Published: 09:56, 12 May 2022
| Updated: 14:09, 12 May 2022
The government announced this week it was planning to axe 11 of its 22 centres over the next five years in a bid to save £20million.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union claims it puts more than 300 jobs at risk. The offices will be merged to create regional hubs.
Among those set for the axe is the office in Chatham which employs just over 50 staff. During reforms in 2014, it had already been merged with the Canterbury office.
The Insolvency Service is a government agency which supports those firms which have gone into liquidation as well as personal bankruptcies. It also investigates and enforces any misconduct by directors.
The Chatham office is not expected to close until September 2025 a spokesman confirmed to KentOnline, and government officials say all existing staff working at the site will be offered roles at their nearest regional centre. These will be in London or Croydon depending on where they live. Consultations with staff has already begun who have been told hybrid working will be available, along with financial packages to cover increased travel fares or relocation expenses.
They also say the figures of potential job losses suggested by the PCS are not accurate.
An Insolvency Service spokesperson said: “Transitioning to regional centres will see us become a more modern and streamlined organisation in the right locations for our customers, enabling us to focus on improving our services while delivering best value for money for taxpayers.
“We do not want to lose our excellent people, which is why there will be a comprehensive package of support measures to help our staff in the transition to new working arrangements over the next three to five years.”
Other offices in the country facing the axe are Plymouth, Bristol, Cambridge, Watford, Brighton, Birkenhead, Blackpool, Reading and Southampton.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is yet another blow to hard-working civil servants, who are treated with utter contempt by the government.
“Their work is constantly undervalued by ministers; these office closures follow hard on the heels of DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] office closures across the UK.
This is yet another blow to hard-working civil servants, who are treated with utter contempt by the government.
“We shall not sit back and witness our civil service being systematically destroyed in front of our eyes. We shall fight these closures, as we’re fighting the DWP office closures, because cuts have consequences, not only for our members, but for those who use these important services.”