back to article Government goes after outsourced staff T&Cs

The government is considering ending the right of workers at outsourcing firms to expect broadly similar working conditions to those enjoyed by their co-workers who previously worked in the public sector. The change is not about TUPE - which regulates the initial transfer of staff - but subsequent recruitment. A voluntary code …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is anything this party wont do?

    Welcome back to the 1980's.

    Just what exactley does the government think is fair?

    1. RichyS
      Thumb Up

      Seems fair to me.

      If they don't like it, don't take the job. This isn't affecting public sector workers where their role has been outsourced.

      What's not fair is my tax money being spunked up against a wall paying above the market rate for certain services.

      1. Matthew 25

        Think about it

        How would you feel if the person in the cubicle next to you was doing the same job for for more money and fewer hours, more holidays and a final salary pension you couldn't hope to match? I imagine you'd be a bit miffed...I would.

        1. John G Imrie

          Re: Think about it

          Welcome to the private sector.

        2. Eduard Coli

          Turnabout is

          How would you feel if your tax money was going to pay for some maggot who got his job because he and the head slaver lied about his creds and because the head slaver was making sure the kickbacks were good enough to cover your incompetence?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Did any companies adhere to this?

    I think most firms didn't adhere to it anyway. Where I work only the staff TUPE'd in from the Civil Service have Civil Service like terms. The rest of us on the government contracts are on the company's standard terms

  3. Richard 12 Silver badge

    It's already completely ignored anyway

    My wife does the same 'public service' job as my cousin.

    One of them works for the local council directly, the other is outsourced.

    The one that's outsourced is paid roughly 1/3 (yes, 33%) of the wages of the council worker per hour 'at work'*, has a full week less paid holiday and doesn't get any of their expenses covered.

    The outsourced one has also had to fight bitterly to get the training they are legally required to have.

    No, I'm not bitter. Just really disappointed.

    *This is partly because the council consider travel time between clients to be paid, while the outsourcer doesn't. The hourly wages are also radically different.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have a lot of sympathy for public sector workers, most of whom are on low pay, however, when it comes to redundancy, I find it hard to support them when the gov wants to cap the redundancy at a years pay and they want to keep it at 3 years.

    I worked in the private sector for a major company for 30 odd years. About 10 years ago, colleagues were made redundant with about a years salary. Over the last few years, the redundancies continued but the rates went down and down until currently, those loyal people remaining get statutory minimum which is WAY less than a years salary of anyone's money, even if you have been there for 30 years.

    Friends have similar stories. In he private sector we can only dream of a years salary in terms of redundancy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hate to break it to you but...

      As an NHS worker, I can only dream of 12 month redundancy pay too. I'd have to have worked for 50+ years to get anything like that. Never mind 3 years worth.

      Lovely headline grabbing numbers but I think you'll find this will apply only to Whitehall grandees, not the vast majority of public servants who will be lucky to see 1 month after 4 years service!

      Don't let the current tide of FUD about Public Sector Benefits confuse you. Just like I understand that the vast majority of private sector workers don't get bonuses ever (certainly none of the places I worked ever gave them), let alone banking sector style ones, understand that there are many different types of public sector worker, too. The vast majority of us will never see anything of the sort being bandied about recently.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Hate to break it to you but

        If you read the whole of my comment I started off by saying

        "I have a lot of sympathy for public sector workers, most of whom are on low pay, however, when it comes to redundancy,"

        so please don't tar me with someone else's brush.

        "but I think you'll find this will apply only to Whitehall grandees" If that is true, why are the unions up in arms then? Something doesn't smell right about it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Which is why

          I only discussed the redundancy pay aspect of your argument and nothing else.

          The Unions are usually "up in arms" for one of three reasons:

          1) The Government wants to reduce the contracted benefits of it's members

          2) It's members want the Employer(s) to increase the contracted benefits of it's members

          3) It's members want the Employer(s) to increase the working conditions of it's members

          I'd say 1) is the likely reason here. Remember, the Unions are paid by their members to represent their interests. If they weren't having a moan about these proposals, they wouldn't be doing their jobs.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Bossman came over right now and offered me a years salary to take voluntary redundancy, you'd actually hear a small sonic boom as I left the building.

