Headlines: December 10th, 2001

Job Center Plus the new integrated jobs and benefits offices being piloted at the moment are facing another major challenge in addition to the current wave of strikes. A key aim of the new Agency, known as ONE, is to move the focus away from benefit claims and towards finding jobs. Surveys carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions reveals that customers still perceive the integrated office as the place where benefits are claimed.The surveys found that 30% of job seekers and 73% of lone parents did not discuss way of finding jobs when the visited the centers. The evidence of the surveys suggests that ONE approach to jobs and benefits has not had any effect on the probability of jobseekers, sick or disabled clients leaving benefit.

ONE brings together the Employment Service, the Benefits Agency and Local Authorities to deliver a more integrated benefit service, providing clients claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, lone parents, people who are sick or disabled, widows and carers with a single point of entry to the benefit system. New and repeat benefit claimants are allocated a Personal Adviser, with the aim of offering clients a work-focused service, tailored to meeting individuals’ needs. The ONE service was introduced in 1999 in12 pilot areas in Great Britain. The three different models for delivering ONE being piloted are a Basic Model, a Call Centre and a Private/Voluntary Sector Model.