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Benefit Delivery Centres

Volume 448: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on progress on the implementation programmes for benefit delivery centres. (76509)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question on the progress of the implementation programmes for Benefit Delivery Centres. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The roll out of the Benefit Delivery Centres is expected to be completed by March 2008.

The move to Benefit Delivery Centres involves the development of detailed implementation plans for each site. These include the steps required to move work from the sites currently processing claims to the new Benefit Delivery Centre to ensure the minimum disruption to performance and customer service.

The first site, in Wellingborough, went live as a Benefit Delivery Centre in April 2006. We are considering the lessons learned from the implementation of that site to inform the main phase of delivery, planned to start in the autumn.

In the interim, to ensure we maintain optimum levels of customer service, we are continuing to deliver benefits from our existing network of offices. Our strategy, in advance of full implementation, is to concentrate work at fewer sites where this is possible. In the last two years we have already reduced the number of processing sites by around 50 per cent. This allows us to move more quickly to the model of Benefit Delivery Centres, which builds upon an improved, more consistent level of customer service.

I hope this is helpful.