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 16 January 2007:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what the backlog is for dealing with new cases at Basildon Jobcentre Plus. This is something that falls within my responsibilities as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Basildon Benefit Delivery Centre (BDC) has recently completed a programme of centralising all Incapacity Benefit, Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance work previously carried out at offices throughout the county. The centralisation has caused some backlogs but we have successfully reduced these and expect to see a continued improvement into the New Year. The volume of claims outstanding has been steadily reducing over recent months and the current position represents a 17 per cent improvement against the position in October 2006.
The latest figures (for week ending 8 December) show that Basildon BDC has a combined total of 3,060 new claims to Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support and Incapacity Benefit outstanding against an expected claim intake figure of 2640. The difference of 420 equates to approximately 1 days intake of claims.
The management team at Basildon are working hard to make significant improvements to their performance. A recovery plan is in place and other BDCs within the network are undertaking work on behalf of Basildon to increase productivity.