The briefing summarises the results of the Work and Pensions Committee’s (WPC) recent inquiry into Jobcentre Plus. The WPC’s report focuses in particular on the role of Jobcentre Plus (JCP) in the context of welfare reform and new roles and responsibilities for JCP which are progressing in parallel with resource reduction as a consequence of spending cuts. There is also an update on progress in the transition to Universal Credit, which is now running behind schedule. Also examined is provision for vulnerable people, the impact of the benefit cap, changes to the Social Fund, the increasing use of sanctions, and the balance between compliance and support in JCP operations. Considerable attention is paid to local partnerships in welfare reform. A lot of evidence for the inquiry was provided by local authorities and local government representative organisations. The WPC recommended that the DWP produce a framework for the provision of local support services that will allow local authorities to make budgeting decisions and commission services for 2015-16. This briefing will be of interest to members and officers in all types of local authority with an interest in welfare reform, employment services, and poverty reduction.
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