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Working-age Benefits

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 the pilot of a revised process for handling new and repeat claims for working-age benefits. (76518)

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 dated 28 June 2006:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the pilot of a revised process for handling new and repeat claims for working-age benefits. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The pilot is intended to improve customer service by making the service clearer for both customers and staff and streamlining the new and repeat claims process. The main features of the pilot are:

improved information for customers to ensure that they are directed to the right services;

a free telephone claim line number;

fast-track procedures for people making repeat claims and for people who do not require an immediate work focused interview; and

streamlined arrangements for collecting information to support claims.

The pilot has been running since 27 February 2006 for customers served by Jobcentre Plus offices in Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Barton and Immingham, and was extended to customers in Central London from 24 April, A full evaluation of the pilot will be carried out before any decisions are made to extend the revised process nationally.

I hope this is helpful.