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Local Offices

Volume 174: debated on Monday 18 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment, pursuant to his answer of 13 June, what period is given to any hon. Member who is informed of the possible closure of a local part-time employment office to make representations regarding the proposal; by what mechanism such representations are considered; and whether the chief executive of the Employment Services Agency requires ministerial approval for a closure decision.

It is not the practice to undertake a consultation process as part of considering the closure of a part-time local employment service office.Any plans that the employment service has to close a full-time local office which involves the withdrawal of its services from a local community are subject to a consultation process in which the views of the appropriate hon. Members, local authorities, civil service trade unions and any other interests are sought and taken into account.I refer the hon. Member again to section 6 of the agency framework document which sets out the terms under which the chief executive has the authority to manage the employment service office estate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many part-time benefit signing offices were operative in 1985; and what is the most recent figure available, giving the figures on a regional basis.

The employment service became an executive agency on 2 April 1990. Mr. Mike Fogden, the Employment Service Agency's chief executive, will be replying in writing to the hon. Member.