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Diversity Impact Assessment Service Delivery Review – Brixton Hill Jobcentre, Southwark, & Wandsworth District The provisions of the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000, Disability Discrimination Act 2000 and the Equality Bill make it mandatory for all public authorities to assess all of their policies and functions. All proposed policies that are to be introduced or reviewed by public bodies must be screened for their relevance to the Race Equality Duty. The Duty states that public authorities must have ‘due regard’ to: Eliminate unlawful racial discrimination Eliminate sex discrimination Eliminate disability discrimination Promote equality of opportunity Promote good race relations between people from different racial groups A submission to the Minister has been put forward to consider closure of Brixton Hill Jobcentre in Lambeth, Southwark, & Wandsworth District. Ministerial permission has been given to consult with staff, TUS, stakeholders and customer representatives on the proposal to relocate services to nearby Jobcentres, and close this office. Background As a Pathfinder District, we developed our delivery model during 2002. The District has a comprehensive network of offices consisting of 10 Jobcentre Plus sites covering 3 boroughs. 9 out of the 10 sites were made over in 2003, with the spread of offices and services delivered having been developed against standards and business expectations in line with the early rollout model. Policy developments and changes to how we deliver our service have highlighted that offices made over earlier in the rollout programme needed to be reviewed taking account of the following factors: The development of a channels strategy featuring increased use of telephony and e-services for routine customer contact and services. An increased focus on providing support to those most disadvantaged in the labour market, through an individualised approach, delivered in partnership with the private and voluntary sector The requirement to achieve headcount reductions in line with the efficiency challenge Relocation of services into the National Contact Centre network Having 10 Jobcentres across the District has resulted in increased demand on sites in relation to the achievement of headcount efficiency, as funding earned is based on advisory and intervention activity. With a high number of sites to sustain, an increased slice of this allocation is required to fund office management and support roles. Brixton Hill Jobcentre Brixton Hill was made over in 2003, and opened in April 2003 as a Jobcentre Plus site. This is a relatively small office, situated in a residential area of Lambeth. The service is delivered over 3 floors, with no room for expansion. The site will earn a staff resource of 42 people for the operational year 2008/2009. Customers living in the Brixton Hill area currently visit Brixton Jobcentre to access services we do not have the capacity to deliver within Brixton Hill office, such as screened services, finance and social fund crisis loan applications, and some advisory appointments with the agreement of the customer. There are currently 5 Jobcentres serving the borough of Lambeth, with Brixton office being the closest - less than a mile away from Brixton Hill. From December 2007, with the introduction of Pathways to Work, Incapacity Benefit customers have had advisory support delivered by ‘Work Directions’ on behalf of Jobcentre Plus. Their service is from their premises within the Elephant & Castle shopping centre. Impact for customers Screening the proposed changes to our offices in Lambeth, and Southwark will assist in identifying if there may be Differential impact on certain groups If some groups may have special requirements Whether groups may have particular needs (example: because of disability)· If the policy may hinder equality of opportunity If the policy may promote equality of opportunity Customers now have a variety of methods to contact Jobcentre Plus, with enhancements to our telephony service meaning that customers requiring support with their benefit claims no longer needing to visit one of our offices in person. Customers can also access job vacancies via the internet, and by phone with jobseeker direct. Customers can now contact us by phone on a freephone 0800 number (a free textphone service is also available) to make a claim to benefit. Across all Jobcentres we are working to deliver a face to face service to meet our customer’s needs, ensuring that those people who find themselves in a vulnerable situation have access to appropriate support. Where customers are able to use / access self help or telephony channels to meet their needs, they are being encouraged to do so. This approach will ensure that vulnerable customer’s needs are met effectively. Those customers in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance are invited to attend our offices for fortnightly interventions. Customers in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance, and Lone Parents in receipt of Income support, also attend our offices for regular scheduled work focused interviews with advisors. Brixton Hill office serves a limited postcode area – SW2 – 1,2,5, & 9 (some streets only), and SE24 9. Geographically this is mainly the area running either side of the A23 Brixton Hill from Streatham Hill down to Brixton. The main wards contained within Brixton Hill’s catchment area are – Ward Tulse Hill Brixton Hill % of ward served by Brixton Hill Jobcentre 80% 63% Customers using the Jobcentre are claiming a range of benefits including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support