To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the oral contribution by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 15 June 2021, House of Lords, Official Report, column 1765, if she will provide the (a) locations and (b) DWP districts of the job centres that have an Armed Forces Champion supporting veterans seeking employment.
19 July 2021
For the first time there will be a dedicated armed forces role at middle management level in each of the 11 Jobcentre Plus Groups. The 11 group leads are forming a virtual network and will be responsible for building capability and sharing best practice across the network. They will also be pro-active in liaising with the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force on both recruitment and resettlement.
These Armed Forces Champions Leads will oversee 50 Armed Forces Champions across the Jobcentre Plus network (including at least one in each of the 37 Jobcentre Plus Districts), who will have specific responsibilities for supporting members of the Armed Forces Community as part of their job. Again, for the first time, this involves a front line role personally handling some claims, supporting veterans into work and helping resolve complex cases where necessary. Their specific jobcentre location is not a factor in their ability to deliver this service as their responsibilities are district wide.
Recruitment to these roles is largely complete and the Department expects all of the roles to be filled by the end of July. All of the 11 Leads are in post and all Armed Forces Champions will be in each district by the end of July. Currently 48 have been appointed across 35 Districts, with the final two to be in post by the end of the month.
There are also many staff across the DWP network based in individual Jobcentre offices who will be the local ‘expert’ on Armed Forces issues, and the Department is continually working to build capability across the Jobcentre Plus network.