(2) for what reasons the number of Jobcentre Plus offices has decreased.
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 questions asking how many Jobcentres were (a) opened and (b) closed in each year for which figures are available, and for what reasons the number of Jobcentres has decreased.
This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
I am only able to provide information relating to Jobcentre Plus since its creation in April 2002.
The table below sets out (a) the number of newly transformed Jobcentres which have opened since April 2002 and (b) the number of offices which were open to the public and subsequently closed as part of Jobcentre Plus transformation. The majority of Jobcentre closures since April 2002 are a consequence of that transformation programme with a small number being attributable to service delivery reviews subsequently undertaken by Customer Service Directors.
Transformed Jobcentres rolled out by Jobcentre Plus Jobcentre Plus offices open to the public and subsequently closed 2002 12 2 2003 257 47 2004 217 95 2005 163 99 2006 142 157 2007 13 49 2008 4 54 Total 808 503
Transformed Jobcentres rolled out by Jobcentre Plus
Jobcentre Plus offices open to the public and subsequently closed
In common with most large, modern organisations the great majority of our services are now delivered through the telephone and internet. For example, to give customers more convenient access, we have more than half a million vacancies on-line at any time (our website receives close to one million job searches every working day), and new claims to benefit are predominantly taken by telephone with some taken on-line. We remain the largest office network in Government with 747 modern Jobcentres which are supported by 31 contact centres and 79 main benefit processing centres. This has brought our customer facing services together in a more coherent and integrated network and I believe Jobcentre Plus is well-placed to respond to the full range of economic conditions.
I have asked the Customer Service Directors in our Regions to review their service delivery plans for every Jobcentre Plus District in the light of the current economic conditions and welfare reform changes planned for the next two to three years. This exercise will be completed by early 2009. As an immediate measure, I have decided to suspend proposed further Jobcentre closures while the current economic uncertainties exist, which will allow us to increase our capacity to deliver services to those in need of help.