HC Deb 08 December 1997 vol 302 c437W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons funding has been withdrawn from the job focus courses at HMP Gloucester; and what alternative provision will be made available for inmates who are about to be released. [18928]

Ms Quin

Job focus courses run at Gloucester prison and other prisons in England and Wales are funded by the Employment Service of the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE). A decision was made a year ago to cease funding for these courses and concentrate resources on people already in the labour market.

The current contract for the provision of the job focus course at Gloucester prison, involving a prison officer and a tutor from Gloucester College of Art and Technology, will cease on 31 March 1998. The governor of Gloucester prison will maintain the job focus club by continuing the involvement of the prison officer but does not have the resources available to replace the funding from DfEE for the tutor.

Help for ex-offenders from Employment Services will be available nationally through a number of measures including:

  • specialist advice and guidance from Employment Service staff to ex-offenders about their jobsearch;
  • allowing time spent in custody to count towards eligibility for Employment Service programmes;
  • maintaining Employment Service contact with prison authorities at local level to provide advice on programmes and services as part of a pre-release programme;
  • allowing prison staff to attend Jobclub leader training courses (where places are available) without charge;
  • continuing the availability of Jobclubs in prisons where all parties consider them to be useful.