The UK's biggest network of foodbanks has said it will not force its members to house Jobcentre staff
The UK’s biggest network of foodbanks has said it will definitely not allow Jobcentre advisors in its foodbanks.
The Trussell Trust has written to TFN to clarify its position following news stories that revealed the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) would like to place benefits staff in foodbanks.
The trust, which runs over 420 foodbanks across the UK, said it is not "actively considering" placing DWP staff in its foodbanks.
No Trussell Trust foodbank would be encouraged to do anything that they felt might jeopardise the non-judgemental environment our foodbanks operate in
Molly Hodson, head of media and external affairs at the Trussell Trust, told TFN: “No Trussell Trust foodbank would ever need to worry about being forced to have a DWP advisor in a foodbank, and no Trussell Trust foodbank would be encouraged to do anything that they felt might jeopardise the non-judgemental environment our foodbanks operate in.
“We have no plans to place DWP job advisers in Trussell Trust foodbanks.”
The trust, which is seeking an urgent meeting with the DWP, said it is open to improve DWP processes in order to reduce the number of people left hungry due to problems with benefits delivery.
Hodson added: “One idea discussed privately with some foodbanks and a small number of backbench MPs (but not yet discussed with DWP) was to give foodbank clients opt in access to specific welfare advisers tasked with troubleshooting benefit related admin errors, delays or payments that had lead people to need foodbanks.
“The idea (which has not even been piloted) would be to right the wrongs of the current system which can leave people without an income for weeks or even months, and this person might be available on the phone rather than in a foodbank. This is very different to a job adviser.”
The trust states 44% of referrals to its foodbanks are a direct result of benefit related issues.