On 23 March 2021, I outlined how, as part of the Government’s commitment to support people back into work, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was expanding its services by introducing additional temporary jobcentres. This expansion of DWP estates is supporting our comprehensive £30 billion Plan for Jobs, helping people back into employment across Great Britain.
As of March 2021, DWP had secured 80 additional temporary jobcentres. This number has now risen to 177. DWP has been opening these temporary jobcentres to the public gradually over the past few months and I am pleased to announce that, on 7 October, Maidstone became the 100th additional jobcentre to open to the public.
These additional, temporary, jobcentres enable DWP to continue to provide the tailored support that claimants need to get back into and progress in work. They also provide space for the 13,500+ new work coaches we have recruited since March 2020.
These new sites provide a high-quality, modern, accessible and digitally enabled environment for both colleagues and customers. Furthermore, as part of our design requirements, we are aiming to reduce the environmental impact per site, for example, by increasing the energy performance certificate rating across sites.
They will enable many more customers to be supported, with work coaches often working with employers directly and using the new premises to hold job fairs which local employers attend.
To highlight just one example, the temporary site in Barking opened in July 2021 and so far the site has hosted over 30 employer events attended by 173 employers conducting over 1000 interviews. This has resulted in 424 successful job outcomes to date, in a range of job sectors, changing the lives of some of our most vulnerable customers.
As the economy recovers we will look to close these temporary sites to ensure that we balance providing essential services for our customers with value for money for the taxpayer. If any of the new sites offer better, more suitable, accommodation than our existing offices we may look to retain them instead and I will update the House accordingly.
DWP continues to update the list of temporary jobcentres regularly on gov.uk and notified MPs of new openings and additional services which cover their constituencies including our new youth hubs.