HC Deb 17 October 1995 vol 264 cc242-3W
Dr. Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what reductions in staffing levels in the Employment Service are planned in(a) 1996–97, (b) 1997–98 and (c) 1998–99; and how many of these are as a result of targeted efficiency savings arising from the introduction of the jobseeker's allowance; [37030]

(2) what is the planned number of staff to be transferred from the Employment Service to the Benefits Agency to administer the jobseeker's allowance. [37029]

Mr. Forth

Responsibility for the subject of the questions 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. E. G. Fogden to Dr. Lynne Jones, dated 17 October 1995: The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the planned staffing levels in the Employment Services (ES) over the next four years and the expected numbers who will transfer from ES to the Benefit Agency (BA) to process Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) payments.

The latest estimates available of staffing in the ES over the years in question are contained in the Employment Department's 1995 Departmental Report, a copy of which is in the library. As at March 1995, the estimates for staffing in 1996–97 were 40,960 and 39,148 in 1997–98. No estimate was made for 1998–99.

These figures are being looked at again as part of this year's Public Expenditure Survey and are likely to change, particularly because under the JSA responsibility for paying unemployment benefits will transfer from the ES to BA. This will help streamline the administrative process. However, there is no target for specific efficiency savings in staff numbers as a result of the introduction of the JSA.

Currently, within the JSA Project, design work is being done on the business processes for its implementation, Each business process details the activities which need to be done in order to complete a specific task, for example Taking a New Claim from a Jobseeker.

From these business processes, we will be able to assess the number of people required to transfer from ES to BA to process payment of JSA. This area of work is ongoing and numbers have yet to be finalised.

I hope this is helpful.