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Review of JobCentre Plus urged

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The Government needs to fundamentally review the operations of JobCentre Plus in the wake of the deepening recession, a thinktank has recommended.

As the UK jobless total hit 2.22 million - with the biggest quarterly rise since 1981 - the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) said JobCentre Plus’ dual roles of helping people to find work and administering benefits were contradictory.

Sarah Longlands, director of policy at CLES said that the benefits link undermined the chances of staff developing a trusting relationship with claimants that could help them find suitable work.

She said recent research suggested a national benefits administration system should be developed, with the creation of separate sub-regional employment brokers building on existing local good practice.

“With the number of people out of work reaching 2.22 million, and the consequent demand for employment services, now is an opportune time to strengthen the delivery of individualised and personalised support in order to pre-empt a new generation of worklessness in the future,” Ms Longlands said.

“In CLES’ view, in its present form, JobCentre Plus is simply not up to this challenge.”

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