Headlines: March 17th, 2000

The Employment Service and Benefits Agency are being joined together after the successful pilot of the ONE project.The new single body will deliver both benefits and support in finding work.

It’s been promised that the new agency will be funded to carry the latest technology and will continue the practice of being located in accessible parts of town centres throughout the country.

Information on job vacancies, training, services and benefits as well as childcare will all be available at the touch of a button.

The focus is very much on return to work, with benefits used as a means of supporting that return. Even those who are not able to work will be steered towards maximum independence.

The Prime Minister told Parliament:”The new agency will have a new culture and will be firmly focused on helping people to become independent.”

Design and development of the new agency will be the joint responsibility of the Secretaries of State for Education and Employment and Social Security.

A start date has been set for as soon as possible in 2001.

The ONE project piloted the one stop shop idea now being rolled out nationally. Other ideas tested out in the Employment Action Zones will also be incorporated.