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New Deal

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many left the new deal for lone parents whose youngest child is aged (a) five to 11 and (b) 11 to 16 years in each year since the inception of the new deal, broken down by destination. [9643]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The information is in the table.

Numbers leaving NDLP by destination to July 2001—Great Britain

Thousand
Left income support Still on income support
PeriodTotalEmployment(10)Transfer to other benefits(11)Ineligible(12)Employment(10),(13)Withdrawn for other reasons(14)Unknown destination(15)
October 1998-September 1999
Age of youngest child(16)
0–47.662.100.040.150.074.790.50
5–117.462.110.030.120.094.650.46
12–161.890.600.060.070.021.030.11
Not recorded(17)6.504.380.110.310.021.450.23
October 1999-September 2000
Age of youngest child(16)
0–421.7410.650.130.540.119.600.72
5–1120.8011.000.090.450.178.450.64
12–165.933.320.340.240.021.810.20
Not recorded(17)4.122.020.060.160.031.700.16
October 2000-July 2001
Age of youngest child(16)
0–420.2410.270.120.550.098.630.58
5–1117.949.760.080.400.137.080.49
12–165.763.330.370.200.041.670.15
Not recorded(17)1.340.530.030.080.000.640.06

(10) These totals do not include people who have moved into full-time work but remain on the NDLP caseload as they are in receipt of in-work support.

(11) Includes those making a claim for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) in order to join the New Deal for 18–24 year olds or the new deal for the long-term unemployed. Excludes lone parents who claim JSA in order to access work based learning for adults/training for work.

(12) Those lone parents who become ineligible for NDLP due to a change in circumstances, e.g. partnering.

(13) Lone parents working less than 16 hours in an average week, and remaining on income support. A very small number found employment after their initial interview but before joining the caseload. These are no counted in the "Total" leavers column.

(14) Lone parents who leave the programme but remain on income support for a number of reasons, e.g. change in childcare arrangements, new additions to the family, etc.

(15) Currently it is not known whether these people are on income support or not.

(16) Age of youngest child when attended initial interview.

(17) This figure includes children from each of the above age ranges.

Source:

New Deal Evaluation Database


8 Nov 2001 : Column: 371W

Jobcentre Plus

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which is the most accessible pathfinder jobcentre available to residents in the Vale of York; and if he will make a statement on the type of advice which will be provided by that jobcentre. [8274]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: We are establishing a new business that draws together the Employment Service and the parts of the Benefits Agency which support people of working age. This new business is called Jobcentre Plus and will come into being at the end of this financial year. To demonstrate the improved and more work-focused service we intend to offer in Jobcentre Plus, we are putting in place around 49 pathfinder offices throughout the country from 22 October.

Jobcentre Plus will offer a significantly enhanced telephone service that will improve access to the service for those who do not live near a Jobcentre Plus office. Each Jobcentre Plus pathfinder office will have a dedicated telephone contact centre open from 8.30am to 6.00pm. Customers will be able to make their initial claim to benefit through this service and book appointments with personal advisers. Customers will also be able to access job vacancies over the telephone through Employment Service Direct.

Jobcentre Plus will also have its own internet site with information on the service and links to the Employment Service job bank and worktrain sites, which offer a vast range of job and training opportunities and advice on job searching.

8 Nov 2001 : Column: 372W

There are several Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices in rural locations, and the managers in those places will be further developing the service they offer to meet the needs of rural communities.

The development of services for people in rural communities is not confined to the Jobcentre Plus pathfinders, with both the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service already undertaking valuable outreach work. In North Yorkshire, for example, the Northallerton and Richmond Jobcentres are engaged in outreach work to some of their outlying rural areas. Vacancy lists are put on display in a large number of local post offices and Jobcentre clinics are held in three locations—Hawes, Leyburn and Catterick—for half a day each week.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff in the new Jobcentre Plus offices (a) have been fully trained, (b) are undertaking training programmes and (c) are waiting to begin their training. [11223]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: 3,840 staff in the Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices have been fully trained, 648 are undertaking training programmes and 295 are waiting to begin their training. Over 80 per cent. of staff are fully trained as of 30 October. Every member of staff should be fully trained by the end of November.

