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Work Coaches in Jobcentres

Volume 708: debated on Monday 7 February 2022

11. What steps she is taking to (a) measure, (b) improve and (c) publish the performance of work coaches in jobcentres. (905457)

We often hear in this House about honourable colleagues going into their jobcentres and seeing the marvellous work of work coaches, and we see that by the number of people getting back into work. However, we want to constantly improve the performance of our work coaches in terms of outcomes for people and we will continue to do that.

I completely agree that good work coaches can level up opportunities by breaking glass ceilings that hold people back, but inevitably some will be better than others, as we have seen in schools and other public services. If we publish those findings, every jobseeker and their MP will want to know how their local service compares and how it might be improved, so will my right hon. Friend meet me to discuss this as outlined in my recently published work, “Poverty Trapped”?

I do not agree with my hon. Friend’s suggestion about the external assessment. I have asked one of my team to look into his report and I am sure we can arrange a suitable meeting, but I want to assure him that all new work coaches are undertaking a level 4 City & Guilds qualification in service delivery.

The DWP is looking to cut thousands of fixed-term contract work coaches at EO level from jobcentres but reportedly will retain almost all staff at the lower-paid AO grade. Have the Government considered how this will impact on lower-grade staff in terms of workload and stress and how those losing their jobs will afford their living costs until they can secure a new role?

The hon. Lady will recognise that this is an operational matter, but she is incorrect; I am conscious that she may have been given that information separately. Last week the permanent secretary outlined the start of the process potentially for people on fixed-term contracts. We need to make sure we have the work coaches in the right parts of the country where they are most needed for both current claimants and anticipated future demand.