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Disabled People

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 14 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to improve access to Job Centre Plus for disabled people, with particular reference to (a) physical access to premises and (b) staff training in disability awareness. [110740]

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Clare Dodgson. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Clare Dodgson to Mr. Tim Boswell, dated 14 May 2003:

As Jobcentre Plus is an Executive Agency, I have been asked to reply to your question concerning what plans we have to improve access to Jobcentre Plus for people with disabilities. This falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of the Agency.
We are currently undertaking a four year programme to upgrade our premises and introduce a new integrated service to all people of working age. As a part of this programme our offices are being designed and refurbished to enable all of our customers to gain access to them. We are also ensuring that our customers have access to all of our services through careful planning of our service delivery arrangements. For example, where Personal Advisor interviews are conducted on an upper floor and a lift is not available we will make arrangements to interview people with mobility problems on the ground floor.
In planning for our new services we are consulting on our proposals for service delivery with MPs, local partners, stakeholders, customer groups (including groups of and for disabled people), staff and trade unions. We are currently reviewing the training given to Personal Advisers and are seeking to better equip them to deliver work focused interviews to all of our customers.
Additionally, enhanced training is being developed for Personal Advisers specialising in helping people claiming Incapacity Benefit.
The new Jobcentre Plus service enables us to widen the help and support previously given to millions of customers in receipt of incapacity and disability benefits. Through building modernisation, integrating services and better training we aim to meet the needs of all of our customers.
I hope this is helpful.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which organisations have been awarded contracts to deliver the New Deal for Disabled People in the Wycombe constituency. [112373]

[holding answer 12 May 2003]: New Deal for Disabled People, delivered by around 60 Job Brokers across England, Scotland and Wales, is helping people with health problems and disabilities to move into work. Since the national extension of the programme began, it has helped over 11,000 people into jobs and almost 38,000 have registered with Job Brokers to actively pursue employment.Job Brokers are contracted to deliver their services by local authority area. The Job Brokers currently operating within the Wycombe district council area are Scout Enterprises (Western) Ltd, Support Shop Ltd, Yes2Work and Shaw Trust Employment.