HC Deb 14 March 2001 vol 364 cc616-7W
Mr. Gardiner

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what proposals he has to extend the use of work-focused interviews within the Working Age Agency. [153892]

Mr. Blunkett

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Security and I are establishing, later this year, the Working Age Agency. This will bring together labour market and benefit services for people of working age and enable us to provide a more integrated approach for our customers.

As the first stage in the launch of the Working Age Agency, we will be introducing around 50 Pathfinder offices. A provisional list of their locations is set out in the following table. People of working age making a claim for benefit in these offices will be required to participate in a work-focused interview as an integral part of the benefit claims process and will be offered specialist support to help them into work. My right hon. Friend will shortly be laying regulations under the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 for this purpose.

WAA Pathfinder sites 1
City/town Number of pathfinders
Greenock 21
Port Glasgow 21
Livingston 1
City of Aberdeen 3
Bridgend 2
Maesteg 1
Pyle 1
Porthcawl 1
South West Birmingham 3
Telford 2
Madeley 1
Wellington 1
Wallasey 1
Hoylake 1
Blackburn 2
Darwen 1
Manchester Openshaw 2
Halifax 32
Huddersfield 32
Dewsbury 32
Todmorden 31
City Derby 4
Gateshead 2
Felling 1
Blaydon 1
Birtley 1
Exmouth 1
Honiton 1
Tiverton 1
WAA Pathfinder sites1
City/town Number of pathfinders
Sidmouth 1
Chelmsford 22
Southend 21
Rayeigh 21
Willesden 1
Wembley 1
Kilburn 1
Harlesden 1
Winchester 1
Streatham 1
1 Provisional
2 ONE Basic Model Pilot
3 ONE Call Centre Pilot