Latest Public Sector News

13.02.13

Job centres must track claimants moving off benefits

Moving claimants of jobseekers’ allowance away from benefits does not always result in a supported move to work, the National Audit Office (NAO) has warned in a new report.

In 40% of cases, the reason for a claimant moving “off-flow” is not recorded, which means that these people could be on other benefits, in prison or off benefits but remain out of work.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) must work to reduce variation in caseload for job centre workers to achieve further efficiency gains, the report recommends.

A broader evaluation of new approaches and improved performance measures could allow flexibility to lead to greater efficiencies.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: “The jobcentre network is a well-established operation and has shown its capacity to maintain services during a downturn. The Department can handle changes without major problems in performance or escalating costs. This represents value for money.

“The Department must, however, improve how it understands performance, if it is to support claimants effectively. Simply measuring how many people end their claims for benefits does not reveal the true impact of jobcentre services.”

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