The biggest civil service union has warned the government that a new justice department will fail unless staff and budget cuts are halted.
Earlier this week the government announced the Home Office was to be split into two, creating separate departments for security and justice.
The Department for Constitutional Affairs will take control of probation, prisons and prevention of reoffending and be renamed the Ministry of Justice. The slimmed-down Home Office will concentrate on dealing with terrorism, security and immigration.
The Public and Commercial Services Union which represents thousand of staff in both departments, has urged the Treasury to reverse a freeze in the budget of the Home Office and a planned 15% cut in the budget of the Department for Constitutional Affairs between 2008 and 2011.
The union also called on the Department for Constitutional Affairs to scrap plans to introduce a regional pay system for staff. With Home Office staff on different pay, terms and conditions transferring into the department to create the new ministry, the union warned that pressing ahead with plans for the regional pay system would be unfair and divisive.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “If the new justice department and reshaped Home Office are to succeed, then they need to be properly resourced and properly staffed.
“Ploughing ahead with planned cuts and regional pay will undermine the new department from the start and hit the morale of staff who are already trying to keep the justice system running against a backdrop of low pay and cuts.”
PCS members across the Civil Service are taking part in a day of industrial action today (30 March) in a dispute over pay.