HC Deb 14 February 2003 vol 400 cc22-4W
Mr. Heald

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he plans to adopt the definition of New Deal achievement proposed by the Select Committee on Work and Pensions at paragraph 55 of its Third Report of 2001–02; and if he will make a statement. [91614]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

The sustainability of jobs is one of a number of key measures we already use to analyse the success of the New Deal programmes.

Up to September 2002, 313,700 New Deal clients had moved into jobs lasting 13 weeks or more. The programme is continuing to help significant numbers of disadvantaged young people into work. Many of these have moved into jobs more quickly and have stayed there longer than they would have done without the New Deal.

We are building on this success, developing further measures to help even more young people to move into sustained jobs. We have introduced initiatives such as progress2work and StepUP to provide more assistance for those who face the greatest barriers to work. We are piloting post employment mentoring support to increase job retention and we are testing tailored pathways to help young people use the New Deal Options more flexibly and move into sustained jobs.

Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many New Deal for Disabled People job brokers are active; and how many have stopped offering their services since the programme went nationwide; [96604]

(2) how much the New Deal for Disabled People job brokers receive for placing a disabled person into work for six months or more; [96605]

(3) what advice is available to New Deal for Disabled People job brokers on cost-effective ways to attract new clients. [96607]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

We believe that disabled people should be provided with the same opportunities as everyone else. New Deal for Disabled People enables those with a health condition or disability to find and move into work and to help themselves become, and remain, more independent.

A network of Job Brokers across Great Britain are providing support and services to people on incapacity benefits who want to participate. The aim is to achieve lasting paid employment for people with health conditions and disabilities.

There are currently 60 Job Brokers delivering New Deal for Disabled People. Of the 66 Job Brokers who were originally contracted, six have withdrawn from their contracts for a variety of reasons. Consequently, some of the existing Job Brokers have extended their provision so as to ensure national coverage.

Job Brokers have access to a variety of advice and support in marketing their services to new customers. In particular there is a Job Broker website which provides details of marketing tools and techniques and information on how best to maximise opportunities to place customers in work.

Job Brokers individually negotiate prices for successfully delivering the New Deal for Disabled People reflecting their operational processes, business assumptions and local labour market conditions. They receive a payment for customers who remain in work for 26 weeks out of 39 following a job entry. The average payment is £1,274.

Mr. Heald

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what research he has(a) commissioned and (b) received into the reasons why new deal participants eligible for new deal photocards failed to take up the scheme; if he will place it in the Library; and if he will make a statement; [94003]

(2) pursuant to his answer of 17 December 2002, Official Report, columns 773–74W, on New Deal photocards, by what means the reduced rail fare scheme is brought to the attention of New Deal participants at the initial interview with their personal adviser; what forms are required to be completed in order to apply for the photocard; and if the reduced fares applies to all rail travel or only to that connected with the New Deal.[94056]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

Up to November 2002, over 129,000 photocards had been issued to New Deal participants, helping them reduce the cost of travelling to job interviews and getting to work in the early days of a new job. Take up of the scheme has risen greatly since its launch, with the number of photocards issued growing by more than a third on average each quarter.

New Deal personal advisers are responsible for ensuring that all eligible New Deal participants are aware of the reduced rail fares offer. They issue to the New Deal client, either with the first New Deal invitation letter or at the first Gateway interview: an Association of Train Operating Companies Fact Sheet; an application form; and the terms and conditions of the offer. The personal adviser will also inform the participant that two passport-sized photographs should be submitted with the completed application form, and that the photocard is valid for up to three calendar months (after which repeat applications can be made). Photocards should only be used for rail travel connected with the New Deal.

The Department has not commissioned any research on the take up of the New Deal Reduced Rail Fare Scheme.