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After asking Job Centre Plus for valid reasons for their review of their operation in Chapeltown and receiving a response which she feels did not sufficiently make the case for closure, Angela has informed Job Centre Plus she will be opposing any attempt at closing the facility.
The Jobcentre is housed in Sheffield City Council’s ‘First Point’ facility in Chambers Court, Chapeltown. The facility not only gives help to benefit claimants but also assistance with Council Tax and Housing benefits enquiries. It also offers help with housing services, parking badges for people with disabilities and many other council -related problems.
In the response given to Angela, Jobcentre Plus state that they intend to move many of the functions carried out by Chapeltown to Hillsborough and that many people can access Jobcentre Plus services by phone.
This Angela feels would not adequately protect some of the most vulnerable groups in the Chapeltown area and does not take into account that for many people the Hillsborough office can be two bus rides away and a difficult place to reach, with Bailey Court in Sheffield even further away.
Commenting Angela said, “The response I have received from Jobcentre Plus does not in my view give adequate reasons why Chambers Court should close. It completely misses the point that Chapeltown and the surrounding area is a distinct community. Looking at their own figures, Jobcentre Plus in Chapeltown looks after a significant number of people. To force these people to travel in some cases 10 to 15 miles for Jobcentre Plus services is unacceptable. I am already due meet union representatives over this proposal and I am now seeking an urgent meeting with senior officials to highlight my concerns.”

Issued : 23 June 2008

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