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This includes ministerial press releases, policy announcements, statistical and analytical releases. The Department also issued press releases for Jobcentre Plus, Office for Disability Issues, Pensions, Disability and Carers Service and several advisory committees.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what information his Department and its agencies provides to those who have had cancer on returning to work. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
People with a health condition or disability, including those people who have had cancer, can get a range of information and support from Jobcentre Plus. Customers in receipt of incapacity benefits or the Employment and Support Allowance can access Pathways to Work, which offers a series of interviews with a specialist personal adviser, a condition management programme and the possibility of financial incentives when the customer returns to work. People making a fresh claim for incapacity benefits will be required to take part in Pathways to Work and existing customers can volunteer for the help available.
Customers in receipt of other benefits or no benefits, who have a disability that affects them in the workplace, can receive information and support from the Disability Employment Adviser. The Disability Employment Adviser can also provide access to a number of specialist programmes that can help them move into paid work, including, Work Preparation, Residential Training and WORKSTEP, a programme of supported employment.
Access to Work may also be available to those customers with a long term disability. Access to Work gives the customer and their employer advice and support with extra costs which may arise because of the customer's needs. The programme can provide grants towards the additional costs of travelling to work; providing Support Workers; adapting work premises, and providing special aids and equipment in the workplace. Disability Employment Advisers can signpost customers to Access to Work.
Customers have access to a variety of leaflets from jobcentres. In addition, information about the help that may be available to people with a health condition or disability is available on the internet at:
I hope this information's helpful.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what steps Jobcentre Plus is taking to assist people recently made redundant back into work. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
A person who is made redundant and makes a claim to Jobseekers Allowance is interviewed by one of our Personal Advisers, to explain the help and support available which is then tailored to their individual needs. They are helped to draw up a job plan and Jobseekers Agreement, which is reviewed fortnightly. Jobseekers can also access job vacancies on our website and our electronic jobpoints, as well as contact our Jobseeker Direct telephone helpline.
We have also recently introduced a Finding your way back to work leaflet to help people understand what help is available, and a Jobkit to help those made redundant in preparing to find a new job.
Where a business announces a number of redundancies we provide our Rapid Response Service to support the employer and employees. This can involve a range of support, such as workplace briefings by Jobcentre staff, skills assessments, and advice on how to look for a new job. The budget for this service was doubled this year, from £3m to £6m, and will be doubled again next year to £12m. This will enable us to deal more effectively with situations involving 20 or more redundancies, or where there is a group of smaller redundancies in one locality.
We have also announced that more people who are made redundant will get help through Programme Centres. These provide people with different kinds of help such as help in CV-writing and gaining jobsearch skills. Access to Programme Centres was previously restricted to those furthest from the labour market. Advisers will now have the discretion to allow any customers to access this help as soon as they become unemployed. This will be useful for people who have been in work for a long time and have no recent experience of job hunting.
We are also extending the successful Local Employment Partnerships to provide help for newly redundant people. Through these, Jobcentre Plus is already working successfully with over 13,000 employers, and has helped over 70,000 people into work.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many job vacancies there were in (a) Hemel Hempstead, (b) Hertfordshire and (c) England at the latest date for which figures are available. 
|Jobcentre Plus vacancies in England, Hertfordshire local authority area and Hemel Hempstead parliamentary constituency as at October 2008|
|Notified vacancies||Live unfilled vacancies|
1. Interpretation of these data needs to take account of changes in recent years to Jobcentre Plus procedures for taking and handling vacancies. These figures are not fully comparable over time and may not indicate developments in the labour market. A more detailed explanation is available on the nomis website.
2. Notified vacancies include any speculative placings recorded by Jobcentre Plus. Datasets from May 2006 may reflect substantially reduced levels of speculative placings as part of the notified series. Consequently, care should be taken in interpreting time-series data.
