Skip to main content

Jobcentre Plus: Offices

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much Jobcentre Plus has spent on (a) acquiring office space, (b) extending existing office space and (c) converting existing office space as a result of an increased level of demand for its services in the most recent period for which figures are available. (286750)

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:

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked me to respond to your questions asking how much has been spent by Jobcentre Plus on (a) acquiring office space, (b) extending existing office space and (c) converting existing office space as a result of an increased level of demand for its services. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Jobcentre Plus is continuously reviewing existing service delivery arrangements in order to meet the challenge of the current economic climate and the planned welfare reform changes for the next two to three years.

In the light of the increased customer demand we have secured the required funding to convert or extend our existing buildings where necessary. In addition we aim to make our services accessible to customers by providing a range of support through outreach facilities, often delivering advisory and other support on partners' premises. We are supplementing these measures by operating extended opening hours in some locations where the need for this is identified locally. This includes some offices opening to the public on Saturday. We will only acquire new space where all other measures are insufficient.

To date estates work has been undertaken and completed on 18 of our buildings at a cost of £1 million, increasing our capacity to deliver additional customer service to the public. Estates work is planned for a further 151 buildings. This work is currently at an early stage and therefore the costs are not fully known.