Company is keen to talk to staff after winning contract

The Defra building in Alnwick.
The Defra building in Alnwick.

The company which has been awarded a major Government contract, which has been criticised for putting civil-service jobs at risk, has said that it is keen to talk to staff before any changes are made.

It is feared that more than 40 people at Defra’s Lion House, in Alnwick, could face redundancy after Steria was selected to partner with the Cabinet Office to form a joint venture, Shared Services Connected Ltd (SSCL).

SSCL will deliver shared procurement, finance and HR services to Government customers including DWP, Defra, the Environment Agency and UK SBS.

There is the potential to expand its services to these and other public and private-sector organisations in future.

John Torrie, chief executive officer for Steria Limited, has given the Gazette a steer of SSCL’s overall stance.

He said: “SSCL’s immediate priority is to ensure that services currently provided today continue to be delivered effectively from the new organisation post transfer.

“The focus will be on service stabilisation in the new environment, and on listening and talking to staff and customers, before any changes are made at all.

“During the first six months, SSCL will develop the longer-term transformation plans in conjunction with the clients of the shared service and the representatives of the transferring staff.

“The intention is to create Centres of Excellence for each of the core processes – bringing together skilled resources, best practices, investment in technology and an innovative culture. No decisions have been made as yet as to the location of those Centres of Excellence.”

MP Sir Alan Beith has sought assurances from Ministers that work will remain at the Alnwick site for 20 months. He also wants a meeting with Steria.