§ Mr. Malcolm Bruce
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what initiatives he is developing to improve access to information on employment vacancies for people living in rural areas; and if he will make a statement.
§ Miss Widdecombe
Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment714W Service Agency under its chief executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from M. E. G. Fogden to Mr. Malcolm Bruce, dated 1 February 1995:The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about initiatives to improve access to information on employment vacancies for people living in rural areas.Local initiatives are being developed by many of the Employment Service's (ES) rural offices to improve our clients' access to vacancy information. These often involve provision of vacancy displays in post offices, libraries, community centres and other focal points in small rural communities. Local press and radio are also used to publicise our services.The ES programme Development Fund is being used to develop rural initiatives and supplement the more traditional forms of vacancy filling in scattered communities. Mobile Jobcentres have been provided in several areas and Freephone services are being used to make Jobcentre services more accessible to clients in the more remote areas. Access to vacancies and advisory services has also been provided by our Claimant Advisers through Outreach projects. These initiatives will be subject to evaluation in the future and consideration may then be given to wider delivery.You may also be interested to know that an internal working group has been set up in Scotland to consider how existing ES services might be further developed to meet the needs of ES clients in rural areas.