Jobcentre Plus: Hearing Impairment

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 20th December 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Conservative, Pendle

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to promote deaf awareness amongst Jobcentre Plus staff.

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

All Jobcentre Plus staff undertake diversity and equality learning to raise awareness and help them understand issues faced by disabled customers and claimants, including those who are deaf or hearing impaired and other customers with “hidden” disabilities. Jobcentre Plus advisers and disability employment advisers also receive additional training on disability to enable them to provide the right support to individual customers and claimants. This is supplemented by guidance which includes advice on making reasonable adjustments for disabled people, including deaf people, to ensure they have full access to services. This approach ensures staff are fully equipped to deal effectively with the needs of a diverse customer base.

Training packages also stress the importance of sign- posting customers and claimants to organisations where they can obtain specialist help and support, when required. The learning includes improving accessibility to Jobcentre Plus services by supporting customers and claimants with specific communication barriers, including the use of loop-aids, text phones, “typetalk” and interpreters. There is also practical advice given on talking to customers and claimants with a hearing impairment. Jobcentre Plus and DWP learning and support materials are updated regularly to ensure they reflect advancements in practices and techniques, enabling staff to provide a high quality, personalised and flexible service to meet the needs of all our customers and claimants.

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