Jane Hunt MP asked:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the time taken to process Access to Work applications; and what steps he is taking to ensure that applications are processed in a timely manner.
Tom Pursglove MP, Minister of State, responded:
There has been a significant increase in applications for the Access to Work grant scheme over the last year, leading to longer processing times.
Processing times are continually assessed, and the department has reviewed processes to support applications being processed in a timely manner. To deal with the increased demand, we have recruited additional staff and have plans for further recruitment. We are also modernising the Access to Work service through increased digitalisation; this will make the service more efficient, make the application process easier, and improve the time taken from application through to decision.
Customers making a new application for Access to Work and are starting work within the next 4 weeks, or have a current grant award coming to an end requiring a renewal application, are prioritised to ensure they are able to enter and remain in the labour market.