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Written Question
Way to Work Scheme
Wednesday 25th May 2022

Asked by: Alison McGovern (Labour - Wirral South)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her Department’s press release entitled, New jobs mission to get 500,000 into work, dated 27 January 2022, what targets her Department has put in place for the Way to work campaign; in what way she is measuring the performance of that campaign; what the evidential basis was for proceeding with the design of that campaign; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

I refer the honourable member to the answer given to PQ4709 for the number of movements into work during the Way to Work campaign as of 15 May.

On the 26 January 2022, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions launched ‘Way to Work’, a campaign across Great Britain to help 500,000 people into employment by the end of June 2022.

We are building on the infrastructure established through our Kickstart Scheme to work more closely with employers, to bring them into Jobcentres and move claimants into work more quickly. We are providing more time for new claimants with their Work Coach and delivering a renewed focus on moving claimants into work through more rigorously applying agreements made in claimant commitments. We are also using data to ensure that we are flexible and adaptable in our delivery. This means that we are collecting data that is relevant, effective and that allows us to monitor performance in a timely way so as to assess what is working.

Our ambition for 500,000 movements into work was developed in recognition of the 1.2 million vacancies in the wider economy (now 1.3 million vacancies), as well as the 1.6 million people searching for work within the Universal Credit caseload. It was based on historical performance in previous years over the same period covered by the Way to Work campaign (February to June) and included modelling based on enhanced delivery once Way to Work improvements have been applied.


Written Question
Employment: Greater London
Tuesday 24th May 2022

Asked by: David Evennett (Conservative - Bexleyheath and Crayford)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to protect and increase employment levels in (a) Greater London and (b) the London Borough of Bexley.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is committed to supporting everyone who has been affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the labour market. Throughout the pandemic the UK Government has provided historic levels of support to the economy – a total of over £370 billion. This includes key DWP programmes as part of the Plan for Jobs, such as Restart and Kickstart alongside other measures to boost work searches, skills, and apprenticeships. Our support was in addition to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. We have also launched Way to Work - a concerted drive across the UK to help half a million currently out of work people into jobs by the end of June 2022.

DWP offers significant support to unemployed people across London to access employment opportunities through our network of jobcentres. Our Work Coaches provide support on finding a job, help with retraining or skills advice, CV, job applications and access to the new vacancies, as well as signposting to our Jobhelp website.

We are working closely with GLA and London Councils on their No Wrong Door and Good Work for Londoners ambitions – to provide a joined-up approach to work and skills including Skills Bootcamps and Youth Hubs to connect with young people within the community.

The jobcentre team within the Bexley constituency are responding to the needs of the local labour market and work with employers such as Premier Inn, Morrisons, Tesco, Wetherspoons and many more to help them fulfil their recruitment needs. Local employers are attending jobcentres on a regular basis to conduct recruitment activities and interviews.

Sector based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs) enable the team to support local employers and provide jobseekers with the skills and experience needed to get a start in a particular employment sector. Recent examples of SWAPs delivered in the area include, ‘Preparing to Work in the Food Industry’ in collaboration with London South East Colleges and Ferndale Foods, and the ‘Preparing to Work in Construction’ SWAP with O'Halloran and O'Brien Ltd.


Written Question
Jobcentres: Recruitment
Tuesday 24th May 2022

Asked by: Alison McGovern (Labour - Wirral South)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the process of re-interviewing Work Coaches employed by her Department on fixed-term contracts for permanent positions, whether her Department has undertaken an equality impact assessment that assessed whether any protected groups were being disadvantaged by this process.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

DWP EO fixed-term colleagues across all Service Delivery areas were invited to apply for permanence at their current grade via ring-fenced internal district campaigns which did not include a requirement for interviews.

A full equality impact assessment of the approach was completed in advance of the campaigns commencing. It was concluded that, with mitigations in place, to reduce any negative impact, colleagues would not be disproportionately impacted because of their protected characteristics.