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations he has received regarding safety procedures and safety precautions in Jobcentre Plus Pathfinder offices; and if he will make a statement. [11113]

8 Nov 2001 : Column: 373W

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Jobcentre Plus is a new service which brings together the Employment Service and those parts of the Benefits Agency which deal with people of working age. Jobcentre Plus will provide a far more personalised, customer friendly and work-focused service for both employers and individuals. The first 49 Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices opened on 22 October.

Central to the new service is our ability to provide face-to-face advice to members of the public. That can be done only in a predominantly unscreened environment. To that end we have invested considerable sums of money in building a far more friendly and safer environment than any we have had in the past. In particular, we take the issue of the safety of both the public and our staff very seriously. We have therefore been involved in discussions with the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) about their members' concerns about the new working arrangements, both at national and local level.

Employment Service and Land Securities Trillium risk assessors have carried out risk assessments in each pathfinder office. Drawing on those assessments, and following consultation with local trade union health and safety representatives, we have introduced a series of extra security measures. These include: wide coverage by closed circuit television; training for staff in how to handle difficult situations; better management in each office to avoid difficult situations building up; panic alarms; and more visible and more effective security guards. Additionally, in each pathfinder area there are screened facilities to deal with individuals and parts of the business which pose a greater risk. All pathfinder risk assessments will be reviewed in November and any additional security measures recommended by these reviews will be introduced. We believe that these measures demonstrate that we are taking staff safety seriously.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what representations his Department has received about the layout and furnishings of the new Jobcentre Plus offices. [11261]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Jobcentre Plus is a new service which brings together the Employment Service and those parts of the Benefits Agency which deal with people of working age. Jobcentre Plus will provide a far more personalised, customer friendly and work-focused service for both employers and individuals. The first 49 Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices opened on 22 October. Central to this new service is our ability to provide face-to-face advice to members of the public. That can be done only in a predominantly unscreened environment.

We have been involved in lengthy discussions with the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) regarding our proposals in respect of layout and furnishings including the generic risk assessment process. We have also consulted with the Health and Safety Executive and professionals in the field of office design.

We have consequently invested considerable sums of money in building a friendly and safe environment which not only looks radically different but also supports the service delivery aspirations of Jobcentre Plus.

8 Nov 2001 : Column: 374W

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what resources will be available to staff in the new Jobcentre Plus offices to ensure that claimants are made aware of their full benefit entitlement. [11254]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Jobcentre Plus is a new service which brings together the Employment Service and those parts of the Benefits Agency which deal with people of working age. Jobcentre Plus will provide a far more personalised, customer friendly and work-focused service for both employers and individuals. The first 49 Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices opened on 22 October.

People wanting to make a claim to benefit in Jobcentre Plus offices will be encouraged to make initial contact by phone. The member of staff in the call centre will use a script which is designed to help them identify the customer's benefit entitlement. The customer will then have an appointment in a Jobcentre Plus office. At this meeting a member of customer service staff, who is specially trained in benefit information, will explore the customer's benefit needs in more detail. The benefits systems will also support staff in providing full and detailed advice across welfare benefits.

Customers will also be offered review meetings, which will allow Jobcentre Plus staff to keep in touch with them from both a labour market and a benefit perspective.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training programmes have been initiated in order to ensure that all staff in the new Jobcentre Plus offices are able to provide claimants with the best service possible. [11264]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Each individual member of staff within the Jobcentre Plus pathfinders has their training needs identified in conjunction with their line manager. This information then forms a personal training plan for that individual. The training is planned so that when they are required to start their job, they have completed and consolidated all their necessary training.

The training programmes fit into three different areas: IT and telephony, procedural, and the "New Beginnings" programme. The latter introduces the individual to the new Jobcentre Plus new culture and expectations. The procedural training is job specific and ensures that individuals know how to do their job. The IT and telephony training shows staff how to use the new IT and telephony systems.

The three types of training, delivered to the right people at the right time, has ensured and will ensure that individuals have the skills, knowledge and confidence to deliver the best service possible to the public within Jobcentre Plus.


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