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Volume 498: debated on Monday 2 November 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 12 October 2009, Official Report, column 63W, on Jobcentre Plus: training, in which training modules or topics new recruits are trained after they have started in post; and if she will make a statement. (293597)

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is the responsibility of the acting chief executive, 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 in which training modules or topics new recruits are trained after they have started in post. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

There is a comprehensive portfolio of induction/foundation events and specific skills and technical learning that new recruits receive before they take up their positions. This includes the 60 hours of induction/foundation learning that all new recruits receive and subsequent job specific learning; for example, all Personal Advisers will receive 130 hours of training, with Disability Benefit Advisers (DEA) receiving a further 59 hours of learning specific to the DEA role.

Once in post all Jobcentre Plus staff are subject to the Department for Work and Pensions People Performance process. As part of this process all Jobcentre Plus staff will have a minimum of four performance reviews with their line manager during the year. As part of these discussions performance will be evaluated against objectives and the relevant competency framework. A key outcome from these discussions is the agreement of a development plan for every member of staff. These will detail the agreed learning needs, identified solutions and timescales for further review. The process is designed to encourage and support the continuous development of every individual and to ensure that their knowledge and skills are continuously evaluated against current and future business needs.

Any further specific learning that someone receives (beyond their induction and initial job specific training) is dependent upon their job role, their progress, any role change and future business change.

To support learning needs, Jobcentre Plus staff have access to over 1070 job-specific learning modules in total. In addition, they have access to the Department for Work and Pensions Leadership and Management journey events. These provide staff with generic leadership and management skills and in some cases access to accreditation. Our staff are encouraged to use a wide range of learning solutions in addition to products such as coaching; for example, Jobcentre staff are encouraged to visit local providers to ensure they are able to confidently talk to our customers about the range of support that we are able to offer to them. All business changes are reviewed to identify the learning that staff will require to deliver them successfully, update learning products accordingly and develop new learning products where required.