To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training is planned for Jobcentre Plus staff on the implementation of (a) local housing allowance, (b) employment and support allowance, (c) changes in liaison with the Child Support Agency for income support claimants and (d) changes to lone parents' eligibility for income support; and what additional resources have been allocated for such training.
Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what training is planned for Jobcentre Plus staff on the implementation of (a) local Housing Allowance, (b) Employment and Support Allowance, (c) changes in liaison with the Child Support Agency for Income Support claimants and (d) changes to lone parents' eligibility for Income Support; and what additional resources have been allocated for training. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Existing learning products are being amended to reflect the introduction of local housing allowance and the consequent changes to our IT systems. In addition communications have been published to increase awareness among Jobcentre Plus staff.
Learning and Development for people in Jobcentre Plus is central to the successful delivery of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). We are putting in place a comprehensive package of learning and development products to fully equip Jobcentre Plus staff to deliver ESA. Detailed learning routeways are being developed for each of the roles affected. In addition, communications are being planned to ensure all Jobcentre Plus staff are aware of ESA as a new benefit and new regime to assist customers into work.
All Jobcentre Plus staff will receive information to raise awareness of the changes to the child maintenance arrangements being introduced in July 2008 and October 2008. In addition specific learning products are being developed for staff whose roles are being directly impacted by the changes.
A full learning needs analysis is currently being conducted to assess what learning staff need as a result of the forthcoming changes to lone parents' eligibility for Income Support. All staff are likely to require some communication to raise their awareness. More detailed information will be focused on those whose roles are more directly affected. In particular advisers will be given clear advice on the existing and new flexibilities that are applicable to lone parents claiming Jobseeker's Allowance.
The development and delivery of the training for staff on local Housing Allowance, child maintenance and lone parents' eligibility for Income Support are being contained within core Jobcentre Plus Learning and Development resources which exist to support the implementation of change. Detailed planning for the ESA learning and development is currently underway, which will enable an assessment of what can be absorbed within current capacity and whether any additional resource is required.
I hope this is helpful.