BOROUGH MP Andrew Miller has praised local Jobcentre Plus staff for their “magnificent” work in helping residents find employment.
He spoke in a House of Commons debate on work and pensions with Caroline Flint, Minister for Employment & Welfare Reform.
Mr Miller said: “May I congratulate staff in the Jobcentre Plus in Ellesmere Port and in Neston, particularly the regional manager Mark Wilson, who has done a magnificent job in dealing with the process of change and getting more people back to work in my constituency.
“Now we have a much smaller number of unemployed people, with a core group, some of whom are very difficult to place, will my Honourable Friend ensure the regional structures have sufficient flexibility to allow regional managers to plan to meet the needs of local communities, rather than a one-size-fits-all solution?”
Miss Flint thanked him for his “warm remarks” about the staff serving this region.
She added: “We are seeing huge improvements across the Jobcentre Plus service.
“Anybody who compared walking into a Jobcentre Plus establishment today with doing so 10 or 15 years ago could only comment on how professional, modern and user-friendly it is.
“Yes, we have looked to centralise benefit delivery services, because we want to make best use of technology and have better standards of best practice across the piece.
“That also allows us to consider how face-to-face interactions can better be served, whether in Jobcentre Plus, a children’s centre or a community centre.”
In the same debate, she answered another MP’s question about complaints made nationally against Jobcentre Plus in the past three years.
Miss Flint said: “There were 32,919 complaints in 2005-06, 43,214 in 2006-07, and 26,767 in the year to October 2007.
“Annually, Jobcentre Plus takes more than 15 million telephone calls, processes more than three million new claims and carries out more than 10 million interviews.
“In that context, complaints represent a small percentage, but we are not complacent and continually seek to improve services and, I hope, to learn from mistakes.”