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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research his Department has undertaken into the impact on benefit claimants in areas affected by industrial strike action. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: We have ensured that benefit claimants are not adversely affected by the industrial action by introducing contingency arrangements. Benefit payments have continued to be made in the offices affected using those staff who have remained at work supported, where appropriate, by staff redeployed from other areas. Where it has not been possible to make benefit payments under the normal procedures due to a lack of sufficient numbers of experienced staff, Pathfinder offices have made interim payments at an amount equivalent to the full benefit rate.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if his Department met the target of ensuring that all staff in new Jobcentre Plus offices were fully trained by the end of November. 
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Mr. Nicholas Brown: Yes, with the exception of those staff absent from work because of their involvement in the ongoing industrial action or for other reasons. Those staff will be trained as soon as they return to work.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what additional risk assessments have been carried out in Jobcentre Plus offices following experience of their operation; and what the results were of such assessments. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Full risk assessments were carried out in all of the Pathfinder offices before they opened and the recommendations of each assessment implemented in full. As planned, further assessments are now being undertaken in each office to review the original recommendations in the light of actual experience of the new offices in operation. So far 32 such assessments have been completed.
Early indications from the further assessments are that Jobcentre Plus offices are working as intended as are the previously recommended safety measures. The review visits have led to some minor changes to recommended control measures, reflecting updated details in the Generic Risk Assessment, and these are being implemented as they arise.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 14 November 2001, Official Report, column 785W, on Jobcentre Plus, what contingency plans are in place to ensure that customers continue to receive the benefits to which they are entitled in areas where Jobcentre Plus staff are undertaking strike action. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Benefit payments have continued to be made in Jobcentre Plus Pathfinder offices using those staff who have remained at work supported, where appropriate, by staff redeployed from other areas. Where it has not been possible to make benefit payments under the normal procedures due to a lack of sufficient numbers of experienced staff, Pathfinder offices have made interim payments at an amount equivalent to the full benefit rate.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason he has not introduced the integrated claim form that was piloted in the ONE Call Centre pilots into the new Jobcentre Plus offices. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: The integrated claim form was piloted in the call centre variant of the ONE pilots. The valuable lessons learned from the ONE experience have been fed through to the new modernised Information Technology solutions for the Department for Work and Pensions that are planned to be rolled out to Jobcentre Plus offices from 2002. These will include an integrated claim form for customers to complete by telephone.
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|30 November 2000||31 May 2001|
|Disability living allowance||2,197.6||2,240.5|
|Disability living allowance||(45)||1,835|
(43) Based on 5 per cent. data, rounded to nearest 100
(44) Based on 100 per cent. data, rounded to nearest five
(45) Not available
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are entitled to more than one reduced earnings allowance entitlement as part of their industrial injuries disablement benefit. 
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 16 November 2001, Official Report, column 534W, how much was paid in each year since 1992 into (a) defined benefit pension schemes and (b) defined contribution pension schemes. 
Mr. McCartney: This information is not available. Non-state pensions are private, voluntary arrangements, and we do not ask pension administrators or providers to disclose the nature of the benefits accrued from year- on-year investments by employers or individuals.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many full-time equivalents per 10,000 population work in social services in (a) Portsmouth, South and (b) Hampshire; and if he will make a statement. 
The number of full-time equivalents employed by the local authority social services department at 30 September 2000 per 10,000 (population measured at 30 June 2000) was 58.11 for Portsmouth unitary authority and 26.38 for Hampshire shire county. These figures compare with an England average of 43.44.
Portsmouth unitary authority covers a larger area than Portsmouth, South constituency. Data are available only for councils with social services responsibilities and not for parliamentary constituencies.
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Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she has received further bids from Leicestershire (a) local education authorities and (b) Early Years Development Partnerships for additional funding in (i) 200102 and (ii) 200203; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: An additional bid for places for three-year-olds in 200102, for the spring term, was received from Leicestershire. They were notified that it had been successful on 27 November 2001. This increased Leicester's allocation for 200102 from £3.1 million to £3.7 million.
Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many statemented pupils were excluded from school on a (a) permanent basis and (b) temporary basis in (i) Durham and (ii) England. 
Mr. Timms: The number of statemented pupils permanently excluded from maintained primary, maintained secondary and special schools in Durham LEA and England in the school year 19992000 were 19 and 1,494 respectively.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to her answer to the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight, on 14 November 2001, Official Report, cols 79899W, if she will list the criteria for joining the Early Excellence Centres programme contained in the latest invitation to join the programme; and if she will make a statement on how these relate to the earlier invitations. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 20 November 2002]: Criteria and detailed requirements for joining the Early Excellence Centre (EEC) programme are set out in guidance issued by the Department. The latest guidance was issued on 5 October 2001. The core activities of the programme which all centres are expected to deliver, or
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have well advanced and convincing plans to develop, remain unchanged from previous phases of the programme and are as follows:
parental and carer involvement in the education and care of children, e.g. schemes for family learning, developing parenting skills, raising parents' expectations and in other ways;
support services for children and parents and carers of children, e.g. health, counselling and information services, home support, drop-in facilities;
effective early identification and intervention for children in need and children with special educational needs, with a view to improving children's prospects and, wherever appropriate, achieving inclusion in mainstream provision;
access to adult education and training by parents of young children and other adults, including those seeking skills and qualifications for employment;
raising standards of integrated early years provision among other early years providers, including voluntary and private providers, childminders and other carers, by contributing to the training and development strategy of the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership and through the development and dissemination of good practice.
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