    3. Lamont Cranston
      Thumb Down

      So, you're conditions of employment are shit,

      therefore everyone elses' should be too?

      I bet the Tories love you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @So, you're conditions of employment are shit,

        "therefore everyone elses' should be too?"

        Nice knee jerk there.

        I didn't say that, I said "I find it hard to support them when the gov wants to cap the redundancy at a years pay and they want to keep it at 3 years."

        I'd love to have 3 years redundancy for anyone made redundant but it obvious to even an innumerate that we can't afford that, so what I'd like is for everyone to be treated the same, and not necesarily at the lowest rate.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Mind you don't step in the bullsh*t

      the 3 year thing is one element of the T & Cs of the civil service workers. It's a part of their pension scheme that they pay into on the understanding that they will receive the benefits stated at the outset. The gov want to scap a range of their benefits but they are just waving the 3 year bit around to cause indignant outrage among the Daily Fail mob. Just 'cos Gordon raided the private pension schemes doesn't mean it's fair to do the same to the, largely well performing, public sector schemes.

      There are many different types of workers in the public sector with many different T&Cs.

      Consider this; once the majority of public sector work has been outsourced what do you think will happen to the costs charged by the private sector companies that get the contracts? I'd hazard a guess that the costs would increase, as would the profits, while pay and conditions for the workers and quality of service will deteriorate rapidly. Hospital cleaning for example.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        You must be f**king joking!!

        "Largely well performing public sector [pension] schemes"?????

        What planet are you living on!!

        The Public Sector Gold-Plated, Index Linked, Final Salary Scheme is funded by the TAXPAYER!! Not the Civil Service employer or employee contributions. The only reason it isn't quoted as having a major "black hole" deficit (like the Post Office or British Airways) is because the poor bl00dy private sector taxpayers will constantly be bailing it out for decades to come.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re:You must be f**king joking!!

          Which "Public Sector Gold-Plated, Index Linked, Final Salary Scheme" do you mean, exactly?

          Just to fill you in, where you have such a scheme, the scheme is funded from the current employer and employee contributions. Well, sort of. People who are receiving, say, an NHS pension now, are being paid out of what the current workforce are contributing plus the employers contribution to those. This gets put into a pension pot "A" to pay the pension bill "B" If, at the end of that year A is more than B then the surplus goes to the Treasury (not into a fund for the employee who has contributed). In 2008-2009, the NHS pension scheme run in this way made a surplus (I read 2bn but I'm not going to put too much faith in numbers). Other, local government schemes, are run exactly like private sector schemes in that they are put into a fund and that fund is what's paid out so no robbing Peter to pay Paul like in the NHS scheme.

          The problem that you allude to comes from *certain* pension schemes (and the NHS scheme could, potentially, end up that way too) where B becomes greater than A. Then the Treasury (which, by the way, is also funded by public sector taxpayers) has to make up the shortfall.

          This is good for the Treasury when more people work towards these pension schemes than receive them (they spend the surplus as if it were extra tax revenue) and bad when it's the other way round which seems to be the growing trend.

          Certainly, if that trend continues, it's unsustainable and a new, funded pot scheme, needs to be brought in somehow.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    as usual

    This will hit the lowest paid worst. Us IT workers usually get Ts&Cs that are more or less OK when comparing tupes and new employees. The types who will be really badly affected by this are people like contract cleaners.

    1. Andy Enderby 1


      And there's a good chance that the parasite 10% men running the contracts will indeed be on a bonus.....

  6. G C M Roberts


    Not the main point of the article, but I'm choking on the revelation redundancy pay to be capped at a maximum of 12 months. What was it before?

    As I roughly recall, us private sector fellows are definitely entitled to 1 week pay per year employed up to a maximum of 4 yrs and that pay to be a week's pay up to a cap of 200GBP, so something like a whopping 800GBP then.

    Anything on top of that is up to the good will of the employer.

