Skip to main content

Benefit Agency Offices (Sign Language)

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees in benefit agency offices are qualified as British Sign Language interpreters; and if he will make a statement. [110878]

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Acting Chief Executive, Clare Dodgson. I have asked her to reply to the hon. Member.

Letter from Clare Dodgson to Mr. Gibb, dated 20 May 2003:

As Jobcentre Plus is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question concerning the number of employees in benefit agency offices who are qualified as British Sign Language interpreters. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of the Agency.
The working age parts of the Benefits Agency became part of Jobcentre Plus in April 2002. Some Jobcentre Plus offices include staff who have received training in British Sign Language, but we do not currently collect information on their numbers.
The Jobcentre Plus Customer Charter states that a British Sign Language Interpreter or other suitable communicator will be provided when needed. In addition all Districts have a textphone service available. The textphone number for each District is included in all their customer correspondence.
Obtaining figures on the numbers and the level to which people have been trained in both Jobcentre Plus and the Department for Work and Pensions as a whole will be incorporated as one of the initiatives we are planning as part of the European Year of Disabled People.

I hope this is helpful.