Ministers are at sixes and sevens about outsourcing jobs overseas.
The prime minister recently boasted that he wants the UK to become “the re-shoring nation”. In plain words, to bring jobs back to Britain.
Yet plans for the civil service mean increased offshoring of jobs. It means that corporate service jobs to do with IT, pay and payroll, procurement, and finance are done overseas.
Of course, the relevant union, PCS, is unhappy about this, but they are not alone. Senior voices inside government are also worried.
One senior official cited significantly increased risk to service continuity from loss of current expertise and incompatibility with UK growth objectives through loss of jobs in regional locations. She also raised concerns about employee and detailed financial data transmitted, stored and processed outside the UK.
This is one of my main worries with outsourcing civil service jobs and work that covers sensitive personal data including work in justice, offender management, defence and HM Revenue and Customs.
The number of jobs involved currently stands at 500, with 13 of them from the Department of Work and Pensions in Newcastle.
My fear is that this is the thin end of the wedge as ministers contemplate more jobs going overseas.
My concern is with the impact on confidentiality and on growth. It’s time that the PM stuck to his promises of reshoring.