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Jobseeker's Allowance

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many and what proportion of jobseeker's allowance claims were not processed (a) within the Jobcentre Plus target time and (b) within the national average time in each (i) Jobcentre Plus district and (ii) region in each of the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement; (302242)

(2) how long on average it took to process a claim for jobseeker's allowance in each (a) region and (b) Jobcentre Plus district in each month since February 2009; how many unprocessed jobseeker's allowance claims there were in (i) total and (ii) each region in each month since February 2009; and if she will make a statement.

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Darra Singh:

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions asking how many and what proportion of jobseeker's allowance (JSA) claims were not processed (a) within the Jobcentre Plus target time and (b) within the national average time in each (i) Jobcentre Plus district and (ii) region in each of the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement and how long on average it took to process a claim for JSA in each (a) region and (b) Jobcentre Plus district in each month since February 2009; how many unprocessed jobseeker's allowance claims there were in (i) total and (ii) each region in each month since February 2009; and if she will make a statement. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

Information is not available down to District level as JSA claims are processed at our Benefit Delivery Centres. The Management Information supplied will be for each Benefit Delivery Centre and Region.

Jobcentre Plus gathers information on the volume of outstanding claims from its internal benefit processing systems. As claims are received in Benefit Delivery Centres they are recorded on this system. The count of outstanding claims is a snap shot, of which claims have yet to be fully processed to the point a decision is made on entitlement, on the last working day of every month. The data provided may also slightly under estimate the volume of claims outstanding as some cases could be in transit and/or be waiting to be logged onto the system.

Jobcentre Plus has a target for the average actual clearance time taken to process JSA claims. The current target is 11.5 days. This time is calculated across an average of all the claims cleared in any given month looking at the date the customer first contacted Jobcentre Plus or the customers first day of unemployment, whichever is the later. The end date is the date a formal decision is made on the claim and a notification is issued to the customer on entitlement.

Jobcentre Plus does not hold information on what volume or proportion of JSA claims were not processed within the Jobcentre Plus target time (11.5 days) and within the national average time (10.1 days, Year to 31.10.09). However, it does hold information on the volume of claims that were processed within 0-5 days, 0-10 days, 0-16 days, and 0-21 days. Jobcentre Plus's Management Information systems do not hold information on proportions—these would need to be clerically calculated from the information provided.

The information that is available to answer your first question has been placed in the Library.

Information on average clearance times for JSA claims and volumes of outstanding claims for the period from February to April 2009 for each Benefit Delivery Centre and Region has been placed in the Library. Information on average clearance times for JSA claims and volumes of outstanding claims for the period from May to October 2009 was placed in the Library on 27 November 2009 in answer to your question: how many unprocessed JSA claims there were in each (a) region and (b) Jobcentre Plus district in each of the last six months; what the average time taken to process claims in each instance was (PQ 300684).