§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if she will re-open the jobcentre in Barnoldswick, Lancashire; and if she will make a statement on the criteria used in deciding whether to re-open jobcentres
§ Mr. McLoughlin
Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service Agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from M. Fogden to Mr. Gordon Prentice, dated 2 February 1993:As the Employment Service is an Executive agency, the Secretary of State has asked me to write to you direct to respond to your Parliamentary Question to her about the Employment Service office in Barnoldswick. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency.The decision to close the office at Barnoldswick in April 1991 was taken only after a full consultation process. The representations we received were considered very carefully and all the relevant factors were taken into account. The office at Barnoldswick had offered only a limited service and did not reflect the full range of services available at our nearby fully integrated office at Colne. It was mainly for this reason that it was decided to close the office.There are no plans to re-open the office. However, to ensure that local clients have ready access to job opportunities we have provided two vacancy display boards and a freephone facility in the local library.You also asked what criteria are used when considering the re-opening of offices. A number of factors are taken into account when such decisions are taken and these would apply equally to the initial siting of offices. Such factors include:
- —levels of business to be generated.
- —number of clients to be served.
- —the level of service offered to our clients.
- —the proximity of other offices.
- —availability of suitable premises.Other factors may be taken into account when looking at specific locations but the overriding consideration is to provide the best possible service to our clients within available resources. We cannot, I am afraid, provide an office in every location.I hope this is helpful.As decided by the Administration Committee of the House of Commons, Chief Executive replies to written Parliamentary Questions will now be published in the Official Report. I will also place a copy of this letter in the Library of the House.