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Redundancy: Essex

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what advice, support and assistance he is providing to people in Essex who are facing redundancy. (243668)

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 concerning what advice, support and assistance he is providing to people in Essex who are facing redundancy. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

We offer a wide range of support for people facing redundancy. This includes helping support employers to retain their staff through retraining; and encouraging staff to gain vocational qualifications to prepare for the economic recovery rather than having to make staff redundant. We work with partners such as Business Link (who have reduced many of their fees for Small and Medium Enterprises) and directing employers to Train to Gain for a business check-up and funding for training.

We also offer advice on how employees can claim benefits and support employers where they need to go into short time or temporary stop working and we are tailoring our advice to meet the their needs. We will also visit employees facing redundancy at their place of work to explain the support and benefits available to them. Employees can also access the vacancies we hold nationally by visiting our website at or by telephoning us on 0845 6060 234 and by using the jobpoints at their local Jobcentre.

A strengthened Rapid Response Service was launched on 12 November, doubling national funding from £3 million to £6 million. The service is being promoted through relevant press and online. The pre-Budget report announced a further doubling of Rapid Response Service funding—£12 million will be available in 2009-10.

Through the Rapid Response Service, Jobcentre Plus has access to funds to enable those individuals made redundant to receive the necessary help to get them back into work. Such measures could include:

Skills Transfer Analysis (to help identify an individual’s transferable skills and training needs relevant to the local labour market);

Job-Focussed Training (to assist individuals with appropriate training and certification linked to employment or self-employment linked to the needs of the local labour market).

We work with partners such as Response to Redundancy who have access to funding via the East of England Development Agency to assist employees with re-training and CV writing. We can also arrange for a Business Link representative to advise staff on self-employment.

We have recently decided that our customers in Essex can have access to CV writing, Jobsearch advice and support through our Programme Centres immediately rather than waiting six months. We have also produced a leaflet for employers and partner organisations such as Business Link and local authority Economic Development Officers to ensure they are aware of the support we can provide.

In November we contacted 13 businesses to offer our assistance and support following notification of possible redundancies. Eleven accepted our assistance while two had already made provision for their staff to be redeployed within their own companies. Our staff visited and talked to five of these businesses and we sent copies of our Job Kits to the remaining six companies. Our Job Kit provides practical help and advice to employees when applying for jobs. We also issue employees with a leaflet that describes how to claim benefits, find work and re-train.

I have asked Neil Brettell, the District Manager for Essex, to meet with you to discuss the range of provision available in the Essex area.