Skip to main content

Employment Services: Redundancy

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 3 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the additional £3 million funding for the Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service will be available; how many additional staff will be employed by the Rapid Response Service as a result of the additional funding; and how the additional £3 million of funding will be allocated. (255183)

[holding answer 9 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 question asking when the additional £3 million funding for the Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service will come into effect; how many additional staff will be employed by the Rapid Response Service as a result of the additional funding; and how the additional £3 million of funding will be allocated. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

An additional £3 million is available for the Rapid Response Service (RRS) in the 2008/09 financial year to support the expansion of the service. A further £6 million is also available for the next financial year, 2009/10. In total therefore there is now £6 million available for RRS in 2008/09 and £12 million in 2009/10.

The additional funds for 2008/09 are available already. This funding is to provide direct support to individuals facing redundancy rather than for extra Jobcentre Plus staffing.

I should set the position in its full context. We typically deliver our Rapid Response Service in partnership with other local agencies—for example local authorities, the Learning and Skills Council in England and others. It is very common for these partnerships to be able to provide the support and services individuals need from within their existing resources—for example, local Jobcentre Plus staff would make initial workplace presentations, existing publicly funded training opportunities would be made available to people.

In that context, our Rapid Response Service funding is designed to ensure that we are able to deliver support which individuals need in a specific situation, but which cannot be sourced from partners’ existing programmes and operations. Examples of the uses of RRS funding include providing individuals with a Skills Transfer Analysis, enabling individuals to undertake job-related training that is not available through partners’ existing programmes and supporting individuals to be able to take up a new job, for example with initial travel costs.

I should add that each Jobcentre Plus district has appointed a Rapid Response Manager to co-ordinate RRS support. Those posts have however been funded from the resources for extra staff announced for Jobcentre Plus in the Pre-Budget Report rather than from the additional funds for RRS.

We have allocated the additional RRS funding equally between each English region, Scotland, and Wales. A similar amount is held centrally in a contingency fund for those who need to call on any extra funds.