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Written Question
Jobcentres: Industrial Health and Safety
Tuesday 18th January 2022

Asked by: Marion Fellows (Scottish National Party - Motherwell and Wishaw)

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 Job Centre staff's health and wellbeing when (a) conducting face-to-face appointments and (b) ensuring local work from home covid-19 guidance is followed.

Answered by Guy Opperman - Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)

DWP takes the health, safety and wellbeing of colleagues very seriously and all of our offices are COVID secure. We have a suite of Health & Safety risk assessments in place developed following extensive consultation with departmental trade union representatives that cover all of the measures in place to protect staff and customers. These risk assessments are regularly reviewed, for example following changes to government guidance, including that from the respective governments in the devolved nations.

In addition, DWP offers a comprehensive Employee Assistance Programme that offers short and long-term support for any physical or mental health issues that staff face.

DWP also has a network of Mental Health First Aiders on hand across all parts of the DWP to offer immediate emotional support and also to signpost to expert support.

The DWP’s network of Wellbeing Advocates are a community of staff representing all grades, job roles and geographical areas who regularly cascade key Wellbeing messages and support packages to their local teams and sites who also provide an invaluable service in feeding back to the central Wellbeing team on challenges that their colleagues are facing.


Written Question
Jobcentres: Industrial Health and Safety
Thursday 15th April 2021

Asked by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what (a) risk assessments and (b) discussions with trade unions her Department conducted in preparation for the full reopening of jobcentres on 12 April 2021.

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

Ahead of the return to full opening hours and the restart of face-to-face appointments, every jobcentre has reviewed all relevant site risk assessments, including the Jobcentre Claimant Facing Risk Assessment, in consultation with local Trade Union representatives. We have maintained an open dialogue with Departmental Trade Union Side, meeting with them weekly to discuss our plans for the 12 April (and 26 April in Scotland), and giving them opportunity to review and comment on all of the supporting products we have provided for our people, and, wherever possible, making changes to reflect their feedback and concerns.


Written Question
Jobcentres: Industrial Health and Safety
Thursday 15th April 2021

Asked by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the return of staff for the full reopening of jobcentres on 12 April 2021, how many staff were expected to return immediately; how much notice they were given; and whether individual covid-19 risk assessments were carried out.

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

We take the health and safety of colleagues extremely seriously, and are absolutely committed to ensuring all our sites remain COVID secure in line with Public Health and Government guidance to keep colleagues and customers safe. We have adopted a slow, steady and safe approach to returning colleagues to the workplace, with the number of colleagues able to return varying by site and based on the COVID secure capacity of the jobcentre. An announcement about the department’s intention to return to full opening hours and restart face-to-face appointments was made by the Permanent Secretary on the 18th March. In advance of their return to the workplace, every colleague, including those who were in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, is having a one-to-one with their manager to make sure they are aware of the support available to them.