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Redundancy: Dartford

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what practical support and advice is provided by his Department and its executive agencies to workers in Dartford who are facing redundancy. (242572)

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 practical support and advice is provided by his Department and its executive agencies to workers in Dartford who are facing redundancy. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Jobcentre Plus has a number of measures to support companies and their employees who are facing redundancy.

A strengthened Rapid Response Service was launched on 12 November, doubling funding from £3 million to £6 million. It is being promoted through relevant press and on-line. The Pre Budget Report announced a further doubling of Rapid Response Service funding—£12m 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 individuals 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).

In conjunction with the South East Regional Development Agency, our staff will provide pre-redundancy advice about benefit entitlement and claim making arrangements, as well as advice about job hunting and job vacancies. We will also work closely with any job placement provider that may be engaged by the company facing the prospect of redundancy.

Jobcentre Plus Kent District has appointed a Rapid Response Manager and we have a pool of Rapid Response volunteer staff from Kent District who can be deployed where additional help is required.

In addition, Jobcentre Plus across the South East has a joint initiative with South East England Development Agency, known as the Continuing Employment Support Service, which tailors support for companies and their affected workforce and has helped place many people in new careers, by giving them the tools to find alternative employment as quickly as possible, either directly or via local partners.