§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he has any plans regarding the privatisation or contractorisation of jobcentres and their services.
§ Mr. Eggar
No. As my right hon. Friend the former Secretary of State announced on 1 December 1989,Official Report, column 461, the employment service will be launched as a Next Steps agency in April. Agency status will involve the setting of clear objectives and targets for the employment service and will clarify accountability for policy, management and performance. This will enable the employment service to provide greater value for money and improved customer service. My right hon. Friend also announced that the employment service will progressively integrate its jobcentre and benefit services. This will represent a significant improvement on the present system where most people have to visit both a benefit office and a jobcentre as part of claiming benefit and looking for work.