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Gunwharf Quays

Volume 408: debated on Friday 11 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has for relocating part of his Department to Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth; how many staff are involved; from where they are being relocated; what the time scale is; and if he will make a statement. [119683]

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, David Anderson. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from David Anderson to Mr. Hancock, dated 11 July 2003:

As Jobcentre Plus is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question concerning any plans to relocate staff to the Gunwharf Quays development in Portsmouth. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency.
Jobcentre Plus will be introduced in Portsmouth during mid 2004. Currently, services are being offered at Portsmouth Central Jobcentre, Portsmouth North Jobcentre, Guildhall Walk Social Security Office. These offices are not large enough to accommodate the integrated services of Jobcentre Plus, nor do they have the capacity for expansion. Suitable premises are being!identified, which will have the capability to deliver the full range of enhanced services to the people of Portsmouth. Partners and stakeholders were consulted about these plans in June and September 2002. Their comments are currently being taken into consideration in reaching final decisions, which have yet to be announced. I can confirm that the Gunwharf Quays development is one of a number of sites being considered, with discussions continuing on this and other sites.
Until a site has been identified that will meet the needs of Portsmouth customers, it is not possible to indicate a precise point in time at which the new Jobcentre Plus site will open. I can confirm that staff at the three existing offices, Portsmouth North Jobcentre, Portsmouth Central Jobcentre and the Social Security Office in Guildhall Walk, will be relocated to the new site. There are no plans to reduce the numbers of Jobcentre Plus staff in Portsmouth.
In the meantime, the three offices currently located in Portsmouth will continue to operate. A full service will be provided throughout the roll out planning and implementation process.
I hope that this reply is useful.