§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if parents signing on for jobseeker's allowance are entitled to be accompanied by their children at a jobcentre interview. 
§ Mr. Andrew Smith
Responsibility for the subject of this 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 Leigh Lewis to Mr. David Willetts, dated 26 May 1999:As the Employment Service is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment has asked me to reply direct to your question about the presence of children accompanying their parents at Jobcentre interviews. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Agency.We appreciate that many people looking for work have dependent children and that it is sometimes convenient for them to bring a child with them when attending interviews at the Jobcentre. In accordance with our general policy that Jobcentres should present a welcoming environment to all jobseekers, we are happy for this to be the case. Where the presence of children makes it difficult to undertake the interview effectively we will discuss re-arranging the interview for a time when alternative care arrangements can be made.I hope this is helpful.