John McDonnell – 2014 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by John McDonnell on 2014-06-18.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reasons the G4S contract to provide the Child Maintenance Options programme was underestimated; for what reasons staff in his Department were assisting G4S with its work on this programme; and if he will consider transferring G4S staff under TUPE regulations to his Department.

Steve Webb

Call forecasting volumes used as part of a re-tendering exercise for delivery of the Child Maintenance Options service were based on historic call volume data. From November 2013, Child Maintenance Options became the mandatory gateway for all new applicants to the statutory scheme, which led to an incremental increase in demand.

This, among other recent changes, added an increased level of uncertainty into forecasting call volumes, in anticipation of which the Department has in place planned and agreed business continuity arrangements with the supplier. This includes the use of colleagues from the Department in order to take some calls where volumes exceed contracted levels.

This service was introduced in 2008 and has never been delivered in-house, and there are no plans to do so. Therefore, the transferring of staff under TUPE regulations is not applicable.