To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Forces in Mind Trust report entitled Social security benefits and transitions from military to civilian life, published in June 2019, what steps she is taking to ensure that her officials are given adequate training to support ex-service personnel with their benefit claims.
DWP equips our people with a variety of training to help them serve and support all clients who have complex needs, including ex-service personnel, to make claims to all DWP.
We attach a great deal of importance to meeting our commitments under the Armed Forces Covenant and we were pleased to see that the report recognised some of the excellent work undertaken by DWP staff to support veterans. We have also already made a number of improvements.
In February 2019 we launched a refreshed job description for the Armed Forces Champion (AFC) which sets out what is expected of an AFC, the key relationships they need to form and other useful resources available to them.
The Armed Forces Champions ensure the support, advice and guidance offered by Jobcentre Plus reflects the needs of service leavers and the wider armed forces community in their district. Information about benefits is freely available on GOV.UK and many of our AFC work directly with military bases to provide additional information.
Work Coaches in every Jobcentre have all the information they need to offer a tailored service to all claimants and have access to a District Provision Tool which outlines sources of help and provision available locally, including support specific to service leavers.
The Department’s learning products emphasise the importance of treating each claimant as an individual in order to identify and meet their specific needs, whatever they may be.
There is also further DWP learning addressing the broader awareness, skills and behaviours required when dealing with all those transitioning from military to civilian life.
We keep our training under review and are always open to ideas and considerations on how to improve the services we offer.