Headlines: June 7th, 1999

More than 20,000 people have found jobs using the new telephone jobseekers service, Employment Service Direct. Since the launch in January 1999 it has been refined by putting callers directly in contact with employers by phone. Jobseekers calling the service on 0845 6060239 receive details of either local or nationwide jobs. The database contains 300,000 vacancies.

The benefits of the system are that employers fill vacancies quickly and jobseekers do not have to visit one of the 1000 job centres, nor do they have to stand in the queue when they get there.

Using call centres to deliver public services is set to grow. NHS Direct, which is proving increasingly popular, was launched in March 1998 and will cover 60% of the UK by the end of 1999. In autumn 1999 pilot ONE call centres will be launched. They will give a single gateway to employment, training opportunities and benefits available to those who lose their jobs. The experience gained in developing Employment Service Direct will feed into the ONE pilots.