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Jobcentre Plus

Volume 450: debated on Thursday 19 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how frequently Jobcentre Plus staff are provided with training to update them on changes to the process of claiming incapacity benefit and disability living allowance. (92047)

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 19 October 2006:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how frequently Jobcentre Plus staff are provided with training to update them on changes to the process of claiming incapacity benefit and disability living allowance. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

All our staff undergo comprehensive training prior to answering calls from customers wishing to make a new benefit claim, including claims for Incapacity Benefit (IB) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA). When changes are made to the process of claiming IB or DLA we ensure staff are informed and receive appropriate training at the time.

Claims for DLA are dealt with by the Disability and Carers Service (DCS) and enquiries about DLA will normally be referred to DCS.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Jobcentre Plus advisers (a) there are, (b) there are per 1,000 population and (c) there are per square mile in (i) rural and (ii) non-rural areas. [85925]

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 19 October 2006:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many Jobcentre Plus advisers a) there are, b) there are per 1,000 population and c) there are per square mile in (i) rural and (ii) non-rural areas. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Between April 2005 and February 2006 there were 9,285 full time equivalent Personal Advisers. The latest census figures (April 2001) show the population of England, Wales and Scotland as 57.1 million. This equates to one adviser per 6000 population or 0.167 per thousand. It is not possible to state the number of advisers there are per square mile in rural and non rural areas, as this information is not routinely collected and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

At the inception of Jobcentre Plus in 2002, Districts developed service delivery plans in consultation with local stakeholders, taking into account local communities and population densities, availability and cost of public transport and the potential for outreach services. Adviser numbers were allocated proportionately to the customer load in these outlets.

I hope this is helpful.