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Jobcentre phone line is ‘not working correctly’

Sunday 18th August 2013 (Andrew Griffiths)

A PHONE line connecting Uttoxeter residents looking for work to a vital Government service it ‘not working correctly’, the town’s MP has said.

Andrew Griffiths contacted the Advertiser after he was informed the free of charge community outreach phone, based at Uttoxeter Library, in High Street, was not connecting the callers to the right department.

The phone is vital for Uttoxeter job seekers as it puts them in direct contact with the Government department they need to speak to about their benefits or help with job searches without them incurring an increase in their phone bills.

Mr Griffiths said he is now doing all he can to make sure the phone is once again working correctly after he was made aware of the on-going problem.

He said: “I have been contacted by one of the volunteer advisors from the CAB who works in Uttoxeter Library about the free of charge community outreach phone in the library to the Jobcentre not working correctly, and not connecting callers to the correct departments.

“I understand that it has been in this state for some time, with nothing being done to fix it, and it has meant that people who need to speak to the Jobcentre about their benefits have not been able to do so.

“Once this was brought to my attention, I wrote to the manager of the Jobcentre Plus, to try and remedy the problem.

“I am currently awaiting her response but I am keen to get this sorted out to ensure that anyone in Uttoxeter who needs to talk to the Jobcentre about their benefits is able to easily access the assistance that they need.”

A spokesman for Staffordshire County Council, which is responsible for services in Uttoxeter Library, said the library staff were aware of the problem with the job seekers phone line.

Although it is the Jobcentre Plus that is responsible for the phone as they rent out the space in the library.

However, a spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions, which is responsible for Jobcentre Plus, denied there was any problem with the service.

He said: “The phone in the library does still work to call our Department of Work and Pensions service lines but does not allow claimants to make calls to numbers that are not pre-programmed into the handset.

“Jobcentre Plus advisors allow claimants to use the landlines on their desks to make calls to numbers not pre-programmed in the phone if appropriate.”

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