Leaked Whitehall documents have revealed that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is considering saving money by privatising the delivery of the state pension.
The restricted document, seen by The Guardian newspaper, is a review into how Iain Duncan Smith’s department will implement the £2bn of cuts which are to be made to its operational budget by 2016.
Under the proposals, the state pension could be administered by private companies such as G4S, Circo and Capita, all of which currently administer government services and have been beset by innumerable scandals.
As recently as December 2013, both G4S and Serco were being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), after an audit found that they were overcharging taxpayers for tagging criminals who were in fact dead, in jail, or abroad.
The government currently runs ten pension centres in England, Wales and Scotland, including in Newcastle, Swansea and Dundee. 7,000 are employed to administer nearly £90 billion of pensions, pension credits and other pensioner benefits to pensioners living both in the UK and abroad.
The review even considers whether the DWP’s bereavment service for those reporting deaths and terminating benefit payments would be run more efficiently if outsourced.
As with all outsourcing, savings will be made at the expense of workers’ terms and conditions, service users' quality of service, or both.