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Maternity Benefits

Volume 479: debated on Monday 29 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons maternity allowance work has been centralised into four benefit delivery centres. (223489)

[holding answer 15 September 2008]: 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:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the reasons that Maternity Allowance work has been centralised into four Benefit Delivery Centres. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The decision to centralise Maternity Allowance (MA) formed part of the wider agenda to centralise processing of all benefits in order to improve their delivery and realise efficiencies.

For the benefits with larger caseloads, Incapacity Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Income Support, it was possible to centralise this work in 78 sites across Great Britain. But because of smaller number of recipients we needed fewer sites if the benefits of economies of scale and consistency were to be realised in the centralisation of MA. We also decided that in order to avoid the need for redundancies we would use the centralisation of MA and other benefits to locate work in potential redundancy hotspots.

This resulted in the centralisation of MA into the four Benefit Delivery Centres of Yeovil, Wrexham, Hanley and Bury St Edmunds in the spring.

I hope this is helpful.