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Mr. McCartney: The pension service will be launched on 1 April 2002 and will offer an improved service for pensioners. It will be customer-focused and will give pensioners a modern, personalised, efficient service designed to meet their needs. It will also provide information for future pensioners to help them make decisions about their future pension arrangements.
The local service will also provide a visiting service and will support customers by working in partnership with voluntary organisations, local authorities and other Government Departments to provide a more joined up service.
The local service for pensioners in each Government Office Region will be located throughout that region. Support work for the local service in the north-east will be shared between the Stockton and Seaham pension centres.
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Mr. McCartney: The information is not yet available, however, figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) state that around 640,000 stakeholder pensions had been sold up the end of December 2001 representing over £1 billion of new pension premiums. Over 310,000 employers had designated a stakeholder scheme for their workforce by that date; a compliance rate of about 80 per cent. achieved within three months of the requirement coming into force.
Stakeholder pensions have also helped to stimulate the wider pensions market. In 2001, new regular premium pensions business rose by 52.5 per cent. over the preceding year to a total of £2.4 billion. Over the same period, single premium pension business rose by 2.7 per cent. to just over £50 billion.
The aim of our long-term pension reforms is to give everyone access to a good value pension arrangement, so that they have the chance of a decent income in retirement. Stakeholder pensions are part of those reforms. Targets for a particular type of pension are not appropriate. The suitability of a stakeholder pension for any individual is a matter for them to decide in the light of their particular circumstances.
Mr. Nicholas Brown: A number of studies are carried out on behalf of the Department looking at families with children and specifically lone parent families. These studies have examined the obstacles faced by women and informed the development of initiatives like the new deals, which have helped nearly a quarter of a million women move into work.
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he intends to reply to the letters to him dated 8 and 16 January from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr. M. Willingham. 
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list all contracts awarded by his Department to Capita since 1997, stating (a) start and finish date of contract, (b) value of contract, (c) description of
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work to be carried out, (d) evaluation mechanism for successful delivery of contract, (e) penalty charges for failure to deliver and (f) if penalty charges have been incurred; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: Until 2000 most records for use of consultants were kept by individual projects and programmes, rather than centrally, and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The available information is as follows.
|AOS contract||Start date||End date|
|North-west coast and Greater Manchester||1 April 1999||Extended to 31 March 2004|
|Tyne Tees and Yorkshire||1 April 1999||Extended to 31 March 2004|
|West Midlands and Mercia||1 April 1999||Extended to 31 March 2004|
Shuttle bus management
(a) The initial contract was for one year from 5 May 2000 to 4 May 2001, with an option to run for up to five yearsi.e. to 4 May 2005. To date there have been two one-year extensionsthe current expiry date is 4 May 2003.
(c) Bulk issue of claim forms for winter fuels payments to potential customers, identified by the Department (as living within Great Britain); and provision of a helpline service to deal with inquiries and issue of forms to customers with potential entitlement from previous winters.
(d) and (e) Performance targets for service delivery were included in the contract, and liquidated damages set for failure to reach these targets. The detail of the targets set and the level of liquidated damages to be imposed for failure to deliver these are commercially confidential between the Department and Capita.
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(d) and (e) Payment for defined products, to time and standard. Unacceptable deliverables/products can result in re-work to correct at no additional charge to the Department, partial acceptance and pro-rata payment or, finally, termination of the contract.
(d) The contract sets out the services to be delivered and the key performance indicators that have to be met. The contract manager is responsible for assuring that the services captured within the contract are being delivered. The contract sets out the remedies for non-delivery of the services specified within the contract. Performance management is undertaken by the contract manager who is responsible for working in partnership with the contractor to improve the levels of performance. Where appropriate the delivery of performance is directly linked to outputs/outcomes so in such circumstances payment is only triggered when the agreed levels of performance have been met.
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