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Employment: Business

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 23 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the selection criteria were for those organisations invited to sign up to his Department's jobs pledge; whether steps were taken to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in the scheme; what monitoring was undertaken of the impact of the scheme; and if he will make a statement. (159669)

Local employment partnerships (LEPs) are open to all employers willing to make the commitment to open up more job opportunities to disadvantaged people. However, a managed approach has been taken to our engagement with employers. Our initial focus has been on those major national companies who have demonstrated their commitment to working with us on recruiting those often overlooked in the labour market. We are now also targeting those larger local employers who have demonstrated the same commitment.

LEPs are available to small and medium-sized employers provided they are able to offer opportunities to those at a disadvantage in the jobs market and to work with Jobcentre Plus, and its partners, on delivering the specific measures that are agreed. Each LEP agreement is different, tailored to the needs of the individual employer.

It is too early to evaluate the impact of LEPs, but evaluation of the initiative is included in the project plan. A system has been put in place to measure progress towards the target of finding work for 250,000 disadvantaged people through LEPs by the end of 2010.