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Centrelink move to privatise call centre condemned

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Australian Human Services Minister Alan Tudge has announced that Serco Citizen Services, a subsidiary of Serco, would be contracted to help operate Centrelink’s call centre. But the public sector union has condemned the move to privatise the call centre as it would give Serco access to vast amounts of personal information.

In a bid to address ongoing delays with the call centre, Tudge said the move would create an extra 250 jobs, with all Serco workers complying with Commonwealth privacy and security requirements.

“This partnership will assist Australians who are accessing Centrelink services, and help reduce call wait times,” said Tudge.

Between July 2016 and June 2017 the Department of Human Services recorded 42 million busy singles, with wait times averaging 30 minutes for employment services, 28 minutes for disability and sickness and 16 minutes for families and parenting.

The Community and Public Sector Union quickly criticised the Serco decision as an “absolute disaster,” with the union’s national secretary, Nadine Flood, calling it “an attack on public servants” and a “threat to the integrity of private information.”

“We are seeking an urgent meeting with the department seeking more information on this dubious arrangement,” commented Flood.

“Clearly this deal has been kept secret for some time if Serco is planning to be hooked into Centrelink’s systems in just a few weeks. Providing Serco with even the most basic access to client records would be giving the company a frightening amount of personal information.”

Webhelp creates 500 new roles in Sheffield

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Webhelp has announced an additional 500 new roles, doubling the size of its Attercliffe site in Sheffield.

The announcement comes 12 months after the company was awarded a contract from Serco, safeguarding its existing 600 staff.

Commenting on the expansion, Anton Manley, chief operating officer at Webhelp, said: “We took over the Sheffield site just over a year ago and since then we have been really impressed by the site, its location, Sheffield itself and especially the great pool of talented people who have come to work for Webhelp.

“Webhelp is totally committed to the future of our business in Sheffield.

“We are investing money in the site and with this recruitment Sheffield will become one of the biggest and most important sites Webhelp has in the UK.”

The expansion was ‘due to increased business from a number of Webhelp’s existing clients.’

Roles created will include customer service, sales, collections and e-commerce and all positions will be permanent, offered on a shift basis.

Webhelp specialises in contact centre services for companies, sales and marketing services and payment management solutions.