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Jobcentre Plus: Standards

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average processing time was for claims for (a) income support, (b) jobseekers' allowance and (c) incapacity benefit in each (i) region and (ii) Jobcentre Plus district in each (A) year since the launch of the actual clearance times target and (B) of the last 24 months. (264240)

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 the average processing time was for claims for (a) income support, (b) jobseeker's allowance and (c) incapacity benefit in each (i) region and (ii) Jobcentre Plus district in (A) each year since the launch of the actual clearance times target and (B) each of the last 24 months. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

I have placed the available information in the Library. Data for 2004/05 and 2005/06 is down to district level. From 2006/07 the data is not available below Benefit Delivery Centre (BDC) level.

Jobcentre Plus has had a target for the Average Actual Clearance Time (AACT) for Income Support (IS), Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and Incapacity Benefit (IB) since 2004/05.

For each benefit the target for the AACT in days was as follows:

Income support

Jobseekers allowance

Incapacity benefit

2004-05

12

12

22

2005-06

12

12

19

2006-07

11

12

18

2007-08

11

12

18

2008-09

10

11.5

15

The method used to calculate the AACT differs slightly between the three benefits. For IS the AACT is calculated from the date the customer provides all the evidence required to process the claim to the date a decision is made. For JSA the AACT is calculated from the customer's initial date of contact with Jobcentre Plus to the date a decision is made. For IB the AACT is calculated from the date a properly completed claim form is received by Jobcentre Plus to the date a decision is made.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how his Department measures the performance against objectives of the Jobcentre Plus rapid response service; (266110)

(2) what information his Department collects on the job outcomes achieved by the Jobcentre Plus rapid response service.

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 right hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Mel Groves dated 21 April 2009:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking how his Department measures the performance against objectives of the Jobcentre Plus rapid response service; and what information his Department collects on the job outcomes of the Jobcentre Plus rapid response service. These fall within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Our objective is to ensure that the support of the rapid response service (RRS) is offered whenever it might be appropriate for the employer and employees concerned. The purpose of the RRS is to provide early and immediate help to employees facing redundancy through advice and support on such issues as benefits, the local labour market and effective job search.

In that context, we contact each employer who notifies the Insolvency Service of a proposal to make 20 or more people redundant, and also offer support to other employers we believe to be making redundancies whenever we judge that the cumulative impact of redundancies on the local labour market justifies using RRS. In some cases employers contact us, and we will always support employees facing redundancy through RRS when asked to do so.

Since we extended the RRS in November 2008, we have kept an administrative record of the number of employers who take up our offer of support.

We do not attempt systematically to record other information, such as the numbers of employees who are given advice and support through RRS, or the job outcomes achieved for the former employees of particular employers, as to do so would be prohibitively expensive. Accordingly, information on the numbers of job outcomes achieved for people who access support through the RRS is not available.