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Jobcentre Plus: Standards

Volume 491: debated on Monday 20 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the latest customer satisfaction levels are for Jobcentre Plus customers; how those levels were measured; and if he will make a statement; (262960)

(2) what the latest satisfaction levels were for social fund customers who have received crisis loans, budgeting loans or community care grants; how those levels were measured; and if he will make a statement.

[holding answer 12 March 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 the latest customer satisfaction levels are for Jobcentre Plus customers; how those levels were measured; and what the latest satisfaction levels were for social fund customers who have received crisis loans budgeting loans or community care grants; and how those levels were measured. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

The most recent Jobcentre Plus Customer Satisfaction Survey took place in 2007 and found that 80 per cent. of customers were satisfied with the standard of service provided by Jobcentre Plus. Customers on Income Support were the most satisfied (84 per cent.), followed by Incapacity Benefit customers (80 per cent.) and Jobseeker's Allowance customers (74 per cent.).

The Survey was conducted by telephone between June and August 2007 with over 4,000 Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support and Incapacity Benefit customers, although alternative completion methods were available to customers. The Survey was carried out independently by the Policy Research Institute of Leeds Metropolitan University. The next Jobcentre Plus Customer Satisfaction Survey is planned to be conducted in Summer 2009.

To measure customer satisfaction, customers were asked how satisfied or dissatisfied they were with all of the services provided by Jobcentre Plus. Satisfaction was measured as the percentage of customers who said they were either fairly or very satisfied with the services provided.

Jobcentre Plus does not measure customer satisfaction levels separately for Social Fund customers who have received Crisis Loans, Budgeting Loans or Community Care Grants. Customers who claim Social Fund may have been interviewed as part of the 2007 Jobcentre Plus Customer Satisfaction Survey, but their responses cannot be disaggregated.

Jobcentre Plus has a Customer Service Target which measures how well the business delivers its services to customers against a set of standards. Although the Customer Service Target does not measure customer satisfaction, it does reflect the three main ways in which Jobcentre Plus customers access Jobcentre Plus services—in person, by telephone and electronically. The overall national target is to achieve an overall 86 per cent. rating for standards of:

timeliness;

professionalism; and

information accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Performance on the Customer Service Target for the current year to date is 85.8 per cent.