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23 Feb 2009 : Column 59W—continued

Economic Situation

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions his Department has had with outside organisations to discuss policy on reducing the effect of the recession on matters within his Department's responsibility. [254067]

Jonathan Shaw: The global economic downturn has far-reaching consequences and requires a co-ordinated response from across Government and businesses. We have been working hard to promote closer working between employers and Jobcentre Plus. On 12 January, for example, we hosted an Employment Summit, bringing together around 120 employers, representative groups and training providers to discuss how businesses can play their part in the response to rising unemployment. The total cost of the event was £162,076.18.

Building on this, the Secretary of State jointly hosted the first meeting of the National Employment Partnership on 11 February. This event was attended by 22 key employers from across a number of sectors to discuss the implementation of the Government's new package of support for those who are still unemployed six months into a jobseeker's allowance claim, and to discuss the role and importance of Local Employment Partnerships.

In addition to these events, Ministers and senior officials continue to meet with outside organisations on a regular basis to discuss specific issues arising from the recession across the whole spectrum of the Department's work.

Employment

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what recent steps the Government has taken to assist the long-term unemployed gain employment; [253245]

(2) what recent steps the Government has taken to help people returning to work. [253246]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 3 February 2009]: The Government are doing everything they can to help those who become unemployed back into work as quickly as possible. We recognise that extra support is needed during the downturn, and a range of new help is being made available to jobseekers.

We are investing an extra £1.3 billion to ensure that through Jobcentre Plus we can continue to provide personal help and advice to everyone who needs it—help
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in finding a job, filling in job applications and writing a CV plus advice on re-training and acquiring new skills.

From April 2009 we will also be investing a further £0.5 billion to guarantee more support to every person still looking for work after six months by making a range of additional options available including providing up to £2,500 for employers who recruit and train people unemployed for over six months; money and support to set up their own business; training to improve skills to get a job; and the opportunity to volunteer where this will help a person move towards work.

And we are pressing ahead with our welfare reforms from this year that will increase support for unemployed people as their claim to benefit continues. We are creating a new contract for jobseekers, promising help with skills and with employability.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many vacancies were advertised by jobcentres in the (a) fourth quarter of 2008, (b) third quarter of 2008, (c) fourth quarter of 2007 and (d) fourth quarter of 2006. [254035]

Mr. McNulty: The available information is in the following table:

Number of Vacancies advertised in Job centres: Great Britain
Quarter ending Vacancies

October 2006

397,652

November 2006

347,079

December 2006

308,414

October 2007

504,290

November 2007

469,282

December 2007

394,904

July 2008

353,493

August 2008

348,451

September 2008

373,922

October 2008

383,331

November 2008

343,274

December 2008

271,011

Notes:
1. These are not whole economy figures. Coverage relates just to vacancies notified to Jobcentre Plus and as such represents a market share of vacancies throughout the whole economy. This proportion varies over time, according to the occupation of the vacancy and industry of the employer, and by local area.
2. These figures are of stocks of unfilled vacancies which 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Data labelled as “Month X” predominantly relate to the previous month. The release calendar gives details of the monthly release dates and the periods covered. For example, January 2009 relates to the period (6 December 2008- 2 January 2009).
6. Reporting months relate to either a four week or five week period depending on count dates. Users should be cautious about comparing monthly flows and may wish to standardise the figures. For example the January 2009 period is a four week period whereas February 2009 is a five week period.
7. Vacancy data are collected by month and quarterly data are not available. It is not possible to sum up each month in the quarter as this would lead to some job vacancies being counted twice.
Source:
Jobcentre Plus Labour Market System

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Employment Schemes

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the personalised employment programme pilots are part of (a) the progression to work pathfinders and (b) the invest to save pathfinders. [255101]

Mr. McNulty: The Personalised Employment Programme pilots will test a single, integrated, flexible employment programme for jobseeker’s allowance claimants, new employment and support allowance claimants and parents with younger children. These pilots are designed primarily to test a new delivery model for contracted out employment support across multiple client groups.

We intend that the Progression to Work pathfinders will be separate from personalised employment programme pilots. However, we will apply the same broad conditionality framework for the Progression to Work group in the pilots as we plan to use in the pathfinders.

The invest to save pathfinders will be separate from the Personalised Employment Programme pilots in order that we can properly evaluate the impacts of the different delivery and funding models.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of (a) lone parents and (b) partners of existing benefit claimants will participate in progression to work pathfinders. [255115]

Mr. McNulty: The ‘Progression to Work' pathfinders will, subject to the passage of legislation, cover approximately 10 per cent. of lone parents on income support with children aged one to six. This equates to approximately 60,000 lone parents falling into the Progression to Work group each year, based on current volumes.

Subject to the passage of legislation, the ‘Progression to Work' pathfinders will cover approximately 10 per cent. of partners of benefit recipients with children aged one to six. Based on current volumes, this equates to approximately 10,000 partners of benefit claimants falling in the Progression to Work group each year.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals claimed travel expenses for journeys to and from (a) work-focussed interviews and (b) meetings with personal advisers at Jobcentre Plus offices in each of the last 60 months; how much on average was claimed by each individual; and how much was claimed for such expenses in each month. [256807]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 12 February 2009]: The information is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Employment Services: Down’s Syndrome

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to help people with Down’s syndrome into work. [253097]

Jonathan Shaw: We have significantly improved and strengthened the employment provisions of the Disability
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Discrimination Act 1995, so that it now provides a comprehensive set of enforceable rights for disabled people, including those with Down’s syndrome.