and Incapacity Benefit. There are currently 15 customers on the Disability Employment Adviser’s (DEA) caseload who have a range of disabilities. The main health conditions identified have been mental health conditions, learning difficulties, and skeletal. Customers on the DEA caseload already see their adviser on a voluntary basis at Brixton, and this has presented no problems or concerns with any of the customers. Ethnicity composition of Brixton Hill JCP’s catchment area The catchment area of Brixton Hill Jobcentre Plus contains several large housing estates, notably the Tulse Hill Estate: also within its territory is HMP Brixton. In contrast, the area to the west of Brixton Hill is largely private residential, mostly 1930’s semi-detached housing and mansion flats. Ethnicity information is available from the 2001 Census by electoral ward rather than postal district: the catchment area broadly corresponds to the electoral wards of Brixton Hill and Tulse Hill. All of the catchment area is within the London Borough of Lambeth. Ethnicity: Combined Brixton Hill and Tulse Hill Wards. Brixton Hill Lambeth JCP (London catchment Borough) area Ethnic Group - Percentages; All People Count 25,577 266,169 London England 7,172,091 49,138,831 Ethnic Group - Percentages; White Ethnic Group - Percentages; White; British % % 60.71 47.32 62.38 49.57 71.15 59.79 90.92 86.99 Brixton Hill Lambeth JCP (London catchment Borough) area Ethnic Group - Percentages; White; Irish Ethnic Group - Percentages; White; Other White Ethnic Group - Percentages; Mixed Ethnic Group - Percentages; Mixed; White and Black Caribbean Ethnic Group - Percentages; Mixed; White and Black African1 Ethnic Group - Percentages; Mixed; White and Asian Ethnic Group - Percentages; Mixed; Other Mixed Ethnic Group - Percentages; Asian or Asian British Ethnic Group - Percentages; Asian or Asian British; Indian Ethnic Group - Percentages; Asian or Asian British; Pakistani Ethnic Group - Percentages; Asian or Asian British; Bangladeshi Ethnic Group - Percentages; Asian or Asian British; Other Asian Ethnic Group - Percentages; Black or Black British Ethnic Group - Percentages; Black or Black British; Caribbean Ethnic Group - Percentages; Black or Black British; African Ethnic Group - Percentages; Black or Black British; Other Black Ethnic Group - Percentages; Chinese or Other Ethnic Group Ethnic Group - Percentages; Chinese or Other Ethnic Group; Chinese Ethnic Group - Percentages; Chinese or Other Ethnic Group; Other Ethnic Group % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % 3.34 10.04 5.47 2.44 0.79 0.85 1.37 2.99 1.16 0.53 0.63 0.65 29.11 14.90 11.57 2.63 1.70 1.79 1.66 3.26 9.55 4.82 2.00 0.81 0.79 1.23 4.57 2.00 0.99 0.81 0.77 25.75 12.07 11.59 2.1 2.45 1.26 1.19 London England 3.07 8.29 3.15 0.99 0.48 0.84 0.85 12.08 6.09 1.99 2.15 1.86 10.92 4.79 5.28 0.84 2.69 1.12 1.58 1.27 2.66 1.31 0.47 0.16 0.37 0.31 4.58 2.09 1.44 0.56 0.48 2.30 1.14 0.97 0.19 0.89 0.45 0.44 The most significant characteristic of this area is its high population of black people of Caribbean origin, but it is not as high as in central Brixton: overall the ethnicity composition of the area is more akin to Streatham or Clapham. Faith composition The Census does not give effective data concerning religion at ward level because numbers for minority religions are so small: therefore the figures given below are for the whole of the Borough of Lambeth. We believe the faith composition of the borough as a whole is broadly representative of the Brixton Hill JCP catchment area. Religion Number Percentage Percentage (of total Lambeth England population of 266,169) 156558 61.58% 58.82% 2294 0.86% 0.28% Christianity Buddhist Hindu Jewish Muslim Sikh Other No religion Religion not stated 3388 1211 14344 425 1241 57751 28957 1.27% 0.45% 5.39% 0.16% 0.47% 21.70% 10.88% 1.11% 0.52% 3.10% 0.67% 0.29% 14.59% 7.69% Working Age population Data concerning the benefits currently being claimed in the area is available from the NOMIS Labour Market Statistics website and is more recent than the census information: the data in Annex 1 is from May 2007. Though it is not the latest information it does clearly demonstrate an important characteristic of this area: there are high numbers of people who are dependent on benefits when compared to the rest of the Borough. For JSA claims only more accurate figures are available from the internal Performance Management Framework Datastore. The latest (June 2008) claim count for Brixton Hill Jobcentre Plus is 1,110. Within the Brixton Hill office there are 46 staff, of whom 9 work part time, and 5 staff have declared that they have a disability. Although we do not have current ethnicity data concerning staff, we do not consider this to contribute to an adverse impact as our actions through the consultation exercise, and individual approach to considering specific staff issues, will ensure that these factors are taken into consideration. Consultation On 3 March 2008 we wrote to external stakeholders, staff and Trade Union side, outlining a proposal to consult on the closure of the Brixton Hill office, with the services currently delivered from this office to be delivered from Brixton Jobcentre Plus. The rationale for this change being – Brixton Hill Jobcentre Plus being one of 5 offices serving 1 borough, with the Brixton office being a 5-10 minute walk away, and in the main shopping area. Brixton Jobcentre Plus, which is a well established office able to provide a wider range of services to customers, already serves customers living within the wards in this area. Given the comprehensive transport network, and close proximity of alternative