(2) what the average length of time was between an application being received for one of the 16,000 additional Jobcentre Plus positions announced in the pre-Budget report 2008 and Budget 2009 and (a) the (i) offer and (ii) start date of a job and (b) the issue of a letter to an unsuccessful applicant;
(3) how many and what proportion of applicants for the 16,000 additional Jobcentre Plus positions announced in the pre-Budget report 2008 and Budget 2009 have successfully completed the application process and are awaiting appointment;
(4) how many of the additional (a) 6,000 staff announced in pre-Budget report 2008 and (b) 10,000 staff announced in Budget Report 2009 have been recruited.
The administration of Jobcentre Plus is the responsibility of the chief executive, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the right hon. Member with the information requested.
Letter from Darra Singh:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions concerning the recruitment to 16,000 additional Jobcentre Plus positions announced in the Pre-Budget Report 2008 and Budget 2009. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus began recruiting after the Pre-Budget Report 2008 announcement to deal with increased workloads as a result of the economic downturn. The majority of recruitment took place between April 2009 and September 2009, but Jobcentre Plus has continued making job offers in lower numbers up to December 2009. All of the additional headcount announced in the Pre-Budget Report 2008 and the Budget Report 2009 has now been recruited.
Recruitment was managed through more than 500 local recruitment exercises so as to most effectively recruit this volume of additional resource and to target recruitment activity in alignment with local workload pressures. To provide the level of detail in relation to the average time between application and offer, start date, or rejection notice that you have asked for would not be possible, as to obtain this would be at disproportionate cost.
There are Service Level Agreements within the Department with set targets for the time taken to recruit. The recruitment process from the advertisement to the point that an applicant has successfully passed sift and interview, will be completed in 45 working days. Employment checks should then be completed in 20 working days with a further 7 days where final checks are made if someone has failed initial employment checks. A formal job offer will only be made after the employment checks have been completed. The subsequent start date will depend on each individual applicant's circumstances, such as the requirement to give notice.
Those applicants not successful at any stage of the process will be informed immediately.
All of the additional positions announced have now been filled. Therefore, there is no one awaiting appointment to those posts. However, with over 100,000 applicants to these posts it meant that there were significant numbers of people achieving the required level at interview stage. Where numbers of suitable candidates exceeded demand, these people were put on waiting lists in case future posts became available.
We continue to monitor workloads and have been managing staffing at current levels since January 2010 with further recruitment on hold, apart from a few exceptions where workloads or staff turnover need addressing. We have advised the 8000 or so people that successfully completed the application process and who remain on waiting lists that it is unlikely that there will be many further offers of employment made.
I hope this information is helpful.