built to accommodate will never actually be moved there.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union, which campaigned strongly in favour of keeping members' jobs in Darlington, has been informed of the latest plans and is considering its position.

Mrs Chapman called the latest developments 'distressing'.

She said: "There is a wider pattern from the Government in attempting to outsource these kinds of jobs, they are trying to do it with the Ministry of Justice.

"Sending public sector jobs offshore goes against everything the Tories have said about wanting to bring jobs back to the UK.

"It would be dreadful if, after everything we have been through to secure these jobs in Darlington, we were to lose a number of them in this way."

The DfE has not responded to repeated requests for comment.

Comments (8)

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6:47pm Fri 20 Jun 14

NOTODDEN says...

Time for Jenny Chapman to table a question on this on PMs question time. A full explanation should be demanded
Time for Jenny Chapman to table a question on this on PMs question time. A full explanation should be demanded NOTODDEN
  • Score: 2

6:59pm Fri 20 Jun 14

spragger says...

'to outsource IT posts'
Can we have some details on what these jobs are & why it is cost effective to out source them

It needs to be judged in terms of is it a good deal for taxpayers, as the ones who always land the bill
'to outsource IT posts' Can we have some details on what these jobs are & why it is cost effective to out source them It needs to be judged in terms of is it a good deal for taxpayers, as the ones who always land the bill spragger
  • Score: -4

8:04pm Fri 20 Jun 14

Spy Boy says...

The government want to move jobs to marginals. It is a good thing for the 400 jobs to be saved, but I have mentioned before that there was plenty of other office space available to move into. This £8 million could be spent elsewhere. I'm pretty sure that I saw another report in the news about the jobs all going in 5 years. I hope this is wrong, or has been allayed, but I can't stop thinking that the council is looking for new offices and this was a roundabout way of getting them.
The government want to move jobs to marginals. It is a good thing for the 400 jobs to be saved, but I have mentioned before that there was plenty of other office space available to move into. This £8 million could be spent elsewhere. I'm pretty sure that I saw another report in the news about the jobs all going in 5 years. I hope this is wrong, or has been allayed, but I can't stop thinking that the council is looking for new offices and this was a roundabout way of getting them. Spy Boy
  • Score: 4

8:30pm Fri 20 Jun 14

stiv says...

I understand the staff in question handle very sensitive student and education staff information on a daily basis, as soon as any such work is out sourced we loose control, take your eye off the ball and we have a costly disaster. Another gooid reason of why it should be kept under direct government control is the development of the recent trojan horse scandal.
I understand the staff in question handle very sensitive student and education staff information on a daily basis, as soon as any such work is out sourced we loose control, take your eye off the ball and we have a costly disaster. Another gooid reason of why it should be kept under direct government control is the development of the recent trojan horse scandal. stiv
  • Score: 9

11:33pm Fri 20 Jun 14

nigel d says...

I wondered who was laughing in the hot air balloon as it sailed overhead last week, its now clear it was the tory government just shitt1ng on us from a even greater height.
I wondered who was laughing in the hot air balloon as it sailed overhead last week, its now clear it was the tory government just shitt1ng on us from a even greater height. nigel d
  • Score: -5

8:54am Sat 21 Jun 14

st-george1 says...

… It’s known as the Mick Jagger rule … Never go on stage and shout Hello Seattle, until you’re sure you’re in Seattle !
… It’s known as the Mick Jagger rule … Never go on stage and shout Hello Seattle, until you’re sure you’re in Seattle ! st-george1
  • Score: 1

11:47am Sat 21 Jun 14

LUSTARD says...

oh dear, mind its 30 jobs out of 400, and that shady grey knockup called the town hall could do with being knocked down and rebuilt somewhere out the rd like next door to the new rugby club perhaps, that would potentially give the couincellors an opportunity to practice what they preach and walk cycle to work, their are some fantastic cycle routes to get there
oh dear, mind its 30 jobs out of 400, and that shady grey knockup called the town hall could do with being knocked down and rebuilt somewhere out the rd like next door to the new rugby club perhaps, that would potentially give the couincellors an opportunity to practice what they preach and walk cycle to work, their are some fantastic cycle routes to get there LUSTARD
  • Score: -1

6:56pm Sat 21 Jun 14

gramps427 says...

Its worrying that these are IT jobs at a time when the web is so vulnerable to hackers and crooks that Senior Civil Servants want to send private information to a third party as a cost saving exercise. This is so wrong, not just for the 30 workers but for every individuals details that are being put at risk.
Its worrying that these are IT jobs at a time when the web is so vulnerable to hackers and crooks that Senior Civil Servants want to send private information to a third party as a cost saving exercise. This is so wrong, not just for the 30 workers but for every individuals details that are being put at risk. gramps427
  • Score: 5

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