Union leaders are angry after the British Council announced plans to offshore 85 IT jobs. This is the first time the civil service has directly offshored posts as part of cost saving attempts.
The British Council is considered a quango - an organisation which receives a grant from the governemtn but isn't a government department. However the news has prompted fears that departments will follow suit and offshore IT roles.
The Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents staff at the British Council, said the news was an "absolute disgrace." A spokesperson at the union said: "The British Council is an educational and cultural organisation to support British culture, but a big part of this organisation is now going to be based abroad."
In a statement The British Council said it is "consulting with staff and the unions on proposals to improve the quality and cost effectiveness of IT work. The transformation programme will create leaner, lighter administrative and back-office functions, and more effective global support services."
The agency was "not immune to the external financial pressures facing everyone." And it had faced a drop in the amount of government grants it received, and a declining spending power overseas owing to the fall in the value of the pound.
The offshoring plans at the British Council form part of 500 job cuts across different roles in its UK offices over the next two years. Non-IT changes will involve the elimination of roles rather than offshoring.
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