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Unemployed: Voluntary Organisations

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what procedures are in place in each Jobcentre Plus district to arrange for liaison with voluntary agencies for the provision of (a) weekend food and (b) other emergency support for Jobcentre Plus customers who are not in receipt of benefit or assistance from the Social Fund. (241441)

[holding answer 9 December 2008]: 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 procedures are in place in each Jobcentre Plus district to arrange for liaison with voluntary agencies for the provision of (a) weekend food and (b) other emergency support for Jobcentre Plus customers who are not in receipt of benefit or assistance from the Social Fund. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

There are no such formal arrangements in place between Jobcentre Plus and voluntary agencies. Crisis Loans from the Social Fund exist to meet these needs.

Jobcentre Plus does provide emergency support through our Social Fund and Out of Hours Service. This can be accessed at weekends through third parties such as the police and social services departments where they determine that a crisis loan may help to prevent serious risk to health and safety. Referrals are made to the Out of Hours Service by telephone and our officers may then visit a customer in their home to make a determination of need and make a payment.