We use cookies to improve user experience for our customers.

Role of JCP - Work and Pensions Committee Latest

Today has seen the first of six oral evidence sessions held by the Work and Pensions Committee into the role of Jobcentre Plus in the reformed welfare system.

This inquiry, announced in April 2013, will examine JCP’s effectiveness and consider how its role may need to change within the context of current and ongoing welfare reforms, including the introduction of Universal credit and the implementation of a Benefit Cap. The effectiveness of JCP’s core employment services and its role as a “gatekeeper” to contracted-out services will be considered. Recent changes to the governance arrangements for JCP and options for more radical future changes are also within the scope of the inquiry.

In today’s session evidence was heard from NatCen Social Research, Policy Exchange, Ixion Holdings Ltd, and Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion.  Nothing particularly earth shattering was covered, but key comments include:

  • Jobcentre Plus does well at managing the benefit conditionality regime, but not so well with supporting customers. JCP are not resourced to spend time with the customers who need a lot more support to move into work.
  • The Flexible Support Fund is not being well managed. No data is officially collected aside from the expenditure, and there is a lack of transparency about how the FSF is being used and how effective this is.
  • The move to greater transparency has sometimes resulted in less useful information being available in the public domain eg no departmental reports are now produced, no annual report from JCP etc.
  • Universal Jobmatch is a good start and has great potential, but some things could be improved eg crude search criteria and categories. There now appear to be less elementary and lower-skilled vacancies available on the system - data isn’t being recorded in occupational classifications that most people recognise and relevant vacancies can be hard to find. There is a feeling that UJ is being used as a means of enforcing conditionality and sanctioning jobseekers for non-compliance rather than being seen primarily as a means to help jobseekers.
  • JCP are sitting on “a mine of useful data” about the local labour market which is woefully under-utilised. NOMIS data about the local labour market is no longer available and the replacement data now available via UJ is totally inadequate.

The next sessions are scheduled for 17 July, 11 September, 16 October, 30 October, and 20 November.

26 June 2013

« Back to previous page

Your Critical Friend

Independent scrutiny of service delivery with realistic solutions to increase efficiency and performance!

Contact us for more information

Copyright W2W Solutions 2019