To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether his Department plans to assess the effect of closing Willesden and Kilburn Job Centre Plus in Brent; and if he will make a statement.
3 April 2018
In March 2018, the 20-year contract covering the majority of DWPs current estate of over 900 sites came to an end. This presented an opportunity to re-evaluate what we needed from our estate. The increased use of our online services in recent years, coupled with reductions in unemployment and improved efficiency, meant that 20% of the rent being paid by DWP was going toward space we were not using. In response, we have sought to redesign our estate in a way that delivers value for the taxpayer. We would stress that this is not about reducing services, but about taking the opportunity to stop spending money on empty space so we can spend more on supporting those in need.
The face-to-face support our work coaches offer at jobcentres will continue to be a core part of the service we deliver. The Department has a number of co-located colleagues working to support the community in Brent. These include:
- Troubled families advisers co-located within Brent Local Authority alongside social workers, providing employment and skills support.
- Work coaches working with the care leaver team within Brent Local Authority providing employment and skills support to care leavers, including appropriate access to relevant benefits.
- A Work Coach providing employment and skills support on an outreach basis in St. Raphael’s Estate in Brent. This is one of the most deprived estates in the borough. The Work Coach is based in the community hub alongside other local authority service providers.
DWP will also explore with Brent Local Authority jointly funding an employment team to deliver employment advice and guidance through community hubs, which will be located in Willesden, Kilburn, Harlesden and St. Raphael’s Estate. DWP will provide employment and skills support alongside the Employment Team managed by the council, with the aim of having a more holistic support offer working in partnership with Housing, Health and Financial Inclusion advice and support.