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 how many Jobcentre Plus offices have closed in each of the last five years. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The following table provides the information you have requested:
Year Jobcentre Plus offices open to the public and subsequently closed 2004 95 2005 99 2006 157 2007 49 2008 54 Source: Jobcentre Plus
Jobcentre Plus offices open to the public and subsequently closed
We have modernised our Jobcentre network to improve customer service, rationalising our estate to provide excellent high street coverage and a single, integrated customer facing office, at the same time reducing cost to the tax payer. We remain the largest office network in Government with 744 modern Jobcentres which are supported by 31 contact centres and 79 main benefit processing centres.
Increasingly, our services (in common with most large, modern organisations) are now also delivered through the telephone and internet. New claims to benefit are predominantly taken by telephone with some taken on-line. This has brought our customer facing services together in a more coherent and integrated network.
In December, I asked the customer service directors in our regions to review their service delivery plans for every Jobcentre Plus District in the light of the current economic conditions and welfare reform changes planned for the next two to three years. As an immediate measure, I decided to suspend proposed further Jobcentre closures while the current economic uncertainties exist, which will allow us to increase our capacity to deliver services to those in need of help.