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Centre to counter threat to Hub jobs
A ‘centre of excellence’ could be created in Worcestershire to help safeguard the jobs of scores of council call centre workers, it has emerged.
Although no decision has been made yet, Mr Allison said he was likely to insist any operator keeps the jobs in Worcestershire.
About 50 staff work at the hub’s call centre, which handles queries from the public on everything from potholes to council tax.
Wychavon District Council wants to shake up its revenues and benefits department, which is a joint venture with Worcester and Malvern and operates its telephone response service at the hub.
Mr Allison said the hope was to create a centre of excellence at Wychavon’s Civic Centre, which would mean hub staff transferring over.
He said: “We’ve got 95 people working at the civic centre in revenues and benefits but come next year, the risk is that about 40 of those jobs could go.
“The Government is simplifying Universal Credit so aspects of assessing benefits get easier, and some work will transfer back to the Department for Work and Pensions.
“One way to safeguard all those jobs would be to hand it over to the private sector, so they can take on extra work and give the staff different things to do.
“If we don’t make this change it will be bad for the staff.
“As workers at the hub answer calls for the revenues and benefits service, they could transfer over too, so we would be protecting a lot of people.
“We want an open dialogue with the private sector but this is about saving jobs, not losing them.
“We want to get on the front foot and do something proactive.”
One option would be to keep the hub’s call centre at Perry Wood Walk, Worcester, open and transfer a certain number of workers to the new, private centre of excellence in Wychavon.
Another would be to close the Worcester base altogether and move everyone over to the civic centre, although those discussions are yet to start.