    1. paulf

      Sorry dude

      You're wong.

      Its 1 weeks pay per year of service capped at 20 years.

      A weeks pay is capped at £380.

      Its then scaled as follows:

      * half a week’s pay for each complete year of employment when you were below the age of 22

      * a full week’s pay for each complete year of employment when you were between the age of 22 and 40

      * a week and a half’s pay for each complete year of employment when you were above the age of 41.


      So for someone over 22 it would be capped at 380*20 if they had 20 years of service or £7600

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Epic

      No, that's the same for public sector, too. That's Statutory Redundancy Pay that everyone gets (it's actually capped at about £300 but your point remains the same).

      Absolutely anything on top is, as you say, up to the employer. Of which, in the public sector as well, there are many and varied with great differences in Ts&Cs between them. Don't make the mistake of thinking that, just because the money comes from the Treasury, the Public Sector is all one big organisation because it isn't.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    They kept that quiet...

    They had to offer new hires original terms? That's news to me. I was hired in '04 by Capgemini to work on HMRC's systems, and no mention was made of being able to accept the (far more favourable) civil service terms that, in that case, went back through 10 years of the first outsourcing to EDS. Wish I had, as my redundancy payout would have been significantly more than the two-weeks-per-year every who isn't a company director gets fobbed off with these days.

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    What's that smell?

    The rich odor of Ministerial BS.

    "Going to help SME's bid for contracts" My big, fat and hairy buns. How about breaking contracts up into sections of say 10s of £m? Or a contractors selection (or sub contractor selection) process that takes less than 1 Ice Age to complete and does not require a "New Business Manager", "Bid Manager" or other similar title to be available 24/7 to answer questions that would not *need* answering had the person doing the asking bothered to read the bid proposal (or rather got a competent member of their *staff* to read it for them).

    However it does not sound like many people even *heard* of the code and damm few employers followed it. So on the basis there is *bound* to be a cost to this in time (and money) dumping it sounds like it will not be a problem.

    So why not be *honest* about it?

  9. Is it me?

    Thousands of workers doing nothing...

    Not in any of the government departments I have anything to do with, more like thousands of workers doing more than one person's job. Mind you I don't deal with DWP.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    My Partner works in a DWP call centre, they are under pressure to cut call times even further despite a huge percentage of those calls being of the "I was just talking to someone and got cut off" type. Yep call centres dumping calls to hit a call duration target. That is great for low income people being fleeced by BT for just "connecting" a call...

    Quality services are usually best provided by motivated staff getting a decent wage and with reasonable security in both employment and conditions. My Partner pays into the pension scheme, but unlike private ones I doubt the money taken is invested - the "tax payer" probably gets use of it, then whines when its time to repay what they have taken. These are not well paid jobs, with pay uncomfortably close to minimum wage levels.

    Too much spin from the Government and its media masters is clouding the issues, but like Big Business UK PLC there is a tendency to slash its own throat while wielding a knife to try to maximise profits - this is very similar. How long before the DWP is staffed from Mumbai?

    1. SynnerCal

      Re: DWP

      AC wrote: "How long before the DWP is staffed from Mumbai?"

      Why the f**k do you think that Champagne Dave is over in India, on yet another tax-payer-supplied free holiday?

      "Maude claimed that scrapping of the code would make it easier for small and medium sized firms to bid for government work."

      Ooo, that's so much bulls**t. What he actually means is that we'll give the work to the folks with the lowest bid irrespective of the quality of service. Or it'll go to our friends who'll screw the workforce over royally while pocketing our big bonuses, (think about the banks if you don't believe me).

      I laughed when someone said the other day that they were getting nostalgic for Broon and Lieboor, now I'm not so sure.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Dumping calls...

      those that get through you mean...

      The waiting time while someone picks the other end up is about 14 minutes....and at 0845 rates....

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Interesting points to note,...

    Public sector pay and conditions are generally better 'cos of a coherent union. Whether that is a good or bad thing seems to depend on how it impacts you personally.

