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Rapid Response Service

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what qualifications would make a person over-qualified and therefore not eligible for Government-funded re-training as part of the Rapid Response Service; and if he will make a statement; (254043)

(2) what qualifications are available from Government-funded re-training offered by the Rapid Response Service; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what guidance is available to Jobcentre Plus district managers to help them decide when a significant redundancy which warrants the use of the Rapid Response Service has taken place; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 3 February 2009]: 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 questions asking what qualifications would make a person over qualified and therefore not eligible for Government-funded re-training as part of the Rapid Response Service; what qualifications are available from Government-funded re-training offered by the Rapid Response Service; and what guidance is available to Jobcentre Plus District Managers to help them decide when a significant redundancy which warrants the use of the Rapid Response Service has taken place. These are issues that fall within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The Rapid Response Service is available to all employers Jobcentre Plus identify as being in the process of making redundancies. We will contact every employer who meets their statutory requirement to notify the Insolvency Service when making 20 or more people redundant. In addition we will offer support to any other employers we identify as making redundancies where, based on their knowledge of the local labour market, the District Manager determines that the cumulative impact of redundancies justifies using the Rapid Response Service.

If the employer accepts our offer of support, we give help and advice on claiming benefits and jobsearch to those people faced with redundancy. As part of the support package, where the type of work being lost is not readily available in the labour market, a Skills Transfer Analysis is offered to all those affected.

The Skills Transfer Analysis compares the skills the person has with those required to find work in the labour market in which they are looking for work. Where skill gaps are identified Job Focused Training is sourced to fill the gaps and help people quickly fill the skills gaps. A person cannot be over qualified for Job Focused Training, provided the Skills Transfer Analysis identifies that there is a need for the training.

The prime purpose of the Job Focused Training is to help the person gain the necessary skills to find work quickly. There is no expectation that this training will lead directly to a qualification.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the take-up of the Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response services by employers contemplating redundancies. (254429)

Jobcentre Plus offer support to employers when they receive formal notification of 20, or more, potential redundancies from Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform or when they are made aware through other means. Since the announcement of the expansion of the Rapid Response Service in November 2008, over 650 employers have accepted the offer of support.

The Rapid Response Service is a voluntary service. Employers are free to take it up or make their own arrangements to help their redundant staff.