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Employment Services: Redundancy

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps Jobcentre Plus is taking to assist people recently made redundant back into work. (240276)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Mel Groves:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what steps Jobcentre Plus is taking to assist people recently made redundant back into work. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

A person who is made redundant and makes a claim to Jobseeker’s Allowance is interviewed by one of our Personal Advisers, to explain the help and support available which is then tailored to their individual needs. They are helped to draw up a job plan and Jobseeker’s Agreement, which is reviewed fortnightly. Jobseekers can also access job vacancies on our website and our electronic jobpoints, as well as contact our Jobseeker Direct telephone helpline.

We have also recently introduced a “Finding your way back to work” leaflet to help people understand what help is available, and a “Jobkit” to help those made redundant in preparing to find a new job.

Where a business announces a number of redundancies we provide our Rapid Response Service to support the employer and employees. This can involve a range of support, such as workplace briefings by Jobcentre staff, skills assessments, and advice on how to look for a new job. The budget for this service was doubled this year, from £3m to £6m, and will be doubled again next year to £12m. This will enable us to deal more effectively with situations involving 20 or more redundancies, or where there is a group of smaller redundancies in one locality.

We have also announced that more people who are made redundant will get help through Programme Centres. These provide people with different kinds of help such as help in CV-writing and gaining jobsearch skills. Access to Programme Centres was previously restricted to those furthest from the labour market. Advisers will now have the discretion to allow any customers to access this help as soon as they become unemployed. This will be useful for people who have been in work for a long time and have no recent experience of job hunting.

We are also extending the successful Local Employment Partnerships to provide help for newly redundant people. Through these, Jobcentre Plus is already working successfully with over 13,000 employers, and has helped over 70,000 people into work.