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Employment Service (Review)

Volume 14: debated on Tuesday 8 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Employment whether he will arrange for an independent review of the employment service operated by the Manpower Services Commission to see whether changes are needed so as to give maximum value for money.

The Manpower Services Commission has agreed to a request from my right hon. Friend's predecessor that one of its programme of scrutinies in consultation with Sir Derek Rayner should examine the general employment service of the commission. This scrutiny began last week and two of the team of four conducting it are from companies in the private sector.The terms of reference are:

"The review will take as given:
The principal objectives of the Employment Service, as set out in the Commission's Corporate Plan 1982–85, viz to provide an efficient and cost-effective service to meet employers' and jobseekers' needs and, as far as is practicable to give particular help to those unemployed jobseekers who most need help in returning to work;
The decision that registration with the service should be voluntary and no longer a condition for receipt of unemployment or supplementary benefit;
The planned transfer to the Employment Service Division of policy responsibility for the Community Enterprise Programme;
Current planned limits on staff and finance.

The review will:

Examine the organisation, methods of work and deployment of resources of the Employment Service, and its relationship with other Divisions of the Commission and with other public and private sector providers of similar or related services;
Assess, in the light of the implications of the introduction of voluntary registration and of the labour market conditions likely to obtain and the technology likely to be available over the next few years, what changes may be required in the general employment service which is provided in the public interest, and how that service can be provided most effectively and economically, and with maximum value for money and to make recommendations accordingly.
The review will not examine Professional and Executive Recruitment but will take account of the outcome of the current review of that service so far as may be relevant to the general service. Nor will it examine services provided specifically for disabled persons, which are covered by a separate review and by consultations on the future of the quota scheme, but it will take account of the commission's commitment to maintain and improve the level of assistance to disabled persons so far as this may be relevant to the general service.
In any comparisons that may be drawn within the service or outside it, the review will have particular regard to the need to compare like with like and the availability and reliability of data.

Year

Skillcentres

Colleges*

Other Institutions

Total

Cost (£ million)

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Male

Female

Gross

Net

1978–7922,16468811,28126,0098,5881,63542,03328,332206·6202·9
1979–8021,21982112,40029,5139,2562,10842,87532,442230·6225·9
1980–81†22,480†l,000Not yet availableNot yet available41,17525,135249·6242·8

* Includes training at CFEs and private colleges.

† These figures are provisional.