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Lisa Barraclough, Department of Work & Pensions

I can’t believe that it’s already February; time passes so quickly.  I personally cannot wait for those lighter nights as it will hopefully encourage me to venture outside and undertake some exercise. This also allows me the opportunity to talk to my neighbours and strangers in the street, just a smile and hello can make the world of difference and open supportive conversations.

With that in mind providing access to a Mental Health First Aider (MHFA) for all Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) colleagues is important to me and DWP. I put myself forward for MHFA training and completed the course in September 2021, this allows me to offer immediate support to others experiencing mental ill health or emotional distress. I am incredibly proud of my role not only am I assuring people have access to the right support whenever needed, we are raising the level of discussion about mental health – crucial to tackling stigma.

My role as advanced customer support senior leader for Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire is integral to DWP’s reach across communities, to underpin strong relationships with other organisations that can provide support for our customers. Whilst DWP does not have a statutory duty of care, we recognise the positive impact a joined-up approach to safeguarding can have where there are concerns for the wellbeing of a person who is claiming benefits or using DWP services. The department is working to better understand how we can provide greater support for our most vulnerable customers, across all product lines and services.

As advanced customer support senior leader, my responsibilities include:

  • Representing DWP at local authority Safeguarding Adult Reviews in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire to take account of any individual customer’s experiences during their DWP claimant journey
  • Providing support, guidance and coaching to DWP colleagues in my area, enabling us to deliver a consistent service for customers who require additional support across all product lines
  • Actively participating in multi-agency boards and working with local agencies to ensure all stakeholders are clear about DWP’s role and accountabilities and how we support vulnerable customers

The department is keen to continue to learn from partner organisations, and I would welcome the opportunity to examine and discuss how we can work collaboratively with you and your wider team to support our most vulnerable customers.

Impact of unemployment

We know that the longer someone is out of work the harder it is to find, compete for, and secure a job. We must do everything we can to avoid the damaging impact long term unemployment can have on people’s prospects, household incomes, health, and wellbeing, and on our local communities and economies as we know them.

Way to Work: Helping 500,000 people into work.

Way to Work is a new partnership between government and employers to get 500,000 jobseekers into work by the end of June 2022.

This partnership will help fill record numbers of vacancies, supporting job-ready people into the labour market and helping them progress into a career.

Whether you’re a jobseeker finding your way back into work, or an employer who’s looking for a way to get the right person to help their business, Jobcentre Plus and Way to Work can help.

Way to Work for Jobseekers

There are 1.2 million vacancies to fill, so there are lots of opportunities, many of which need no prior experience.

Work coaches will now offer increased dedicated face-to-face time for jobseekers, and this tailored support will significantly improve your chances of finding work.

This will be backed up by a focus on taking a job within the first four weeks of your claim, which will help prevent you ending up out of work for a prolonged period.

Best wishes

Lisa Barraclough
15 February 2022