some default text...
Previous Section Index Home Page


Knowledge Pool

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on progress with testing and refining the Knowledge Pool approach to evidence-based policy. [21463]

Mr. Leslie: The Centre for Management and Policy Studies (CMPS) is currently running a demonstration programme to assess the effectiveness of 'knowledge pools' in contributing to evidence-based policy making and delivery. 'Knowledge Pool' is an initiative to identify and bring together experts and evidence in specific policy areas. It is designed to replicate good practice in knowledge management and to address the need for policy making to be more effectively and efficiently informed by evidence.

The first phase is now almost complete—CMPS has identified knowledge pool topics, substantially refined the concept of knowledge pools and is currently working closely with sponsoring units to determine how knowledge pools could bring practical benefits to their policy areas.

10 Dec 2001 : Column: 598W

Knowledge pools currently in development are sponsored by the Performance and Innovation Unit (Strategic Futures Project), the Social Exclusion Unit, the Regional Co-ordination Unit (Area Based Initiatives Forum) and the new cross-Government Excellence in Policy Making Network set up by CMPS. It is anticipated that further knowledge pools will join the programme in the near future.

CMPS have also been working together with sponsoring units to design and build a website. This will support collaborative working and knowledge sharing among experts in each of the knowledge pools. It will also provide a channel through which useful information can be made widely accessible. This will be launched early next year.

The independent evaluation of this programme to assess the effectiveness of knowledge pools in delivering evidence based policy making and practice will be completed in December 2003.

Expenditure and Receipts

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if his Department maintained expenditure and receipts within the voted provision in 2000–01. [21465]

Mr. Leslie: The Cabinet Office's provisional outturn for 2000–01 against voted provision is reported in Table 3 of the Public Expenditure 2000–01 Provisional Outturn White Paper (Cm 5243), copies of which are in the Libraries of the House.

An Appropriation Account showing final outturn will be published as usual.

Performance Targets (Labour Costs)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if his Department achieved the key performance target in 2000–01 for increasing sales revenue for every pound of expenditure on direct labour costs. [21466]

Mr. Leslie: The Cabinet Office as a Department does not have a specific performance target for increasing sales revenue for every pound of expenditure on direct labour costs. However the Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA), which is an executive agency of the Cabinet Office, has a key performance target for increasing sales revenue for every pound of expenditure on direct labour costs.

The GCDA did not achieve its target for increasing sales revenue for every pound of expenditure on direct labour cost as price increases to customers were held below the rate of inflation. This was reported in the agency's annual report and accounts for the financial year 2000–01, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.

10 Dec 2001 : Column: 599W

PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL

Computer Equipment

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the President of the Council, what has been the average time taken to (a) deliver and (b) install standard computer equipment to hon. Members' offices in (i) the House of Commons and (ii) constituency offices; and if he will make a statement. [22615]

Mr. Robin Cook [holding answer 4 December 2001]: On average hon. Members who ordered computer equipment after 15 October had their machines delivered to Westminster within 20 days and installed within 24 days.

In the constituency, the times were 24 days and 28 days respectively. As I explained in response to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Andrew Mackinlay) on 25 October 2001, Official Report, column 323W, delays were mainly caused by the complexity of the distribution exercise, which by the end of the financial year will have involved delivering over 6,000 items to over 1,300 locations. In addition, some hon. Members have asked for a delay in installation for their convenience.

I am delighted to report that delays are now largely eradicated. Hon. Members can now expect to receive their equipment, complete with parliamentary software, as quickly as they would from a major high street retailer. Members who order this week can have both delivery and installation within 15 days if they wish.

Royal Prerogative

Norman Baker: To ask the President of the Council if he will list the orders made through the Privy Council under the royal prerogative in each year from 1997 to date. [21402]

Mr. Robin Cook: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The hon. Member may, however, like to know that the vast majority of Orders in Council are made under statute, and of the prerogative Orders in Council and Orders of Council that are made most relate to amendments of the charters, by-laws and statutes of chartered bodies (including universities) and the giving of Royal Assent to Channel Islands legislation.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Disability Discrimination Act

11. Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to inform employers of their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 not to discriminate against disabled people. [19152]

Maria Eagle: The Government are running media campaigns to raise awareness of disability. Good practice guides and Codes of Practice are available. The Disability Rights Commission's Helpline and website and Equality Direct provide further advice.

10 Dec 2001 : Column: 600W

Minimum Income Guarantee

15. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the take-up of the minimum income guarantee in Pendle in the last six months. [19156]

Mr. McCartney: There are about 2,900 people in receipt of minimum income guarantee in the constituency of Pendle. Nationally, as a result of the national take up campaign over 120,000 more pensioners are now receiving an extra £20 a week. Overall, during the last three years we have provided an extra £12.5 billion to pensioners through the minimum income guarantee.

18. Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what measures his Department has taken to monitor uptake of the minimum income guarantee since the introduction of the shortened application form. [19159]

Mr. McCartney: A variety of statistical information will inform our judgment on the success of our new, much improved and shorter minimum income guarantee claim form.

As a result of the national take up campaign, over 120,000 more pensioners are now receiving an extra £20 a week.

There are 2,200 pensioners in receipt of minimum income guarantee in the constituency of Crawley.

Overall, during the last three years we have provided an extra £12.5 billion to pensioners through the minimum income guarantee.

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the earnings disregard is in the calculation of the pensioners' minimum income guarantee; and how the disregard has changed since the introduction of the guarantee. [20293]

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 5 December 2001]: The earnings disregard is £5 for single pensioners and £10 for couples. In certain circumstances, concerning the receipt of particular premiums or engagement in a special occupation, the disregard may be £20 a week. These disregards have not changed since the introduction of the minimum income guarantee.

We are continuing to consider the treatment of earnings in the pension credit.

Employment Opportunities (Women)

19. Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action he is taking to remove the obstacles to women's employment opportunities. [19160]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Women can benefit from the range of New Deals and welfare-to-work initiatives that we have introduced to help people overcome the barriers to employment and to make work pay, such as working families tax credit, the national minimum wage, the national childcare strategy and the sure start programme.

Measures are also being introduced in the current Employment Bill that will help working mothers to remain within the workforce through better balancing of their work and home commitments. This is good for parents, children and business.

10 Dec 2001 : Column: 601W

Jobseekers

21. Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to improve co-ordination between the benefits system and the support given to people to help them find work. [19162]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Employment Service and those parts of the Benefits Agency that deal with people of working age are being brought together to form Jobcentre Plus.

53 Jobcentre Plus offices have now opened, providing for the first time a fully integrated employment and benefit service. First reactions from both individual customers and employers have been overwhelmingly positive. We plan progressively to extend this integration nation-wide beginning later next year.

25. Mr. Simon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans he has to enable those unemployed who are the hardest to help find work. [19166]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The range of new deals help disadvantaged groups to move from welfare into work. We are further increasing support for drug mis-users and will be exploring how we can extend that approach to other hard to help groups. We have also introduced Action Teams for Jobs and Employment Zones that, between them, have helped over 32,000 people in the most deprived areas into work.

In addition, on 28 November we announced StepUP, a new pilot programme to help people who have not been able to find a job through new deal. StepUP will provide transitional jobs lasting up to 12 months and will be the stepping stone for some of the hardest to help unemployed people to reconnect to their local labour markets.


Next Section Index Home Page