offices, customers needing to visit one of our offices live within easy reach of Brixton. The number of customers regularly needing to visit Brixton Hill office are 1,110 Jobseekers to sign once a fortnight, and since 2004 the office has seen a 35% reduction in the number of customer registered as unemployed. With the introduction of Pathways to Work in December 2007, Incapacity Benefit customers already have ongoing advisory support delivered outside of our network by ‘Work Directions’ from their premises at Elephant & Castle. Customers now have a variety of methods to contact Jobcentre Plus, with improvements to our telephony service meaning that customer requiring support with their benefit claims no longer needing to visit one of our offices in person. Customers living in the Brixton Hill area already visit the Brixton office to access services we do not have the capacity within the Brixton Hill office to deliver: for example to access finance services where a benefit payment or crisis loan application is required. Customers with disabilities have already on a voluntary basis visited Brixton Jobcentre Plus regularly for advisory appointments with our Disability Employment Advisor. We do not have any option to expand the space available to us at Brixton Hill to make it more viable. Any reduction to the number of offices we operate from will provide a financial saving for the taxpayer in terms of estates costs, but will not lead to a reduction in the number of advisers we have to serve our customers, as staff will transfer to the Brixton office. Although Brixton Hill office has Brixton Prison within its catchment area, the provision of specialist outreach advisers within the prison has meant that their welfare needs on release are already catered for without the need to visit Brixton Hill office. Overall, proceeding with the closure of Brixton Hill office will mean that customers will be able to access the full range of our services from one office, rather than having to travel to different offices as they do now. The Senior Operations Manager has met with staff on three occasions during the consultation period, to ensure that staff have had the opportunity to put their views forward. Issues raised have fallen into two main areas – personal impact on where their job role would relocate to and what impact that would have on their current travel arrangements, and the impact to local customers, who will have to go to Brixton. On the closure of Brixton Hill Jobcentre Plus, staff would in the main move to Brixton along with the flow of customers. Staff would be asked to participate in a preference exercise to ensure that all personal factors were taken into account. As any changes to the network would mean no reduction in staff, all staff within the exercise would have the opportunity to relocate to an office less than one mile away from Brixton Hill. Adhering to our existing workforce planning policies and procedures will ensure that any potential for adverse effects across the entire workforce are mitigated. Staff have been encouraged to participate in a site working group looking at the proposal, and this forum will be utilises to ensure that staff are fully involved within the planning process to merge the two offices. The external consultation exercise has been taken forward by writing to key external partners including the local authority chief executive, and councillors, local customer representatives - welfare rights, CAB’s, social services, MP’s, connexions. A total of 90 letters were sent. Face to face meetings were held with the local MP, Local Authority Chief Executive, and CAB/ Welfare Rights representatives. No concerns have been raised by external partners or customer representatives in relation to our proposal to close Brixton Hill. Conclusion In view of the information available it is not thought that either customers or staff will be unduly or adversely affected by this change, or that the change could discriminate unlawfully on the grounds of race, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation or religious belief. Customers currently serviced by this office will have the same opportunities and services as customers throughout Lambeth, Southwark, and Wandsworth District. It is concluded that a full impact assessment is not required in respect of this change. Annex 1: Working Age population of the area served by Brixton Hill Jobcentre Plus Ward Name Working Age Population Total Claimants Total Claimants as % of Working Age Population Unemplo yed Claim ants Unemploy ed Claimants as % of Working Age Population 4.2% 6.1% Incapacity Benefit Claimants Incapacity Benefit Claimants as % of Working Age Population 7.9% 8.3% Lone Parents Lone Parents as % of Working Age Population Other incomerelated benefits Other incomerelated benefits as % of Working Age Population 0.9% 0.9% Brixton Hill Tulse Hill Brixton Hill JCP Wards Totals Lambeth Borough Totals Southwark Borough Totals Wandsworth Borough Totals LSW District Totals 8988 8998 1685 2125 18.7% 23.6% 380 545 715 745 380 610 4.2% 6.8% 80 80 17986 3810 21.2% 925 5.1% 1460 8.1% 990 5.5% 160 0.9% 195,500 33,710 17.2% 8050 4.1% 13,820 7.1% 8020 4.1% 1400 0.7% 190,900 32,270 16.9% 7180 3.8% 13,610 7.1% 7500 3.9% 1270 0.7% 204,400 21,300 10.4% 4200 2.1% 9520 4.7% 4470 2.2% 850 0.4% 590,800 87,280 14.77 19,430 3.3% 36,950 6.25 19,990 3.38 3,520 0.60 Key: Pink = Above Borough average, Green = Below Borough average. The catchment area of Brixton Hill Jobcentre Plus corresponds closely, but not exactly, with the boundaries of the two electoral wards of Brixton Hill and Tulse Hill.
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