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Future of Jobcentre Plus

Jim Knight delivered a speech at the Work Foundation yesterday which touched on his vision for jobcentres over the next five years.  The announcement was in advance of the White Paper (Getting Britain Back to Work) later this month.

He introduced the new  Chief Executive for Jobcentre Plus who replaces Mel Groves - Darra Singh.

Mr Knight offered the statistic that currently 90 per cent of jobseekers go nowhere near our providers because they come off JSA within 12 months.  I don't have time to check that out, but if anyone else would like to have a go, feel free and let us know your outcome!  Re the evolution of Jobcentre Plus Jim Knight is looking to:

  • Assess clients to agree a bespoke plan to overcome barriers to work. 
  • Organise advisers into casework teams, moving to named advisers for customers...and I want customers to be able to change their advisers if the relationship is not working well.
  • Fast track to specialised support, using skills accounts to access funding for training.
  • Offer a menu of options including help with childcare, healthcare, and skills.
  • Set up an email address for all customers who don’t have one when they first sign on with Jobcentre Plus.

The highlight of the announcement was the vision for everyone to have access to the internet, so they can search and apply for jobs online, so they can improve their computer skills, complete online learning courses and get support from advisers, from other jobseekers and more information about their benefits.   This really is a vision - he has said this will take time, innovation and lots of hard work so it isn't going to be in place this year, next year, or any time - so don’t be fooled by the mass hysteria headlines about freeby computers and broadband. This is going to be a long time in the making - anyone who’s been in the sector for a few years knows the issues re governments using technology, so watch this space!

We aren’t really sure what the obsession with jobsearching on line is. There are so many other (and potentially more successful) ways to jobsearch that this obsession with needing the internet is starting to become unhealthy.

Improving the recruitment service for employers through Business Link was another aim, which can’t come too soon really and Mr Knight also talked about giving JCP staff the skills, training and support to become expert recruitment consultants and career advisers as well as spending time with people. Hear hear!

The full transcript of the speech can be found on the DWP website.

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