Jobcentre Plus: Armed Forces

(asked on 17th May 2021) - View Source

Question to the Department for Work and Pensions:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Department for Work and Pensions Armed Forces Champions there are (1) in total, (2) on Jobcentre sites, and (3) in Jobcentre plus districts.

This question was answered on 2nd June 2021

The Department remains committed to the Armed Forces Covenant and will do what is necessary to provide members of the Armed Forces Community with the help and support they need and deserve.

It wants to move towards a situation where it helps serving veterans and others in a more intelligent and effective way and better matches available resources with demand.

The Department started to put in place new arrangements in April to transform the way it supports members of the Armed Forces Community, building on the successful network of Armed Forces Champions.

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 will form a virtual network and will be responsible for building capability and sharing best practice across the network. They will also be expected to 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 – and again for the first time this will involve a front line role personally handling some claims, supporting veterans into work and helping resolve complex cases where necessary.

Recruitment to these roles is largely complete and the Department expects all of the roles to be filled within the next few weeks. All of the Leads have been appointed, with most in post already. Armed Forces Champions have been appointed in 34 Districts so far.

Officials in the Department have discussed the new model with a number of Armed Forces stakeholders, and so far it has been very well received.

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. It has also recently introduced an Armed Forces “identifier” on to the Universal Credit system which will help ensure that veterans and serving personnel making new claims to Universal Credit are given the help and support they need.

These dedicated Armed Forces roles will complement the investment in recruiting an additional 13,500 Work Coaches overall (and every Work Coach receives appropriate training to support members of the Armed Forces Community), as well as investing billions of pounds in employment support schemes (such as Kickstart and JETS). And this will come on top of the other support already in place. For example, veterans are given early voluntary entry to the Work and Health Programme. And using Service Medical Board evidence where possible, a severely disabled person does not have to undergo additional examinations for Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit purposes.

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