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Jobcentre Plus

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 25 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 October 2007, Official Report, columns 2368-9W, on Jobcentre Plus, whether an investigation was conducted on the performance of Jobcentre Plus districts against their points profile; and if he will make a statement. (159830)

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

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 25 October 2007:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about whether an investigation was conducted into the performance of Jobcentre Plus districts against their Job Outcome Target (JOT) profiles. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Jobcentre Plus maintains a close watch on all of its targets and is acutely aware of the importance of JOT as a measure of its performance in helping customers move into work. Jobcentre Plus has made significant efforts to improve its understanding of how to manage JOT and has taken a number of steps to address the shortfall in performance both at national and district levels. It may be helpful if I explain some of these initiatives.

Together with DWP, Jobcentre Plus developed Key Management Indicators (KMIs) to help ensure that staff deliver required work focused interviews for our key customer groups at the right time. These KMIs were subsequently reviewed and, for 2007-08, developed into a new Interventions Delivery Target (IDT) to give an even sharper focus to the timely delivery of work-focused support. In addition, an adviser achievement tool was developed to help ensure interventions were the right quality and properly targeted, with appropriate job submissions.

Recent research published on the national evaluation of JOT1 concluded that, JOT is largely working as intended. In particular, JOT was seen as supporting the trend of encouraging the use of self help channels among customers who were closer to the labour market, and therefore enabling resources to be concentrated more intensively on providing assistance to 'harder to help' groups. JOT was also viewed as influencing more efficient working practices (for example through more effective use of the Adviser Discretionary Fund), an increased willingness of staff to refer customers to provision and improved team working. This research did not specifically look at performance against JOT profiles.

Other performance management actions include establishing a standing JOT Key Performance Group, chaired by a senior operational Director, to review and direct performance management activities. More recently, steps are being taken to develop Local Employment Partnerships (LEPs), expand the use of work trials, and further up-skill advisers and managers in managing JOT performance.

1 JOT National Evaluation , DWP Research Report 462, October 2007