3. The stocks of unfilled vacancies reflect more accurately job opportunities available via Jobcentre Plus. In the case of unfilled vacancies, use of the figures on live vacancies is recommended (i.e. excluding suspended vacancies), and this is the default option. Live vacancies may still include some vacancies which have already been filled or are otherwise no longer open to recruits, due to natural lags in procedures for following up vacancies with employers.
4. Data are unrounded.
5. Figures cover only those vacancies advertised through Jobcentre Plus, and so will not capture all available vacancies. Comprehensive estimates of all job vacancies (not just those notified to Jobcentre Plus) are available from the monthly ONS Vacancy Survey since April 2001, based on a sample of some 6,000 enterprises. However, the ONS survey is currently designed to provide national estimates only.
Jobcentre Plus Labour Market System.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the European Social Fund spending announced on 15 October 2008 and 4 November 2008 came from funds already in his Departments budget for the spending period 2008-09 to 2010-11. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 16 July 2008, Official Report, columns 474-5W, how many and what proportion of his Department's 8,950 customer-facing staff have received specific training on the changes to the eligibility rules for income support which came into effect in November 2008; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 18 December 2008]: We continue to work jointly with other Government Departments including HM Treasury to consider how best we can support those borrowers who may be facing difficulties.
In the pre-Budget report on 24 November, the Chancellor announced two further enhancements to the support that we provide to owner-occupiers through the income-related benefits. The standard rate of interest used in Support for Mortgage Interest will be fixed for six months at 6.08 per cent. for all customers who receive help with their mortgage repayments. And the capital limit up to which interest can be paid on eligible housing costs will increase from £100,000 to £200,000 for new, some repeat, and some existing customers from January.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what estimate has been made of the total net change in personnel in Jobcentre Plus in each of the next two calendar years. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Information on estimated changes in Jobcentre Plus personnel is currently unavailable in calendar years. Our workforce plans are prepared by financial year, which runs from April to March. For the 2009/10 year, current estimates are that there will be a net increase of around 6,000 full time equivalent staff. Plans for 2010/11 are under review in the light of the increase in 2009/10, and a firm figure is not yet available.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1993-4W, on Jobcentres, (1) how many Jobcentres were (a) opened and (b) closed in each year for which figures are available; 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking how many Jobcentres were (a) opened and (b) closed in each year for which figures are available, and for what reasons the number of Jobcentres has decreased.
This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
I am only able to provide information relating to Jobcentre Plus since its creation in April 2002.
The table below sets out (a) the number of newly transformed Jobcentres which have opened since April 2002 and (b) the number of offices which were open to the public and subsequently closed as part of Jobcentre Plus transformation. The majority of Jobcentre closures since April 2002 are a consequence of that transformation programme with a small number being attributable to service delivery reviews subsequently undertaken by Customer Service Directors.
|Transformed Jobcentres rolled out by Jobcentre Plus||Jobcentre Plus offices open to the public and subsequently closed|
In common with most large, modern organisations the great majority of our services are now delivered through the telephone and internet. For example, to give customers more convenient access, we have more than half a million vacancies on-line at any time (our website receives close to one million job searches every working day), and new claims to benefit are predominantly taken by telephone with some taken on-line. We remain the largest office network in Government with 747 modern Jobcentres which are supported by 31 contact centres and 79 main benefit processing centres. This has brought our customer facing services together in a more coherent and integrated network and I believe Jobcentre Plus is well-placed to respond to the full range of economic conditions.
I have asked the Customer Service Directors in our Regions to review their service delivery plans for every Jobcentre Plus District in the light of the current economic conditions and welfare reform changes planned for the next two to three years. This exercise will be completed by early 2009. As an immediate measure, I have decided to suspend proposed further Jobcentre closures while the current economic uncertainties exist, which will allow us to increase our capacity to deliver services to those in need of help.
Kitty Ussher: The Department's published three-year plan is available in the Library and sets out the planned expenditure of Jobcentre Plus over the CSR2007. The Department will publish a revised plan before the end of the current financial year providing further details on future Jobcentre Plus expenditure.
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