The DWP has been hit by strike action recently from its current HP staff. On 22 January, more than 1,000 HP employees at the DWP went on strike, after negotiations over pay and job losses when trade union Unite collapsed. There are rumours that this has contributed to the decision to change outsourcers.
Fujitsu has been hit with a series of worker strikes recently over its own pension scheme, also the result of a breakdown with the trade union Unite.
The deal involves around 140,000 desktops and, according to Fujitsu, is the single biggest desktop and thin client outsourcing deal in the UK. The exact worth of the contract has not been disclosed, but internet reports are placing it at about £330 million over six years.
Analysts today told Computerworld UK that the new contract potentially cuts millions of pounds from the DWP’s annual costs.
The DWP CIO Joe Harley told Information Age that Fujitsu, “provides a number of benefits, including little or no maintenance required to the kit and reductions in power consumption which supports our sustainability agenda”. Millions of pounds can be saved through energy consumption alone.
The DWP has clearly been looking after its pennies recently, after threatening Mary Gibson in Nottingham with court action over her debt of one pence.
Mary has been given until Thursday to settle a crisis loan she took out eight years ago, and although she thought that she had paid it off, it seems that in these tough times the DWP can’t let one penny go.
In the letter received by Mary the DWP states: “The total amount you owe the Social Fund is £0.01. You must pay this back. You can pay by installments or you can pay all of the money you owe in one payment.”
She said: “I can’t remember how much the loan was or what it was for as it was so long ago.”
Elsewhere the DWP is in the news for being defrauded nearly £80,000 by a constituent of the Scottish Health Minister Nicola Sturgeon, called Abdul Rauf.
Rauf, who had previously stolen nearly £60,000, asked Miss Sturgeon to appeal to the courts for him, which she duely did. But now she has come under fire for letting Rauf off the hook, and going against her pledge to be tough on fraud.
David Cameron said she had gone too far: “How she could possibly have supported Abdul Rauf and what made her do so when she had called publicly for zero tolerance towards convicted fraudsters?”
Rauf has admitted defrauding the DWP between 2001 and 2006 by claiming income support while receiving rent from a £200,000 home he owns in Edinburgh.