Select Committee on Work and Pensions Minutes of Evidence

Further memorandum submitted by the Department for Work and Pensions (OP 08B)

Letter to the Secretary of State from the Chairman of the Committee

  Thank you for the Department's memorandum in connection with the Committee's inquiry. I am writing on behalf of the Committee to request some additional information in preparation for the oral evidence session. Your officials are more than welcome to contact myself or Janet Allbeson to discuss the information requested.

  Please provide:

    —  a client profile for each of the pilot areas, broken down into JSA and non-JSA clients—and, if possible, the make-up of the latter group.

    —  details of annual staff turnover and sickness absence levels in each of the ONE pilot areas, compared to their relevant control areas. Please feel free to comment on the figures, discussing what they show.

    —  details of current ONE performance measures; whether these have changed during the lifetime of the pilots; and if so, the reasons why.

    —  information concerning the average times in practice taken in each ONE pilot area for the various stages of the process described:

      (a)  the time taken from reception to start-up interview (basic and PVS models);

      (b)  the time taken from initial telephone contact to call-back (call centre models);

      (c)  time taken for initial start-up meeting, broken down into JSA and non-JSA clients (basic and PVS models);

      (d)  time taken for call-back interview broken down into JSA and non-JSA clients (call centre models);

      (e)  time between start-up interview/call-back interview and first personal adviser meeting;

      (f)  time taken for first personal adviser meeting, broken down into JSA and non-JSA clients;.

      (g)  end-to end processing times for each of the benefits listed, in each of the ONE pilot areas and in each of the comparable control areas, together with the relevant target times: Income Support, Jobseekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Invalid Care Allowance, and Widowed Parent's Allowance and Bereavement Allowance.

  You may wish to comment on these figures. `Average time' can obviously be measured in various ways—the suggestion is that we look at the six month period since April 2001.

    —  details of the performance of the ONE pilots in relation to job placements, compared to their control areas—broken down into JSA and non-JSA clients. If you have not already done so, please give details of any job placement targets for JSA and non-JSA targets in each of the relevant areas.

  Please feel free to discuss the relevance or otherwise of job placement figures in relation to the ONE pilots.

    —  comparison of the number of crisis loan applications in the ONE pilot areas and in their applicable control areas, for April 1999; April 2000; and April 2001 since it has been suggested that crisis loan applications rose in some of the ONE pilot areas, as a result of delays in processing benefits.


  The conclusion of DWP In-house report 84 (Social Research Branch: Delivering a Work-focussed Service: Interim Findings from the ONE Case Studies and Staff Research) sets out 16 numbered suggestions for change. In respect of each numbered suggestion, please advise us what has been the Department's reaction and what follow-up action, if any, has been taken—both in relation to the ONE pilots and in relation to the Jobfinder Plus pathway offices.


  It would appear from the DWP Memorandum that the cost benefit analysis of the ONE pilots will not be published until the second half of 2002. Although we accept that the full picture will not be known until then, we would welcome your interim analysis on the first two years of the project.


  Paragraph 52 of the DWP memorandum says that the organisations involved in the PVS pilots are listed in Annex C. They are not. We are aware of the private sector contractors within the PVS models. Please advise on the various voluntary sector organisations which formed part of the PVS pilots.

  As you know, the Committee is expected to take oral evidence from DWP officials and the relevant Minister on 23 January. It would therefore be helpful to have this information in sufficient time to brief the Committee in advance—ideally by Friday 11 January.

  Thank you for your help in this matter.

Archy Kirkwood


27 November 2001

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