  12. Stratman


    For decades public sector workers suffered lower pay than their private sector counterparts. One of the justifications put forward for this by the government was that public sector employees enjoyed better job security, better pensions and better redundancy terms. "Swings and roundabouts" was how it was sometimes described.

    Now the government is trying to remove these fringe benefits without any compensatory increase in pay. They want public sector pay with private sector downsides.

    Poor show.

  13. KB 1

    Missing the point?

    New workers don't have a "right" to expect comparable terms and conditions to the exisiting, TUPE-transferred workforce. The Code of Practice only ever has legally binding effect on the outsourcing company if it's built into the contract that the Authoirty signs with its service provider. Often this is indeed the case and I've seen plenty of contracts that oblige suppliers to follow the Two-tier workforce code, but equally you can't blame the outsourcing companies if they decline to follow this voluntary code of practice if no one is requiring them to do it.

    For my money, what's really behind this is the Government's cost saving drive. The Tories want more outsourcing because it boosts the private sector and (in theory) reduces costs to the public sector of performing those same services.

    Outsourcing as a concept is usually sold on the basis that it can be done cheaper adn better by a private sector specialist, but the two-tier workforce code has been a big problem in terms of delivering real cost savings because it artifically inflates the cost of employing staff to do the work. How is a private company supposed to make significant savings when the single biggest cost - the remuneration paid to workers - has to be maintained at existing levels, even for replacement staff?

    TUPE exists to protect transferring workers' terms and conditions, but companies can only make savings on their wage bill via redundancies or by replacing expensive people with cheaper ones. Surely axing this code is good for the taxpayer (we save money); staff whose roles are outsourced are still protected under TUPE and all the new staff... well, if you're not happy about the wages on offer, don't apply for the job in the first place!

    As plenty of people have said, there's no such luxury in the private sector!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a

    Contingent (Posh term for Temp) worker in a Government Department, I know exactly what it feels like to work next to someone donig the same job for less money, less holiday and far far far less rights. Thanks to the recruitment freeze, my whole employment is under question with the secretary of state.

    Public Sector workers do their job for, on the whole, less than the average private sector, BUT, they are guaranteed yearly increases in salary whereas a private worker may never see a pay rise until he leaves for another job (even with the freeze on pay, it doesn't apply to the lower echelons and this can be an extra 2 or 3 thousand per year), They have a generous pension package, an average of 10-11 days "Public & Privilege" holidays and generally a better chance of promotion. Oh, and the excellent chances to move between departments that never see the light of day in public. Is it any wonder that any private worker would LOVE to get a piece of that pie?

    The amount of complaining I hear on a daily basis leads me to believe that, despite the work they do being difficult, they do not live in the real world. Being a Civil Servant comes loaded with perks and privileges that I couldn't even dream of. The clout that the various unions have is enormous and jealously guard the rights of the employee's lest they become like any other citizen who has to struggle to make ends meet in a dead end job.

    How many private companies have employee's with 10, 15, 20 or even fifty years service. It just doesn't happen. Civil Servant unions live in the past where my father could join a company FOR LIFE. Now we have better pay but less protection and last maybe 2 years before needing to find another company & another job to match the cost of living.

  15. Graham 25
    IT Angle

    Good move in the right direction .....

    About time the two tier system was ended, with many many examples of good companies being dragged back by volumes of ex-civil servants with dubious marketable skills when an outsourcing contract ends. It will become a pretty moot point in the future once the civil service terms are dragged back to reality and civil servants made redundant will probably get worse severance terms, as their skills will tend to be at the lower end of the market scale.

    Having seen a PA about to get £90k payoff due to her civil service background and see highly skilled IT security experts only getting £30k its about time too - same length of total service, one in the public sector TUPE'd over and the other in the company all their years.

    At least the IT chap will get a job reasonably quickly, but the PA will be able to live for three years or more without doing a days work.

    Low grade skills, means low pay, which means low severance pay - as it should be.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Now the government is trying to remove these fringe benefits without any compensatory increase in pay."

    Er, that's because they've already had the increase in pay. Average pay in the public sector is now higher than in the private sector.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about this ...

