What is Jobcentre?
Jobcentre is a British group designed to help people to get benefits or jobs. Although the latest incarnation of it is called Jobcentre Plus, it has gone by several names.
The Early History of Jobcentre
The Jobcentre Plus group as it exists today stemmed from employment problems that started out in Great Britain back in 1908. Around that time, Baron William Henry Beveridge was trying to institute some social reforms, especially relating to unemployment assistance.
He was asked by the leaders of the time to study Labour Exchanges, which first opened their doors in 1910.
Labour Exchanges were centrally located buildings in cities and towns. They were places where employers could advertise work and individuals could apply for work. Labour Exchanges also offered unemployment benefits for individuals who had contributed at least a certain minimum amount to National Insurance.
The 1918 Changes
Those paying into the National Insurance fund only worked in a few specific industries. So, unemployment benefits were not widely available to the general public. However, in 1918 the program that would later become Jobcentre and Jobcentre Plus expanded. It then started to cover those who were ex-service members or used to work in the waning war-related industries in Great Britain.
The National Assistance Act and Original Jobcentres
The National Assistance Act was passed in 1946. That act finally allowed people to apply for unemployment benefits, regardless of whether or not they were ex-service members or had paid money towards National Insurance. That system stayed more or less the same until Labour Exchanges were reworked into Jobcentres in 1990.
When Jobcentres were originally created, they were only places to go to seek employment. Individuals could not collect benefits at Jobcentres. For that the individuals had to go to benefits offices.
The Creation of Jobcentre Plus
Finally, in 2002, benefits agencies and Jobcentres were merged together, which created the Jobcentre Plus program. At that time, individuals could go to any Jobcentre location and get all sorts of job-related assistance. That included unemployment benefits (Jobseekers Allowance), help with job applications, incapacity benefits (disability or long-term illness assistance).
Today’s Jobcentre Plus
The Department of work and Pensions took over running Jobcentre Plus in 2011. However, not much has changed since it began in 2002. Only the technologies have really changed. Now people can walk into any Jobcentre Plus location and use touch screen computers to access employment and benefit information. Technologies have also changed enough that many Jobcentre Plus features can be accessed online, making it convenient for those who can’t get to their local office easily.
So, if you find yourself in need of job-related assistance, you can visit your local Jobcentre Plus office. However, you can also inquire by phone or visit https://www.gov.uk/contact-jobcentre-plus for more information about the resources that are available to you through the Jobcentre Plus program.