Recently I went to visit a Jobs Club in Sutton to hear back from people on the last session of their course.
The Club, based at the Salvation Army on Benhill Avenue, was aimed helping people who had been out of work for an extended period of time back into the workplace.
I went along to hear about how they had found the course, but also to hear about their experiences of navigating the welfare system. They raised concerns about how people are treated when they visit the local Job Centre Plus, about the smoothness of the transition to Universal Credit, problems in getting DBS checks returned in good time, added difficulties of age and criminal convictions being barriers to employment and also the flexibility of the system as a whole.
I fed these issues back to the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, on their behalf, and have asked him to look into and respond to their concerns.
It was useful for me to hear these stories first hand, and I want to pay tribute to Mark and all the other staff at the group who do such a good job, for inviting me along to listen and discuss these issues.