    When I am forced to retire I will say to anyone who asks that I cannot afford to pay council tax, water, electricity or gas. When the relevant authorities arrive I will say 'Fuck you jimmy, jail me it will cost you more in the long run'.

    I have worked nearly 50 years paying tax and national insurance, its not my fault Broon has screwed us over but I will be damned if I don't go to my grave expecting every single penny I have paid into the system to be returned to myself and family.

    Be warned BE VERY WARNED!

  18. Noa

    Not ALL public sectors pensions please!

    NHS and Civil Service pensions may be paid out of general taxation but Local government pensions are fully funded by employee and employer contributions - they are not paid out of general taxation. As someone has said, these funds are largely well performing, so much so that in the stock market boom years the employers stopped paying contributions in altogether and used the savings to keep council tax down for several years when it was introduced. The average local government pension is around £3,500 per year, I don't call that gold plated and ours is certainly not index linked.

    Local government redundancy compensation is, at most, 3 x the statutory minimum and many local authorities pay a lot less - ours is currently 2 x statutory minimum and the council want to cut that to 1 x from next April.

    The COP, when used and I've experience of it, does prevent the situation of 2 people doing the same job on different terms and, speaking from the point of view of an employee, if you're going to harmonise salaries, I'd rather they were harmonised upwards. It's also useful when sounding out contractors, are they going to be doing the job better and more efficiently to make their cut or are they making their cut simply by paying crap wages to an overstretched de-motivated workforce who will jump ship as soon as something better comes along?

  19. Jemma

    Ah, Sir Humprey... about the numbers of government employees...

    Hacker: So when this next comes up at Question Time, you want me to tell Parliament that it's their fault that the Civil Service is too big?

    Sir Humphrey: But it is the truth, Minister.

    Hacker: I don't want the truth. I want something I can tell Parliament!

    *Names were changed to protect the [sic] innocent ....

    Anything involving the word Government or Service automatically means 6 people doing the job of one... it comes with the territory... like CEO's and golden parachutes. I've been in positions where I have been employed on fixed term contracts - and its fixed even if you finish a month before you are due to - you still get paid... I have worked for other companies working on govt contracts and been told "you know its not possible, I know its not possible, but since management havent chosen to tell the customer its not possible - here is your £35 an hour and kindly keep schtum"

    It makes little matter anyway since this government is as dead in the water as our last 'coalition' - you know the one - headed by ole 'peace in our...arrgh thud' Chamberlain - and the way its going they are going to be jealous of george bush's approval ratings soon.

    I predict that this government will, if it fails, destroy our political system at a stroke. The Conservatives & liberals will be out of favour and too many people have an axe to grind with Labour which will make them effectively unelectable so there will be no other options but the protest vote... and then its the time when we need to worry about the BNP and other such lovable options gaining votes...

    We might even end up with a government which bases its mandates on the highest percentage of 10% of the population - and woe betide us then.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand........

    Having managed a few TUPE'd people, universally their T&C's, Holiday, Pension etc are better than 'normally' recruited staff on standard company T&C's. What I found really bizarre is that they were excluded from the standard company performance review system - to the best of my knowledge they did not have a review process at all! They also get guaranteed pay rises every year (2.5%).

    Seriously, one chap that worked for me had nearly 50 days holiday a year! Ridiculous. BTW I am in the IT sector not teaching.

    Can't help but agree with a number of comments here that the public sector (and those that are tuped) needs a bloody good shake up. First, all taxpayer funded pensions need to go. Second, salaries brought into line with private sector (in general I think this will be down rather than up unless you are very badly paid).

    As a general point, I work for a very large IT services org, as they have forgotten what training is, last year I paid £1200 for my own Prince2 course. On the course, there were 10 people, 3 private individuals, me and 2 contractors. The other 7 were from the local council! Most of them were on the course as it was 'something to do'. They also stated that typically per year they get between 2 and 6 external training courses and as they are offered why not take advantage of them? Can't blame them for that I guess, as for their management.............. Is this really why my council tax is extortionate................

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