Written Question
Jobcentres: Staff
Friday 20th May 2022

Asked by: Lyn Brown (Labour - West Ham)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential impact on (a) quality of service for Work Coach clients, (b) equalities, (c) training costs, and (d) future quality of service for Work Coach clients of (ii) rising unemployment and (b) staff in her Department who were hired on fixed term contracts as a result of covid-19 pandemic-related increases in social security claim rates are not transferred onto permanent contracts.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

The department monitors and manages its workforce planning by regularly reviewing and monitoring the supply of resources against demand for all portfolios of service delivery and the service provided by Work Coaches is measured by understanding caseloads and claimants within the intensive work search group that our Work Coaches work with to support movement into work.

Our Jobcentre teams are committed to delivering a quality service to ensure all claimants receive the best possible support to meet their individual circumstances. We operate a service delivery framework which sets out the service expectations for our Jobcentre network and the requirements for how they deliver their services. It provides information on why these expectations are set, and ways that Jobcentre leaders and Work Coaches should implement the expectations.

Work Coaches undergo a comprehensive learning journey designed to equip them with the tools, skills and behaviours required to provide a high quality, efficient service to all claimants. They receive on-going learning in their roles and have access to guidance which is refreshed at regular intervals. Jobcentre Team Leaders are responsible for monitoring and assuring the quality of services provided to individual claimants through a combination of observation of interviews, feedback, coaching and appraisal.

Where we have made offers of permanence to our fixed term colleagues, this has reflected merit, location and taking into account demand for future services across the Department in relation to the number of roles available.

Where we were unable to make an offer at this time, colleagues have been placed on a reserve list and we will continue to consider where we may be able to make any further permanence offers, where further opportunities become available. We are also continuing to provide colleagues with a comprehensive career planning offer and ongoing support.


Written Question
Employment: Young People
Wednesday 18th May 2022

Asked by: Matthew Offord (Conservative - Hendon)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on supporting young people into high-skilled jobs in Hendon constituency.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

Through Jobcentre Plus, DWP is helping young people to find the right support, education or training that will ultimately lead to sustained employment opportunities and career progression.

The Plan for Jobs provides a comprehensive package of support for young people, including the DWP Youth Offer. We have extended the DWP Youth Offer to 2025 and expanded eligibility to include 16 and 17-year-olds, in addition to 18 to 24-year olds, who are claiming Universal Credit and searching for work.

Both Hendon Jobcentres support young people through the DWP Youth Offer, which includes intensive Work Coach support, Youth Employability Coaches for those with additional barriers, and access to the Youth Hub in the Grahame Park area.

Core skills are fundamental in securing, retaining, and progressing in work. This Government has invested in apprenticeships, traineeships, vocational and basic skills training, alongside careers advice and Sector-based Work Academy Programmes (SWAPs).

SWAP opportunities link skills/employability training with guaranteed interviews and real vacancies – providing a routeway into work for young people. Whilst many opportunities are entry level, they often offer good career pathways and in work progression. Springboard has recently offered SWAP opportunities in the hospitality sector in each of the four London Districts and are available to young claimants in Hendon. The jobcentre team are also working with No1 Fitness Academy, who are running a 6-week employability programme for young people in Hendon.

Employers from a range of sectors recruit on site daily and we deliver a Job Club to support with applications and interview techniques. Across North London, we hold regular recruitment events with multiple employers offering jobs with a range of entry levels.

The local jobcentre team work collaboratively with Barnet Council and various partners to support Hendon’s young people, developing skills provision and routeways into higher skilled jobs in sectors including construction, computer programming and fitness instruction.

We work closely with the GLA, London Councils and our College Principles. We are working collaboratively to develop Skills Bootcamps in line with priority sectors and we also support the mayor’s priorities around Good Work for Londoners.


