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Jobcentre Plus: Recruitment

Volume 487: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the Written Ministerial Statement of 25 November 2008, Official Report, column 619W, on employment, how many staff he estimates will be recruited to (a) full-time and (b) part-time (i) temporary and (ii) permanent positions in Jobcentre Plus; how many of these appointments will be made from staff originally recruited to support the introduction of employment support allowance; and if he will make a statement. (241780)

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 in reference to his Statement of 25 November 2008, Official Report, column 619W, on employment, how many staff he estimates will be recruited to (a) full-time and (b) part-time (i) temporary and (ii) permanent positions in Jobcentre Plus and how many of these appointments will be made from staff originally recruited to support the introduction of Employment Support Allowance. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

We are still planning for the impact of the Pre-Budget Report announcements at the moment. In practice, we try to accommodate applicants’ preferences for working patterns, subject to business needs. Currently, around 35 per cent of the staff in Jobcentre Plus work part time and we anticipate a similar proportion of part time staff amongst our new recruits.

We plan to recruit the majority of people to fixed term appointment contracts, normally for 1-2 years, although there will be local variations and this will include some permanent appointments. There will be periods of the year, at the start and during the summer months, where we recruit temporary staff to cover known peaks of work or scheduled leave. Currently, we do not plan to recruit significant numbers of temporary staff outside these periods.

We are unable to identify through our Resource Management reporting system whether someone has been recruited specifically for Employment and Support Allowance backfill. However, in the first quarter of 2009, we anticipate converting up to 300 staff from temporary to permanent contracts, and although it is not possible to say how many may apply for permanent appointments, we encourage people to do so.

Current Civil Service Commission rules mean that someone on a temporary contract can only secure a permanent appointment by applying through fair and open competition via one of our recruitment exercises. The Civil Service Bill allows for some recruitment flexibilities. One of these is the capacity to convert temporary employees to permanent status by a fair and objective process approved by the Civil Service Commissioners. This applies to employees at Administrative level at or after 12 months employment. DWP is currently writing a submission to the Commissioners on the process it proposes to use for the conversion of up to 300 temporary staff.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) the list of responsibilities, (b) the job description and (c) the personal specification used when advertising a Jobcentre Plus personal adviser vacancy. (246584)

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 if he will place in the Library a copy of a) the list of responsibilities, b) the job description and c) the personal specification used when advertising a personal adviser vacancy in Jobcentre Plus. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

I attach to this reply a copy of the information you require. A copy has also been placed in the Library. The responsibilities, role description and person specification outlined is not exhaustive and will sometimes be tailored within each recruitment exercise to reflect changes in business processes, changes in the provision available to unemployed customers and any particular initiatives within local labour markets.