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Employment Service uses technology for better service


The Employment Service is moving further toward using the latest information and communications technology – a world away from the enduring image of the long queues and large boxes of cards of the old employment exchange. The Employment Service Operational Plan published yesterday highlights the success of its modernisation programme and the creation of Jobcentre Plus – the new service for people of working age.

In his forward to the Plan, Chief Executive of the Employment Service, Leigh Lewis says; “This will be a year of challenge and change, but also of tremendous opportunity. We will extend and improve the range of services provided by the Government’s welfare to work strategy, and forge ahead with our investments in technology.”

The Operational Plan outlines the Employment Service’s ambitious modernisation programme – a series of initiatives aimed at streamlining its service to jobseekers and employers. For example, as well as every vacancy being available to anyone through the Internet, the old job vacancy boards – one of the most enduring images of Jobcentres – are being replaced by easy-to-use, touch-screen kiosks known as Jobpoints. As a result jobseekers will be able to access up-to-date vacancy information, not just for their local area, but for any part of Britain.

Set to be launched later this year, another new service, Employer Direct, will provide a single national telephone number for employers to have their vacancies advertised on the Internet, on every Jobpoint and in over 1,000 Jobcentres throughout Britain. Currently, employers have to contact their local Jobcentres to place vacancies. However, with the trend towards an ever-changing and increasingly competitive labour market, the ability for any employer to place their vacancies through a single national number will provide them with access to a far better and more efficient service.

The Employment Services’ modernisation programme also coincides with the creation of ‘Jobcentre Plus’, the new agency that will bring together under one roof the Employment Service and the parts of the Benefits Agency which provide services for people of working age.

Leigh Lewis was recently appointed Chief Executive Designate of Jobcentre Plus.

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