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Vocational Training: Redundancy

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many on-site advice surgeries Jobcentre Plus's rapid response service has held in each region in each year since Jobcentre Plus was established. (241005)

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 how many on-site advice surgeries Jobcentre Plus's rapid response service has held in each region in each year since Jobcentre Plus was established.

This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Employees of companies who have accepted offers of Rapid Response Service support are provided with advice through a number of channels including on-site advice surgeries. Figures for the number of on-site surgeries held are not collected.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) by what means his Department has informed employers of the existence of Jobcentre Plus's rapid response service since it was established; (241012)

(2) what steps (a) Jobcentre Plus's rapid response service and (b) Jobcentre Plus staff take to identify companies with employees who may benefit from the rapid response service.

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 by what means his Department has informed employers of the existence of Jobcentre Plus's rapid response service since it was established and what steps (a) Jobcentre Plus's rapid response service and (b) Jobcentre Plus staff take to identify companies with employees who may benefit from the rapid response service. These fall within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The rapid response service was introduced in April 2002 and has been delivered through Jobcentre Plus in conjunction with a range of partners such as Regional Development Agencies, local authorities and the Learning and Skills Council in England, and equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales, to help employees facing redundancies. As you know the Secretary of State announced recently an extension of the service.

Employers are made aware of the service in three main ways. First, Jobcentre Plus is informed by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when employers notify redundancies of 20 or more employees. We contact each of those employers to discuss the range of support that Jobcentre Plus is able, with its partners, to offer employees, and to decide which measures will be helpful. Second, we provide information through channels that employers use regularly, including: the Jobcentre Plus website www.iobcentreplus.gov.uk/employers, the websites of organisations who help to deliver the rapid response service to employers and a range of leaflets and business/trade media. Third, some employers receive an account management service from Jobcentre Plus in return for their commitment to helping our individual customers to find work. In that context, employers facing difficulties may discuss their needs directly with Jobcentre Plus and appropriate levels of support will be offered.

Jobcentre Plus now aims to contact and offer support to every employer which we learn is making 20 people or more redundant. We also make efforts to identify situations where employers are making fewer than 20 people redundant and to offer rapid response service-style support whenever we consider this likely to be the most effective way of helping the people involved.