Number 7: DWP Statistics
I do not think it would take much to improve on IDS’s lamentable performance in this area; however, I have two particular concerns that I feel need to be addressed.
I have set out above the matter of clerical claims. I am not clear how these are put together for inclusion in the figures published by the Office National Statistics (on behalf of DWP). I know that, in the past, clerical JSA claims had to be counted manually each month for the claimant count. If that is still the case, then what is the likelihood that such figures are accurate, if payments for those claims are currently being missed?
When DWP commissioned Universal Jobsmatch, they broke the link between the vacancy part of the Labour Market System’s database and externally provided statistics. Therefore, the vacancies notified to DWP are not available to use as a proxy for the state of the labour market as a whole. They are also not available for use as evidence when people bid for funds for projects designed to help people get closer to the labour market and/or into work. I would look for such figures when appraising bids for funding. Courtesy of DWP, neither a bidder nor I now have access to vacancy data whose validity we would both accept without question. DWP’s vacancy data on NOMIS is available until November 2012.