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HMRC Capgemini staff transfer consultation not as flexible as hoped, says union

With less than two weeks left until HMRC’s deadline for transferring 250 Capgemini staff in-house, talks aren’t going as well as hoped, says the Public and Commercial Services Union

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has less than two weeks left to transfer Capgemini staff to its new Revenue & Customs Digital Technology Services (RCDTS) branch as part of plans to give the department more control over its IT.

HMRC is planning to transfer 250 Capgemini staff into the department as part of its programme to end the £800m-a-year Aspire outsourcing deal by 1 December 2015.

According to the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), however, the talks have not been going as well as planned, despite beginning “with fairly high hopes that a transfer to an employer linked to the public sector and not just another IT corporation might be a useful model”.

“In reality, the attacks on public sector funding have cast a shadow over talks, and the organisational model has not proved as flexible as we would have hoped or expected,” the union said on its website.

The transfer takes place under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (Tupe), which protects most contractual terms and conditions, but does not cover pensions, which means that non ex-civil servants will take a “significant hit” under the new pension package offered, according to the PCS.

Some staff members are concerned that the RCDTS will not be able to replicate the benefits package employees currently have under the Capgemini contract, and that government pay policy restrictions will affect salaries.   

“RCDTS are not able to replicate the flexibility and variety of the current Flexible Benefits package, plus a number of the terms are non-contractual. The final position is that they will match where they can, and turn flex-fund into pensionable salary,” said the PCS.

“There is to be a move to a summer pay date and pay talks, but we anticipate that government pay policy restrictions will loom large.”

Around 150 people are understood to have accepted the proposals, with 40 declining to move and the rest still unclear, according to an article in Government Computing.

HMRC’s Aspire contract comes to an end in 2017, and the department is working on gradually bringing its IT services in-house.

In the lead-up to the end of the Aspire contract, Capgemini is helping HMRC to move several services, including the Case Management, Excite and MOIS Procurement services, under HMRC’s direct control by the end of 2015.

The 250 people transferring from Capgemini are those working on the Case Management unified platform or the Excite platform, as well as other third-party supply contracts.

HMRC recently announced it was closing down local offices and setting up 13 regional centres to offer “modern digital services”. ...............................................................

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