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Benefits Agency

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, (1) pursuant to his answer of 5 April 2001, Official Report, column 260W, what is the average amount of time decision makers have been employed in the Benefits Agency prior to being appointed to that position; [158007]

Angela Eagle: Staff are not employed specifically as decision makers and are not separately identifiable. It is not therefore possible to establish how long staff have been employed in the Benefits Agency prior to undertaking work which involves an element of decision making or the number of decision makers in the pay ranges specified.

Following the introduction of the decision making and appeals (DMA) provisions during the period July to November 1999 the Benefits Agency has collected data about the numbers of decisions across the major benefits that are revised internally following reconsideration. From the introduction of the DMA provisions until the end of March 2000, approximately 38,000 decisions were revised. From April 2000 to the end of February 2001 approximately 102,000 decisions were revised. This includes decisions that were revised following a request from the customer and those decisions that were revised on the instigation of the decision maker.

There is no formal procedure in place specifically for hon. Members to establish direct contact with an individual decision maker.

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Individual decision makers will provide their name and a contact telephone number to customers when asked to do so. They will also include their name and contact number when issuing individual letters to customers. However, individual decision makers' names are not identified on Agency computer generated decision notices.

As the customer's representative, an hon. Member would be able to approach the individual decision maker, in the same way as any other representative, if they were of the view that it was appropriate to do so. However, as I stated in my written answer on 5 April 2001, Official Report, column 260W the accepted procedure has been for hon. Members to contact the Local Office Manager where a reply is required.


People's Panel Support Group

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will list the members of the People's Panel Support Group, indicating those who are civil servants. [158006]

Marjorie Mowlam: There are 19 members of the People's Panel Support Group. One is from the Thomas Coram Research Institute, one from the Local Government Association, one from the National Consumer Council and two from MORI, who administer the panel.

Among civil servants, there are up to five representatives from different parts of the Cabinet Office, two from the Department of Health, one from the Home Office, one from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, one from the Department for Education and Employment, one from the Employment Service, two from the Scottish Executive and one from the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister for Northern Ireland.

Membership of the group is liable to change as individuals change jobs or responsibilities.

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what are the terms of reference of the People's Panel Support Group. [158008]

Marjorie Mowlam: The terms of reference for the People's Panel Support Group are

Press Advisers

Mr. Simon Hughes: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office since 1996 which personal press advisers to Cabinet Ministers have been funded (a) in whole and (b) in part from public funds; for which Cabinet members they worked; how much they were paid; what staffing, accommodation and access to official information was provided for them; and if she will make a statement. [157310]

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Mr. Stringer: Departmental press officers are appointed to serve Ministers and the Department in which they work. They are not appointed as personal press officers. Some special advisers advise on media related issues. Questions about them are a matter for the individual Ministers concerned.

Civil Service (Equal Pay)

Barbara Follett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will list the measures the Government have taken to ensure equal pay within the Civil Service since May 1997. [157693]

Mr. Stringer: Guidance was issued by the Cabinet Office to all Departments and agencies in October 1998 in order to raise awareness of the implications of equal pay legislation. The guidance was subsequently incorporated into the Civil Service Management Code which requires Departments and agencies to undertake periodic equal pay reviews.

The Modernising Government White Paper published in March 1999 set out the Government's plans to modernise the public services including their pay systems. The Civil Service response to the White Paper was set out

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in Sir Richard Wilson's report to the Prime Minister of December 1999. The report requires all Departments and agencies to review their pay and performance management systems.

In addition, virtually all Civil Service posts are underpinned by an analytical job evaluation system designed and tested to be free of any inherent gender bias. The main Civil Service job evaluation system was updated and equality tested before being issued to Departments and agencies in June 1999.

Promotional Campaigns

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will list the television, newspaper and radio advertising and other promotional campaigns conducted by (a) her Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its departmental public bodies, in each of the past five years, showing for each the expenditure incurred by her Department; and if she will make a statement. [153417]

Mr. Stringer: The information requested on television, newspaper and radio advertising undertaken by the Department is as follows:

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Expenditure broken down to show amounts spent on television, newspaper and radio advertising

Chartermark Awards--3,822--3,822
Open Government--66,110--66,110
Nolan Committee--20,721--20,721
Standards in Public Life--34,767--34,767
Party Political Funding--1,371--1,371
Commissioner for Public Appointments--7,139--7,139
Action 2000 Public Awareness920,069807,828155,4693,343,856
Civil Service Pension Scheme--771--771
2000-01 to date
Fuel Crisis Information--8,340--8,340


All figures exclude VAT

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Information on other departmental promotional campaigns is not held centrally and could be produced only at disproportionate cost.

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The figures provided do not cover recruitment advertising.