Run by the Department for Work and Pensions, Jobcentre Plus is a brand used by UK Government to deal with the day-to-day administration of various benefits, but is mainly linked to Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
Following its predecessor Labour Exchanges – the brainchild of Winston Churchill – the Jobcentre first started to be used as the official title of the government back-to-work scheme in the 1970s, and became a symbol of the recession and job losses during Margaret Thatcher’s reign. However, despite the negative connotations that it may have to some, the Jobcentre has consistently played a vital role in society by helping the unemployed get back into work, as well as helping make ends meet for those without employment.
With an increasing amount of people being hit by the austerity measures put in place by the new government, Jobcentres have an important role to play in the wellbeing of some of the most vulnerable in society. For most, their interaction with their local Jobcentre Plus will be limited to signing on once a fortnight – however, they also run training schemes, have their own internal vacancy listings and are able to provide tips on how to improve searches for jobs.
Currently, it is estimated that there are around 1 million Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants, each of which will have to deal with the Jobcentre around once a fortnight, depending on their circumstances.