To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
(1) what interpreter services are available to support Jobcentre Plus (a) interviews and (b) telephone calls;
(2) which Jobcentre Plus materials are available in languages other than English, broken down by language.
The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to reply to the hon. member.
Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked me to reply to your questions about what interpreter services are available to support Jobcentre Plus (a) interviews and (b) telephone calls, and which Jobcentre Plus materials are available in languages other than English broken down by language. This is something, which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus recognises that additional support may be required to enable people who do not have English as a first language to gain access to our services, (a) when contacting us by telephone, or (b) attending an interview.
We provide this additional support through the:
(a) DWP Telephone Interpreting Service, currently contracted to "thebigword". This service allows immediate access to interpreters for callers to our Contact Centre networks, for example when making new claims to benefits or applying for National Insurance Numbers.
(b) Face to Face Interpreting, including access to interpreters available through our partnership working with the Voluntary Sector, and local community and customer representative groups. We may also use staff with relevant language skills, or customer's friends and relatives, where the customer has indicated that this is their preferred method of language support.
Jobcentre Plus currently produces its suite of customer information leaflets (providing details of benefits and entitlements, and our mandatory Welfare to Work programmes) in English, Welsh and in the following ethnic languages:
Chinese (Some titles only available on request, due to file size)
Urdu (Some titles only available on request, due to file size)
This information is also available as online electronic-only files that can be downloaded or printed as required.
Information in Somali and Vietnamese is also available in audio format on request.
The languages offered are based on analysis of UK demographic data.
I hope this is helpful.