Written Question
Jobcentres: Public Transport
Thursday 28th April 2022

Asked by: Sarah Owen (Labour - Luton North)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of locating all job centres on (a) affordable and (b) easily accessible public transport routes.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

The DWP considers a number of different factors in areas where we expect a demand for our services. The Department seeks properties in both major cities or more rural locations that meet the business requirements for a Jobcentre. We currently have over 800 Jobcentre offices across all constituencies in Great Britain with over 190 new sites opened as part of Plan for Jobs.

Accessible transport links for both colleagues and customers is included in the planning process.


Written Question
Flexible Support Fund: North Devon
Wednesday 27th April 2022

Asked by: Selaine Saxby (Conservative - North Devon)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what was the purpose of claims made to the Flexible Support Fund in North Devon in the last 12 months.

Answered by David Rutley - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

The information requested is not collated centrally and could only be provided for the whole of North Devon at disproportionate cost as we do not record this information by Parliamentary constituency.

Of the three Jobcentres that serve the North Devon constituency, Barnstaple Jobcentre is the only office with its claimant base entirely within the North Devon constituency. For Barnstaple Jobcentre, Flexible Support Fund which is issued on top of benefits spend has been recorded in each of the following categories for the last 12 months, from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022:

  • Travel – Training
  • Travel - Work Related Interview
  • Travel - Job Interviews
  • Claimant Equipment for Work
  • Other Claimant Expenses to remove barriers
  • In Work Emergency Fund
  • Up Front Childcare
  • Travel – Sector Based Work Academies Programmes

Written Question
Jobseeker's Allowance and Universal Credit
Tuesday 26th April 2022

Asked by: Kirsty Blackman (Scottish National Party - Aberdeen North)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the amendments to the permitted period contained in The Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance (Work Search and Work Availability Requirements - limitations) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 include an objective to support claimants to move into sustained, long-term employment.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

The Way to Work campaign is a move to help job-ready claimants into work sooner, utilising strong relationships with employers to help fill the hundreds of thousands of vacancies in the economy.

We are also providing claimants with more time with their Work Coaches so they are better supported in their search for work as we know that a claimant that can work is better off in work and that those in work have a greater chance of securing a better job and progressing in a career.

Finally, building on the Way to Work campaign, we are rolling out a new in-work progression offer to all Jobcentres. This will extend the support we provide to low-paid benefit claimants in work, providing targeted support to help people progress in their jobs, overcome barriers to fulfil their potential and earn more.


Written Question
Social Security Benefits: Disqualification
Tuesday 26th April 2022

Asked by: Kirsty Blackman (Scottish National Party - Aberdeen North)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 8 February 2022 to Question 117880, on Social Security Benefits: Disqualification, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the finding on page 73 of her Department's in-work progression randomised control trial that ran between April 2015 and March 2018 that sanctions did not appear to have a positive impact on motivation to progress and that they could damage the relationship between the Work Coach and participant.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

A positive working relationship between a Work Coach and a claimant is crucial but the same section also shows how sanctions are an effective tool at driving compliance.

Building on the evidence from the randomised control trial to support in-work progression, we are extending the support Jobcentres provide to people in work and on low incomes to help them to increase their earnings and move into better paid quality jobs.

This will be provided by Work Coaches and focus on career progression advice, such as considering skills gaps, identifying training needs, or looking for opportunities for the claimant to progress in their current role or in a new role.

The support will be offered to working UC claimants on a voluntary basis initially. However, we will review this in the future to ensure everyone who could benefit from this support engages with it.

Our evaluation of the new voluntary in-work progression offer will inform our future approach to helping UC claimants to progress.


Written Question
Jobcentres
Wednesday 20th April 2022

Asked by: Alison McGovern (Labour - Wirral South)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she provide details of each Jobcentre Plus in the UK, broken down by (a) permanent and (b) temporary job centres.

Answered by Mims Davies - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

Please see the attached spreadsheet for details of the permanent and temporary DWP sites.