Communities Minister Paul Givan has announced that his Department has been successful in securing an additional contract to deliver services to claimants in Great Britain on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) which will create an additional 280 jobs in Northern Ireland.
The Department for Communities currently employs approximately 1,400 staff through providing services to claimants in Great Britain on behalf of DWP and these posts will assist in the delivery of Universal Credit, Child Maintenance Group and Personal Independence Payment services to claimants across Great Britain. The contract is expected to have a value in excess of £16million over the two year period and the average salary is expected to be in excess of £19,000 for the posts which are expected to be mainly administrative grades.
Announcing the new contract, Minister Givan said: “This is great news for Northern Ireland and this additional investment is clear acknowledgement by the Department of Work and Pensions that they value the high quality services currently being provided by our staff. These posts will all need to be fully operational by April 2017 and I can confirm that they will be shared between sites in Belfast and Armagh. I am committed to building on our relationship with the Department for Work and Pensions and will be soon visiting London to meet with their Ministers to discuss how we can provide further support.”
The Armagh Jobs and Benefits office will be the site for the delivery of the Personal Independence Payments posts as it has the necessary ICT infrastructure and accommodation. The Department will be able to redeploy staff to Armagh from other offices where there are surplus staff following changes introduced by the Welfare Reform Bill.
The Department for Communities has confirmed that it is normal practice for these types of services to be subject to a time limited contract which enables both departments to review the continuing need for the services.
DWP will fully fund all resource costs together with any associated non-staff costs, relevant overheads and training and implementation costs.