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UK Job Centres to install biometric recognition pads

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced the launch of biometric and signature recognition pads at Job Centres to help job seekers find employment.

It is hoped the introduction will help people apply for roles online more easily, while also enabling them to sign for their benefits.

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The initiative will see 700 Job Centre points across the country receiving the new technology, alongside the installation of 6,000 new PC workstations that will assist jobseekers to find employment more efficiently.

It has been estimated that the new technology will save the Department for Work and Pensions £2 million a year.

Minister for employment Esther McVey said that the new technology was required to keep pace with changes in the job market.

"Long gone are the Full Monty days of job cards in the windows and queuing for your dole," she said. "We're seeing record employment levels – and with this digital revolution, the government is doing even more to help people into work."

The technology, which has already been tested at the Job Centre in London Bridge, operates on the same network as all government computers and so is subject to the same high level of security, limiting the threat of hacking and viruses.

Customer services manager at the London Bridge branch, Baljeet Mahal, said the new biometric and signature recognition pads demonstrate that Job Centres are continuing to modernise.

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"If you look back to Job Centre Plus from years ago, we had boards with paper cards with vacancies on them - we don't have those anymore."