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Jobcentre Plus: Manpower

Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott) of 7 July 2009, Official Report, column 834W, on Jobcentre Plus: manpower, what the ratio of jobseeker’s allowance claimants to members of frontline staff in Jobcentre Plus was in (a) the UK, (b) each region and (c) each Jobcentre Plus district in each of the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. (288473)

The information requested has been placed in the Library.

The ratio of jobseeker’s allowance claimants to staff varies between regions. The staff figures provided includes people deployed on work focussed and claim processing activity for a wider group than jobseeker’s allowance claimants so staff numbers and therefore ratios are impacted by other factors. The contact centre directorate operates a virtual network and therefore aligning their work to geographic boundaries would be misleading. For instance, Wales has three large contact centres handling calls as part of the virtual network. On the same principle, the network of benefit delivery centres can, and do, move work around the country on a weekly basis to maximise speed of claim processing. Although benefit delivery centres are in the main linked to regions/countries, such work movement and some centralised functions mean there is not a clear distinction. For example, applications for national insurance numbers are processed in two centres, Glasgow and Isle of Wight, so staff numbers will be included in the Government office region for Scotland and south east respectively.