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Published on 1 July 2016

The future of Jobcentre Plus: digitalisation and work coaches

In written evidence to the House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee, LITRG draws on its experience of representing the interests of the digitally excluded population and of the very smallest businesses in consultations with HMRC.

The future of Jobcentre Plus: digitalisation and work coaches ©Shutterstock/Leifstiller

For a number of years we have urged HMRC, in its move to digital by default, to ensure that reasonable and necessary adjustments are in place for those who cannot use computers or access the internet. In our evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee, we make recommendations as to how the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can best assist those who are unable to claim online, and those for whom alternative channels should remain open.

We also look at how the self-employed claimant will be dealt with under universal credit, and whether work coaches in jobcentres will be able to discharge the task assigned to them of deciding whether claimants who come before them are in ‘gainful’ self-employment, bearing in mind the DWP has no previous experience of paying in-work benefit to the self-employed. Among our recommendations are that work coaches should be given experience in the small business world, particularly in atypical businesses such as farming, tourism and others where profits fluctuate, and that the DWP should consult widely with HMRC and with external specialist organisations when formulating guidance.

The Work and Pensions Committee inquiry page can be found here.

LITRG’s comments can be found 


Robin Williamson

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