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National Workload Forecasts

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what (a) methodology and (b) assumptions Jobcentre Plus uses in calculating its national workload forecasts; and if he will make a statement; (245479)

(2) how often Jobcentre Plus updates its national workload forecasts; and what period is covered by each forecast.

[holding answer 12 January 2009]: A common methodology is used to produce the projections of workloads across the benefits, based on the estimates of caseload and new awards of benefit required to forecast benefit expenditure, and published at the pre-Budget report and the Budget. The caseload and new claims are projected using the most appropriate demographic, benefit payment, operational and policy information, and project forward Jobcentre Plus management information. The projections are also adjusted to take into account any seasonality in volumes.

The underlying assumptions vary according to the benefit, but are based on projecting forward recent trends, taking into account changes in relevant factors that are expected in the future. The number of assumptions underlying the projection is very large and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Jobcentre Plus updates its national workload projection once a quarter, on 31 January, 30 April, 31 July and 31 October. Each projection covers the period up to 2020-21.