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 Ruth Owen:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question to James Purnell asking whether he had made an assessment of the merits of requiring minimum qualifications for Jobcentre Plus personal advisers. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to Mel Groves as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus. As Mel Groves is currently on annual leave, I am replying in his absence.
I have recently commissioned a review to develop an accreditation strategy for a number of key job roles across Jobcentre Plus, which will include the personal adviser role. The results of this review will be available in the Autumn.
Currently, within the recruitment process all Jobcentre Plus personal advisers are required to meet a minimum entry standard. This is assessed through testing literacy and numeracy. Successful candidates will then go to the second stage interview where the individual's relevant competencies are examined.
Once recruited, in addition to an internal learning programme we invest in the S/NVQ programme where personal advisers work towards an externally recognised qualification in ‘advice and guidance’. This is not a mandatory requirement.