Your ref: XX/XXXXXXXXX/XXXXXXXX
Our ref: POS(2)11195/XX
Sheila Gilmore MP
28 November 2011
Thank you for your letter of 15 November to the Secretary of State on behalf of
XXXXXXXXXXXX regarding help and support available to people over 50 to
find employment. I am replying as the Minister for Employment.
Jobcentre Plus offers a range of programmes and support to help people of all
ages find employment. Currently, the range of support is supplemented by
some additional measures to help older people who are struggling to find work
because of the recession. People over 50 who feel that their age is preventing
a swift return to work can have earlier access to more intensive help from
advisers where needed. We have delivered new training for advisers which
helps them to understand more about the value of keeping older people in
work and how to give better help. Jobcentre Plus also identifies professional
and executive jobseekers who need help with jobsearch and will signpost them
to specialist recruitment agencies when appropriate.
We have announced plans for radical reforms of the welfare to work system
which will begin with the introduction of the Work Programme. People out of
work and claiming benefits, including older people, will have access to a fully
integrated and coherent system of back to work support for the first time. The
Work Programme will be personalised, with the support supplied being
determined by front line providers based on the needs of individuals.
Jobcentre Plus will provide personalised support to customers before they join
the Work Programme, through additional options which include regular face-to-
face meetings and flexible support from advisers. Most customers will receive
this help for 12 months, though some may move on to the Work Programme
Work Programme providers are free to design support based on individual and
local need and will be paid primarily for supporting claimants into employment
and helping them stay there for longer than ever before, with higher payments
for supporting the hardest to help. For the first time providers will be paid partly
out of the benefit savings they help to realise when they support claimants into
sustained employment, tying what the Department pays them to what they are
being paid for. The Work Programme is now in place nationally.
The Employment pages of the government website www.direct.gov.uk provide
practical advice about applying for work. The Pensions and Retirement
Planning pages have information for older people about looking for work. You
may also find the websites for The Age and Employment Network
(www.taen.org.uk) and the Third Age Foundation (www.thirdage.org.uk)
helpful. Though neither provides a job brokering service, you may find their
employment information and advice of help.
XXXXXXXX’s comments relating to Working Tax Credits are a matter for HM
Revenue and Customs. I am therefore copying your correspondence to that
Department so that Ministerial colleagues there are aware of these concerns
and can look into them.
I hope this is helpful to XXXXXXX.
With best wishes,
Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP
Minister for Employment