Jobcentre Plus: Closures

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 5th September 2011.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Labour, Hayes and Harlington

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

(1) what estimate he has made of the potential savings to the public purse arising from the closure of Jobcentre Plus branches at (a) London Heathrow, (b) London Denmark Street, (c) London Harrow Station Road, (d) Camberwell, (e) Bluewater Recruitment Centre, (f) Chelmsford Beeches Road, (g) Edinburgh City, (h) Dundee Gellatly Street, (i) Aberdeen Chapel Street, (j) Glasgow Shawlands, (k) Glasgow City, (l) Glasgow Hillington, (m) Aylesbury Heron House, (n) Manchester Airport, (o) Manchester Trafford Centre, (p) Old Swan Merseyside, (q) Halifax Horton Street, (r) Leicester Highfields, (s) Caradog House, Cardiff, (t) Banff and (u) Girvan;

(2) when he expects Jobcentre Plus's review of the jobcentre estate to be concluded; how many branches of Jobcentre Plus have been announced for closure as part of that review to date; what services are available from each branch announced for closure; and on what date each branch will close;

(3) which organisations Jobcentre Plus have encouraged to co-locate with its branches at (a) London Heathrow, (b) London Denmark Street, (c) London Harrow Station Road, (d) Camberwell, (e) Bluewater Recruitment Centre, (f) Chelmsford Beeches Road, (g) Edinburgh City, (h) Dundee Gellatly Street, (i) Aberdeen Chapel Street, (j) Glasgow Shawlands, (k) Glasgow City, (l) Glasgow Hillington, (m) Aylesbury Heron House, (n) Manchester Airport, (o) Manchester Trafford Centre, (p) Old Swan Merseyside, (q) Halifax Horton Street, (r) Leicester Highfields, (s) Caradog House, Cardiff, (t) Banff and (u) Girvan.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The estimated savings to the public purse of the 20 Jobcentre buildings identified for potential closure is £32.1 million over eight years (to 2017-18) at Net Present Value (NPV).

Jobcentre Plus is endeavouring to become a leaner, more flexible and productive organisation that delivers more of its services over the telephone and internet. As it implements more digital services and as unemployment falls, Jobcentre Plus will be able to free up more capacity in its estate. Face-to-face contact in Jobcentres will reduce as more services can be accessed online and through the simplification of the benefit system.

While Jobcentre Plus does not anticipate announcing any further closures this year, it will continuously review its estate so that efficiency savings and value for money for the taxpayer can be achieved. Jobcentre Plus will also be working alongside its partners to explore every opportunity that might further reduce estates costs and constantly monitoring its workloads and the impact of universal credit to assess the potential for further rationalisation.

Since the estates review commenced (post 2010 spending review), Jobcentre Plus has announced the closure or consultation on the closure of 44 offices.

On 13 May it was announced that 22 Benefit and Contact Centres would close. Benefit Centres at Arbroath, Ayr, Broadstairs, Cannock, Castleford, Chester, Exeter, Halifax, Huyton, Lincoln, Luton, Mansfield, Sutton in Ashfield, Totton and Yeovil will close by May 2012. Contact Centres at Caerphilly, Clydebank, Grimsby (Europarc), Liverpool and Preston will close by May 2012. A further two Benefit Centres at Carlisle and Hartlepool will close during 2012-13.

On 8 July Jobcentre Plus announced consultation on the closure of Banff and Girvan Jobcentres and the intention to move all staff and services into the premises of partner organisations in the respective towns.

On 19 July Jobcentre Plus announced that it had identified 20 Jobcentre buildings which it believes it can close without reducing service standards and has embarked on a six week consultation period before taking a final decision. The services that each provides is as follows:

London Heathrow Jobshop is an employer only facility and the same facilities for employers can be provided at a nearby Jobcentre in Hounslow.

London Denmark Street Jobcentre is an employer only facility and the same facilities can be offered from nearby Jobcentres in Central London.

London Harrow Station Road Jobcentre provides the full Jobcentre service but there is an alternative Jobcentre within one mile (Harrow Kings House).

London Camberwell Jobcentre provides the full Jobcentre service but there are alternative Jobcentres within two miles at Peckham, Brixton and Kennington.

The Bluewater Recruitment Centre is an employer only facility and the same facilities can be offered from nearby Jobcentres in Kent.

Chelmsford Beeches Road is an annex to the main Jobcentre in the town and customers are only seen here by appointment.

Edinburgh City provides the full Jobcentre service but there is an alternative Jobcentre within two miles (High Riggs).

Dundee Gellatly Street provides the full Jobcentre service but there is an alternative Jobcentre within one mile (Wellgate, Dundee).

Aberdeen Chapel Street provides the full Jobcentre service but there is an alternative Jobcentre within ½ mile at Edbury House, Aberdeen.

Glasgow Shawlands is an employer only facility and the same facilities can be offered from nearby Jobcentres in Glasgow.

Glasgow City provides the full Jobcentre service but there is an alternative Jobcentre within two miles (Partick).

Glasgow Hillington is an employer only facility and the same facilities can be offered from nearby Jobcentres in Glasgow.

Aylesbury Heron House provides the full Jobcentre service but there is an alternative Jobcentre within ½ mile at Sunley House, Aylesbury.

Manchester airport Jobshop is an employer only facility and the same facilities can be offered from nearby Jobcentres in Manchester city centre.

Manchester Trafford Centre Jobshop is an employer only facility and the same facilities can be offered from nearby Jobcentres in Manchester city centre.

Old Swan, Liverpool provides a full Jobcentre service but there is an alternative Jobcentre within two miles at West Derby.

Halifax Horton Street provides a full Jobcentre service but there is an alternative Jobcentre within one mile (Halifax Crossfield).

Leicester Highfields provides a full Jobcentre service but there are alternative Jobcentres within two miles at Charles Street and Wellington Street.

Caradog House, Cardiff provides a full Jobcentre service but there is an alternative Jobcentre within one mile (Charles Street, Cardiff).

Birmingham airport Jobshop is an employer only facility and the same facilities can be provided at nearby Jobcentres.

Prior to the announcement on 19 July, confidentiality prevented Jobcentre Plus from progressing beyond high level discussions with potential co-location partners at the sites. Now that the announcement has been made, Jobcentre Plus is able to embark upon a six week consultation exercise with all of our customers, partners and key stakeholders and the subject of co-location will be an integral element of the exercise. Jobcentre Plus district managers have written to stakeholders to instigate and encourage participation in the consultation exercise.

If it is concluded following consultation that the closures should go ahead, typically they will close in 12 months unless a lease break enables earlier exit.

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