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Jobcentre Plus: Telephone Services

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 19 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations he has received on the adequacy of Jobcentre Plus’s out-of-hours telephone service. (204907)

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

Letter from Mel Groves, dated 19 June 2008:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what recent representations he has received on the adequacy of Jobcentre Plus’ Out of Hours telephone service. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to Ms Strathie as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus. I am replying in her absence as Acting Chief Executive.

We made changes to our Out Of Hours Service on 12 May. Local stakeholders were informed of the changes as part of local planning and implementation. Some local issues were raised and in a few locations we have deferred the changes until 28 May to ensure a smooth delivery of the new arrangements.

Local representations have been made by:

West Midlands: one hostel in Staffordshire, three in Birmingham area, one in Walsall and one welfare rights organisation.

North West: one homeless men’s hostel and one women’s hostel in the Merseyside area.

Wales: Benefits Advice Shop Charity and Emergency Social Services Association Wales.

Scotland: Social Work Department (in West and East Scotland)

South East: Welfare Rights.