Switchboard Staff: Relocation
House of Commons Commission
Kate Hoey (Vauxhall, Labour)
(1) what estimate the Commission has made of the risks involved in the move of switchboard staff to a centre in Southampton; and what steps are being taken to mitigate them;
(2) what consideration the Commission has given to longstanding contracted-out staff in Parliament being moved out of London;
(3) what discussions the Commission has had with Capita on their plans to relocate the longstanding switchboard staff to Southampton.
John Thurso (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Liberal Democrat)
The Operator Bureau is an outsourced service. Following a procurement exercise, a new third party service provider took over the contract and the existing staff in May 2012 from the previous contracted supplier. The Commission cannot comment on the future location of the Operator Bureau since this is subject to consultation between the supplier and its staff; however, the procurement process explored the issues that relocating the service might present, including matters relating to security, IT systems, and service continuity, and the Commission is satisfied that the proposals that have been made are low risk given the approach that is being taken.
The management of the staff concerned is a matter for the third party service provider. The Commission has been reassured by the provider that the staff will be formally consulted on any changes that are made and that they will be supported throughout. The House authorities hold regular meetings with the service provider to review the contract and its management. This includes plans for the future and the management and support offered to their staff.