HC Deb 18 March 1997 vol 292 c527W
Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what plans her Department has to ensure that jobcentres accept individual vacancies for display from private employment agencies only when there is a genuine vacancy; [19756]

(2) if she will make a statement on the Government's policy regarding jobcentre vacancies. [19757]

Mr. Forth

[holding answer 18 March 1997]: 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 Leigh Lewis to Mr. Jim Cunningham, dated 18 March 1997: The Secretary of State has asked me to write to you direct to respond to your questions about Jobcentre display of vacancies from private employment agencies and the policy on Jobcentre vacancies. In accordance with Employment Service (ES) policy on working with external labour market organisations, the ES has an agreement with the Federation of Recruitment and Employment Services (FRES), the national umbrella body for private employment agencies, under which unemployed jobseekers have access to agency vacancies which are advertised in Jobcentres. This increase the number of jobs available to them through the Jobcentre network. Agency vacancies are accepted for display in Jobcentres only where there is a genuine vacancy; that is where there are details of a specific job, and where a contract exists between the agency and the employer. The service is at the discretion of ES local Business Managers who have guidance which sets out clear criteria for accepting agency vacancies. Your second question relates to our policy regarding Jobcentre vacancies more generally. Jobcentres provide vacancy advertising services to employers under the provisions of the Employment and Training Act 1973. In 1996 Jobcentres handled over 2.5 million vacancies and helped over 2 million people into jobs. These included both full time and part time jobs and covered a range of occupations and pay levels. Jobcentres work to guidance which advises them to get full information from employers about each vacancy to enable jobseekers and the ES to determine the suitability of the vacancy for individual clients. The guidance also stipulates that Jobcentres must not accept vacancies from employers which are illegal; would result in a breach of the law; or might put jobseekers at risk. Once a vacancy has been accepted from an employer it is normally put on the Jobcentre vacancy display boards. The information displayed includes the job title, description of main duties, experience/qualification requirements, hours of work, salary and any additional relevant information. I hope this is helpful.