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Employment Action Teams

Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what eligibility criteria were used to define boundaries in each Employment Action Team area; and how each ward in the local authority of each EAT area scored against those criteria. [113057]

During Phase I of the Action Teams for Jobs initiative, Action teams were allowed to focus on pockets of deprivation, often at housing estate level, rather than ward level. This meant that some Local Authority wards with high overall employment rates were still able to receive Action Team help for areas within the ward with lower employment rates.In Phase II, a new selection method was developed to decide where Action Teams were located which focused on identifying and tackling low employment rates at ward level. The method used to identify ward employment rates used information from a number of sources such as Office of National Statistics 1998 database information on working age population; benefit administrative data; and data from the Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly. Ward jobless estimates were thus indicative rather than authoritative, but the primary aim was to provide Action Team help to wards with employment rates of 58.5 per cent or below.However, a number of wards with higher employment rates were included in Action Teams. In some cases this was to prevent the need to withdraw Action Team services from areas with pockets of extreme deprivation but with a high level of employment at ward level. Some wards with employment rates above the threshold were also included to ensure greater viability for those Action Teams with the attendant benefit for the clients they were serving.The available information on the indicative employment rates of all wards in each Action Team area, and identification of wards covered by Action Team activity has been placed in the Library.