Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Department for Work and Pensions (OP 08C)
1. This supplementary memorandum has been
prepared for the Work and Pensions Select Committee for their
inquiry: ONE Pilots: Lessons for Jobcentre Plus. It provides the
Committee with information requested following the appearance
of Rt Hon Nick Brown, Minister of State for Work, Mr Leigh Lewis,
Chief Executive, Jobcentre Plus, and Mr David Stanton, Director
of Analytical Services and Chief Economist, Department for Work
and Pensions, at the oral evidence hearing on 23 January 2002.
2. It was agreed that the Department would
provide further information for the Committee on the number of
incidents in Employment Service and Benefits Agency offices over
a period long enough to be statistically valid; advise whether
the Yorkshire Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices' computers are
secured to their desks; and provide information on the treatment
of ethnic minority clients by personal advisers.
ITEM 1: INCIDENTS
3. There is no clear evidence from the Benefits
Agency and the Employment Service figures of any general increase
in the level of violence in offices.
4. The increase in the number of reported
incidents in 2000 can be attributed to awareness raising activities
with Benefits Agency and Employment Service staff about the importance
of reporting incidents and to a poster issued by the PCS Union
advising staff that all incidents of customer aggression should
5. The increase in incidents in Benefits
Agency offices of 44 per cent between 1999 and 2000 is consistent
with increased reporting following the awareness campaign in July
|Year||Number of staff reporting a physical incidents
||Number of staff reporting a non- physical incidents
||Total number of reports received (2)
||Total number of incidents occurring (3)
(1) Information to date. These figures are based on the reports
so far received, other incidents may have occurred but may not
yet have been reported.
(2) This figure represents the number of individual reports
(3) This figure relates to the number of individual incidents
that have occurred. This number is lower than the number of reports
as several individuals can report the same incident if they feel
that they have been a victim of it.
(4) Benefits Agency figures do not make any distinction between
incidents and reports in the way the Employment Service do.
(5) A new more comprehensive form for recording physical
assaults was introduced in the Benefits Agency in April 1999.
Figures in this memorandum update those provided to Parliament
(6) The figures shown for the Employment Service for 1999
record the number of incidents that occurred between April and
December. Prior to that the information was collated on a separate
basis which did not provide data in compatible categories. During
the period January to March 1999, 1,115 reports were filed and
1,106 incidents occurred but these figures include "other"
incidents between clients where no staff were involved.
(7) The 2000 figures for the Employment Service have been
amended from previous figures supplied to Parliament. This is
because there were some duplicate entries and owing to the fact
that incidents may be entered anytime up to 9 months later.
ITEM 2: RISK
6. We can confirm that all recommendations made as a
result of the risk assessment of the offices in the pathfinder
cluster were implemented before the offices opened to the public
on 22 October 2001. All computers had been fitted with their restraining
"straps" before the offices opened. Computers are not
bolted to desks because of the need to turn monitors to allow
customers to view the screen. The straps that are fitted do, however,
prevent computers being picked up and thrown.
ITEM 3: TREATMENT
7. Ethnic minority clients were generally less likely
to find work than white clients. But there was no evidence to
suggest that outcomes for ethnic minority clients were worse in
ONE pilot areas than they were in ONE control areas.
8. Differences were found between white and ethnic minority
clients in terms of the nature of the service received through
ONE. These are reflected in DWP Research Report no. 156 "Short
term effects of compulsory participation in ONE" published
in December 2001. A summary of the evaluation findings from the
report is provided in Annex A.
9. We will take these findings and further evaluation
into account when considering the approach by personal advisers
in Jobcentre Plus.