We also operate a number of different schemes that disabled people can access in order to help them find work.

Remploy offers support to disabled people with job search facilities and includes one-to-one advice and guidance. Remploy can also set up individually designed development plans, as well as offering in-work support and access to a range of local employment opportunities. Remploy has a proven track record of finding jobs for disabled people.

Jobcentre Plus is committed to supporting disabled people, including those with Down’s syndrome, to find suitable, sustainable employment in their local area. It does this through its personal advisers, including Disability Employment Advisers.

Jobcentre Plus works with a range of providers from the private, public and voluntary sectors to provide specialist disability programmes to help disabled people to overcome the labour market barriers they may face, these include Work Preparation, WORKSTEP (a programme of supported employment), New Deal for Disabled People, Residential Training and the Job Introduction Scheme. Disability Employment Advisers have access to work psychologists to assist them in supporting customers if appropriate.

Disability Employment Advisers are also able to facilitate disabled people’s applications to Access to Work, which can assist an individual who already has a job or has a job to start. Access to Work can provide practical advice and support to the disabled person and their employer to help them overcome work related obstacles resulting from disability. All Access to Work support is tailored to the individual’s needs.

The Government have also set up the “Employ ability” programme, in which we are currently engaging with employers to improve their understanding of disability and their attitudes towards employing disabled people, with long-term health conditions. “Employ ability” is aimed at small to medium-sized employers and is being rolled out to Scotland, Wales and seven regions between 24 March 2008 and 27 February 2009.

Employment Services: General Practitioners

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 16 December 2008, Official Report, column 615W, on employment services: general practitioners, (1) what the location is of each GP surgery in which an employment adviser is placed; [248399]

(2) how many Jobcentre advisers have been placed in GP surgeries in each financial year since the programme started; [248400]

(3) what future projections his Department has made for (a) expenditure on and (b) the number of Jobcentre employment advisers in GP surgeries; [248401]

(4) how much has been spent on placing Jobcentre advisers in GP surgeries in each financial year since the programme started. [248402]


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Mr. McNulty [holding answer 19 January 2009]: Information about surgery locations in the original pilot and expansion is in the following table. In addition, advisers provide services in approximately 70 GPs surgeries in Scotland. Information about the towns where the surgeries are located is also provided.

In the original five pilot sites the project was funded for one full time adviser. The current projection for expenditure is £309,996 per year per district. This includes staff costs, training and set up costs for the surgery which will include a risk assessment. The number of advisers will remain at one full-time post per district.
23 Feb 2009 : Column 64W
Occasionally a district will split the post to two part-time posts. The projected total is therefore 15 to 17 advisers. The original pilot had five to seven advisers.

The original five pilot sites were funded from Pathways to Work programme money with £1.5 million for three years. However, individual sites added funding from a variety of sources to boost provision for the Pathways Advisory Service. For the expansion no significant spend has taken place as the districts are currently working to set up the project. It is expected each district will keep within the projected £309,996 figure.


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23 Feb 2009 : Column 66W
Pathways Advisory Service surgery locations
District

GP Practice

Stoke on Trent

Longton

Willow Bank Health Centre

Longton

Single practitioner

Longton

Single practitioner

Cumbria

Barrow-in-Furness

Atkinson Health Centre

Barrow-in-Furness

Bridgegate Medical Centre

Barrow-in-Furness

Duke Street Surgery

Barrow-in-Furness

Norwood Medical Practice

Barrow-in-Furness

Risedale Surgery

Lancashire

Accrington

Richmond Medical Centre

Burnley

Ruskin Health Centre

Burnley

Rosehill Surgery

Burnley

Kiddrow Lane Health Centre

Burnley

St Nicholas Group Practice

Burnley

Yorkshire Street Medical Centre

Nelson

Whitefield Health Care

South Wales Valleys

Ponypridd

Ynysangharad Surgery

Abertillery

Abernant Surgery

Treorchy

Forest View

Aberdare

St. Johns Surgery

Swansea

Pontardawe

Pontardawe Health Centre

Tyne and Wear

South Shields

Flagg Court Health Centre

Manchester

Salford

Ganvier Centre

Salford

Little Hulton Practice

Salford

Willow Tree Healthy Living Centre

Salford

The Surgery

Salford

Sorrel Bank Medical Practice

Tees Valley

Norton

Norton Medical Centre

Middlesbrough

Park Surgery

Hartlepool

McKenzie Practice

Darlington

Orchard Practice

Somerset and Dorset

Cheddar

Cheddar MC

Bridgwater

Redgate MC

Bridgwater

Victoria Park MC

Bridgwater

East Quay MC

Bridgwater

Somerset Bridge MC

Bridgwater

Glastonbury MC

Weymouth

Royal Crescent Surgery

Dorchester

Broadmayne Surgery

Boscombe

Boscombe Surgery

Highlands Islands, Clyde Coast and Grampian

Paisley

Northcroft Glenburn

Barhead

Levern Medical Centre

Johnstone

Linden

Linwood

Renfrew

Renfrew Health Centre

Aberdeen

Carden Medical Centre

Ferryhill Medical Practice

Garthdee Medical Group

Holburn Medical Group

Rubslow Place Medical Group

Marywell Health Centre

Torry Medical Practice

Elmbank Group

Northfield/Mastrick Medical Practice

Victoria Street Medical Practice

Westburn Medical Group

Woodside Medical Group

Hamilton Medical Group

Links Medical Practice

Old Aberdeen Medical Practice

Oldmachar Medical Practice


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