Jobseekers (Nairn)

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 22nd February 2005.

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Photo of Mr David Stewart Mr David Stewart PPS (Rt Hon Alistair Darling, Secretary of State), Department for Transport

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will consider the Nairn and District area for a future telephone pilot project for jobseeker's allowance.

Photo of Jane Kennedy Jane Kennedy Minister of State (Work), Department for Work and Pensions

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Jobcentre Plus, David Anderson. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from David Anderson to Mr. David Stewart, dated 22 February 2005

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question on whether Nairn and District Area can be considered for a future telephone pilot for Jobseeker's Allowance. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

I should explain that our Highland, Islands & Clyde Coast District, which includes Nairn, has 3 current pilots testing variations, including use of telephony, to the existing Fortnightly Jobsearch Review. Nairn is among the selected pilot locations along with Inverness, Buckie and Clydebank. Customer participation is voluntary and the position in Nairn is that about 20 customers are involved at any one time with 6 or 7 joining or leaving in a typical week.

The pilots aim to assess the impact alternatives to the current Fortnightly Jobsearch Review, such as maintaining contact by telephone and less frequent attendance in person, have on our core activity of helping people back into work. The pilots began in Inverness, Buckie and Clydebank on 11 October 2004 and in Nairn on 29 November 2004. A full evaluation of the outcomes, including whether the arrangements are suitable for wider implementation, will be carried out after the pilots end on 8 April 2005. At this stage I cannot confirm whether Nairn and District Area will continue with the pilot after 8 April 2005. I have asked the Manager for the Highland, Islands and Clyde Coast District to keep you informed.

I hope that this is helpful.

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