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Jobcentre Plus: Recruitment

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether the recent announcement to recruit 6,000 new Jobcentre Plus frontline staff positions includes the retention of those employed to support the introduction of the employment support allowance; and if he will make a statement; (246626)

(2) with reference to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 263-64W, on Jobcentre Plus: manpower, what Jobcentre Plus's latest estimate is of the number of (a) staff and (b) personal advisers there will be in each of the next 12 quarters, broken down into the smallest geographical area for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement.

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 your questions asking whether the recent announcement to recruit 6,000 new Jobcentre Plus frontline staff positions includes the retention of those employed to support the introduction of the employment support allowance; and with reference to the Answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 263-4W, on Jobcentre Plus manpower—what is Jobcentre Plus’ latest estimate of the number of (a) staff and (b) personal advisers will be in each of the next 12 quarters, broken down into the smallest geographical unit for which figures are available. These are issues which fall within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The table below shows the original numbers of full time equivalent posts in Jobcentre Plus projected in each of the years covered by the Department’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) 2007, together with the revised figures reflecting the pre-budget Report settlement. Plans for 2010/11 are under review and a firm figure is not yet available.

March each year

Original projected number

Revised estimated number (December 2008)

2009

65,453

69,000

2010

61,985

72,700

2011

58,529

While Jobcentre Plus will have an additional 6,000 staff in the next operational year we do not yet have the detailed plans on their deployment as these are still being worked on. We are therefore unable to say at this point which of these staff will be Personal Advisers. I am also unable at this stage to provide details for the next 12 quarters as this goes beyond the end of the department’s CSR 2007 and information about the next CSR settlement.

It is not possible to say how many of the extra 6,000 staff will come from those employed to support the introduction of the Employment Support Allowance. Significant recruitment is underway to achieve these revised numbers, and we hope that those employed to support the introduction of the Employment and Support Allowance will apply successfully for those recruitment exercises. Civil Service recruitment rules constrain our ability simply to extend the contracts of all these people for the whole period of the Spending Review.