Robert Devereux, Permanent Secretary at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), visited the Stockport office of at-home care company, Home Instead Senior Care in Stockport earlier this month, as part of a fact finding mission to hear about issues facing small and medium sized businesses.
The DWP is responsible for welfare and pension policy and delivers its customer services through three operational organisations including Jobcentre Plus, which had planned the visit and is an organisation that Home Instead works closely with to find new caregivers.
During his visit Mr Devereux took time to meet the team at Home Instead including some of the company’s frontline caregivers and a student who had just completed a 100 day work placement with the company as part of his social work degree.
He also took time to speak with Claire Smith who had been long term unemployed before being introduced to Home Instead by Jobcentre Plus. She has now been working as a caregiver for over 12 months and loves her work.
Mr Devereux took part in a round table discussion with David and Joanna Moore, who set up the Stockport office of Home Instead in 2006, along with Maureen Stafford from Jobcentre Plus Greater Manchester. They were joined by Steve Williams and John Wilberforce from Home Instead’s national office.
The Moore’s now employ a total of 88 staff and were pleased to have the opportunity to raise issues with the Permanent Secretary. Mr Moore voiced concern over rising employer costs but recognised the importance of a prudent approach to Government finances with employers playing their part.
Mr Devereux spoke about the new Work Programme, which replaces much of the existing back to work support with a programme that is built around the needs of individual jobseekers.
Speaking about the visit to Home Instead, Mr Devereux said: “I enjoyed my discussions with David, Joanna and their staff and was pleased to hear about the excellent working relationship with Jobcentre Plus, and the company’s positive recruitment policy which is clearly benefiting the local community”.
Mr Moore was delighted to play host to such a senior civil servant. Commenting on the visit he said, “At Home Instead we wish to encourage health and social care as a long term and rewarding career with retention and training at its heart and the DWP’s new Work Programme looks set to help us with this. I was delighted to be able to speak with Mr Devereux about it and appreciated the time he spent with us.”