COMMONS

Future of Jobcentre Plus inquiry launched

10 March 2016

The Work and Pensions Committee launches an inquiry into the future of Jobcentre Plus (JCP), the public employment service arm of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Changes affecting Jobcentre Plus services

A number of important changes will affect the services offered by JCP over the next few years, including:

  • The full implementation of Universal Credit (UC), which, particularly once a fully-functioning digital service is developed, will be a largely online process and have implications for digital inclusion
  • More frequent interviews at the Jobcentre for unemployed claimants in the early stages of benefit claims
  • Delayed referral of long-term unemployed claimants to externally-contracted employment services (welfare-to-work) providers, meaning that JCP will support people who remain out of work for two years
  • The development of a support offer for UC claimants who are in work but on very low incomes
  • Plans for greater co-location of JCP offices with other local services such as council benefit teams and physical and mental health services, including IAPT services
  • Plans for JCP to offer advice, particularly on traineeships and apprenticeships, to 12 to 18 year old school pupils
  • The process of devolution of employment services to combined local authorities and the devolved governments

Call for written submissions

The Committee invites written submissions addressing one or more of the following areas:

  • The likely effects of the planned changes on claimants, including on the quality of services offered to them and the implications in relation to digital inclusion
  • The potential implications for JCP, including in relation to:
    • Resourcing of JCP
    • Jobcentre "footfall" and the configuration of JCP offices
    • The development of suitable performance measures
  • JCP’s capability to provide new, tailored services for particular groups of people, including people with mental health problems
  • Opportunities afforded by coordination with other local services, including the NHS and schools
  • The extent to which reforms will require cultural change within JCP, and the DWP’s capability successfully to foster this change
  • The opportunities and challenges for JCP presented by greater devolution of employment services to regional and national governments

Send a written submission through the Future of Jobcentre Plus inquiry page.

The deadline for written submissions is Friday 22 April 2016.

Committee comments

Heidi Allen MP, Committee Member, said:

"In the brave new world of Universal Credit, the Jobcentre will become so much more than the place where people simply ‘sign on.’ I am in absolutely no doubt that UC marks the beginning of a new age in which the individual and the state are partners in the future potential of the individual, but the Jobcentre and its staff will need to undergo significant transformation. We must ensure Jobcentre Plus has the capacity and capability to change with the times, and deliver quality services which are sensitive to the increasingly varied needs of the individuals it serves."

 Craig Williams MP, Committee Member, said:

"As much as different people have different needs, so do different places. The DWP has run a pretty centralised network of Jobcentre Plus offices, for perhaps too long. We will want to consider carefully the potential opportunities for greater decentralisation of employment-related services to combined authorities and the devolved governments."

Further information

Image: PA

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