Capita still weighing up O2 outsourcing options

Capita is still weighing up its options for O2’s customer services, despite reports that it will close contact centres and cut thousands of jobs

Capita is still weighing up its options regarding plans for O2’s customer services operation, despite reports that it will close contact centres and cut thousands of jobs.

Last month O2 announced it was outsourcing the management of its customer services centres to Capita in a 10-year deal, expected to be worth about £1.2bn. The agreement will see Capita support O2’s efforts to increase the digital services it offers its customers.

According to a report last week customer service facilities in Bury, Greater Manchester, and Glasgow will be closed. 

Its 5,800 worldwide staff serving customers will be cut to fewer than 3,000 at the end of Capita's contract in 10 years. The Communications Workers Union (CWU), which represents call centre staff has already threatened industrial action if jobs are transferred to the supplier.

But O2 has responded with a statement claiming that there are no firm plans in place yet and that Capita is weighing up the options. These have included closing contact centres with compulsory redundancies and mass offshoring, which have both been rejected.

“ [The report presents this as a] firm plan rather than scenarios we [O2] may have discussed with Capita before we made our announcement last week. These are not decisions that have been made,” said an O2 spokesman.

“… there have been many options that we and Capita have considered. For example, closing contact centres (with inevitable compulsory redundancy) and looking at mass offshoring were options we considered but we rejected them because they weren’t right for our people."

The spokesman said O2 has guaranteed the jobs of transferred employees for at least two years. 

“Beyond that timescale, if there is any future business requirement to reduce roles for O2 this will not necessarily result in redundancies because Capita would actively manage the process (i.e. roles not automatically being filled when people leave and potential redeployment to other roles within Capita)," the spokesman said.

O2 said customer contact methods are changing and the contact centre workforce will inevitable change. 

It added that staff transferred to Capita might have better job opportunities as a result of its broad customer base. 

“We’re taking a million less calls per month from O2 customers today than we did two years ago. Predicting how that will look beyond two years is very difficult. 

"So by taking early action with Capita, we have been able to guarantee at least two years job security for our people. Beyond two years, Capita can offer much better career prospects for our people whether dealing with O2 customers or customers from other companies.”


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