To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made on rolling out a programme of placing an officer of her Department into local food banks to assist with benefits (a) access and (b) problems as first piloted in Morecambe.
Working with Trussell Trust we undertook a 12 week telephony hotline trial during the summer 2017, in three Districts (Durham and Tees Valley, Northumberland and Cambridgeshire), to assess the volume and nature of enquiries made by claimants from their linked food banks.
The small number of calls made to the hotline seemed to indicate that demand for Jobcentre resource in food banks was low. However, it was agreed that we would remind colleagues of the signposting process, and District Partnership teams would continue to engage with food banks as part of their portfolio of local partners and stakeholders.
Jobcentres continue to engage with food banks or organisations hosting food banks as part of their normal partnership work. To ensure a consistent offer, an assurance was received in February 2018 that each Jobcentre Single Point of Contact had made contact with their linked food banks to increase and maintain partnership working.