MPs split on job centre reforms

CENTRE REFORMS Jobcentre Plus needs "major reform" to help jobseekers back into work, it has been claimed.
CENTRE REFORMS Jobcentre Plus needs "major reform" to help jobseekers back into work, it has been claimed.
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Jobcentre Plus needs “major reform” to help people back into work, it has been claimed.

A report by think-tank the Centre for Social Justice has criticised centres for providing an “impersonal service” that focuses primarily on on processing benefits payments.

Job centres also need increased work with the private and voluntary sectors, the report claims.

The study calls for the government to allow third sector and private providers to compete with Jobcentre Plus in a bid to increase diversity.

But local MPs are split on whether allowing the private and voluntary sectors to provide back-to-work support would be beneficial.

Dewsbury MP Simon Reevell (Con) said: “If you have got a good local charity with good connections into business that can do more, I don’t see a problem with that.

“Some of these other groups can be more efficient and much more flexible.”

He added that charities offering back-to-work support should only be paid when they produce results.

However Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood (Lab) said that “privatising Jobcentres” would not help.

He said: “Getting the economy growing and helping businesses expand so they can employee more staff is the only way forward.

“Taking steps to create work would be far more effective than yet another privatisation programme that would cause job cuts!”

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said centre managers tailor support offered to jobseekers depending on need, often using voluntary organisations to help specific groups such as disabled people.