§ Mr. Kidney
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what is his Department's policy on the acceptance by the Employment Service of job vacancies for public display from commercial employment agencies; 
(2) if he intends to require the Employment Service to charge a fee to commercial employment agencies for advertising job vacancies on their behalf; 
(3) if he will estimate the marginal costs annually to the Employment Service of processing requests from commercial employment agencies for advertising job vacancies. 602W
§ Mr. Andrew Smith
Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service Agency under its Chief Executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Leigh Lewis to Mr. David Kidney, dated 2 February 1999:As the Employment Service is an Executive Agency, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment has asked me to reply direct to your questions concerning the relationship that exists between the Employment Service and private employment agencies. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of the Employment Service.The Employment Service has an agreement with the Federation of Recruitment and Employment Services (FRES) that Jobcentres will accept individual vacancies for display from employment agencies and businesses, provided they are satisfied that a real vacancy exists. The agreement makes clear that this is at the discretion of the Jobcentre Manager who will take into account the needs of the local labour market and priorities for display space. This agreement was set up to help the Employment Service to fulfil its responsibility to unemployed jobseekers to provide the most opportunities possible for them to find work, and has been instrumental in helping unemployed people into jobs. However, the Employment Service will not handle generic vacancies from employment agencies that seek simply to build up a list of potential jobseekers for the future.There are currently no plans for the Employment Service to charge a fee to commercial employment agencies for advertising their vacancies. This is because we view such vacancies as a valuable source of jobs to help unemployed jobseekers improve their prospects of gaining work. We would, therefore, wish to avoid deterring agencies from placing vacancies by charging fees which could in turn deny jobseekers the best possible chance of securing a job.I am afraid that we do not collect information on the marginal costs of processing requests from commercial employment agencies for advertising job vacancies.I hope this is helpful in clarifying the position.