Jim McGovern describes Scotland Office meeting as ‘informative and productive’    

16 January 2013

Jim McGovern, MP for Dundee West, has described a meeting today in the Scotland Office with Parliamentary Under-Secretary David Mundell MP, Department for Work and Pensions officials and representatives of private sector Work Programme providers as ‘informative and productive’.

The meeting comes after it was revealed in November 2012 that Dundee was the worst performing area of the country for the government’s flagship Work Programme, which aims to get long term unemployed back to work.

Official statistics for the programme’s first year revealed that only 1.4% of participants successfully went back into work through the programme.

The meeting was attended by officials from the Department of Work and Pensions based in London and Scotland, as well as from Job Centre Plus in the city, representatives from the three companies (Triage, Working Links and Ingeus) that undertake the Work Programme on the government’s behalf as well as Scotland Office Minister David Mundell.

The group discussed some of the challenges they faced in Dundee, including a higher than average number of jobseekers being placed on the program, a tough job market and a difficult underlying local economic situation as well as initial problems co-ordinating efforts between organisations.

All agreed that they felt confident improvements would be seen the next time statistics are released.

The issue of Remploy was also raised, with Department for Work and Pensions representatives assuring Mr McGovern that workers left redundant by the government’s decision to close the factory would be supported by local Job Centre services.

David Mundell also promised to visit Dundee’s Work Programme providers, alongside Mr McGovern, to see the progress that was being made to improve the situation, in the near future.

Jim McGovern said,

“I am pleased this meeting went ahead, our discussion was informative and productive.

“It is clear there were major issues with implementing the government’s programme that ought to have been considered before it was rolled out.

“Accounting for the large volumes of participants and the affects the local economy would have on the programme was entirely foreseeable, and the people of Dundee deserved to see a high quality of service from the very beginning.”

Mr McGovern concluded, 

“I will be keeping a close eye on the situation as it develops.

“The confidence expressed by officials and the private companies is encouraging, but this will have to be borne out by results in the coming months.

“I also look forward to inviting the minister to Dundee to carry efforts to improve this situation.”

 

 

 

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