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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff in his Department have been seconded to jobs in the (a) private and (b) public sector in each of the last four years. 
The phased introduction from April 2002 of provisions under the Fraud Act 2001, including the powers for authorised officers from DWP and local authorities to require information from prescribed organisations such as banks and building societies. The information-gathering powers are covered by a statutory Code of Practice, which has been subject to a three-month public consultation and has been laid before both Houses of Parliament.
With the introduction of the pension credit, we are making changes to remove the need to re-claim HB every year for pensioners aged 65 and over. For those over 65, we will be making awards for five years. The HB income threshold will also be raised by the maximum amount of the pension credit savings reward, to an expected level of £113.80 for single pensioners in 2003 and we will treat pensioners' capital more generously.
Amendments to bring the income related benefit provisions for war widowers' pensions in line with those for war widows; and
17 Apr 2002 : Column 1000W
Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Department has outsourced catering services and the suppliers are responsible for sourcing products sold to staff. A review of the sale of fair trade products with the primary catering supplier on 13 March (during Fair Trade Fortnight) confirmed that fair trade products, such as coffee and tea, are sold in the Department. This review also confirmed that, while the supplier currently operates ethical, environmentally appropriate procurement policies, they are also working to develop and introduce a specific fair trade strategy. The Department supports this initiative and will monitor progress closely.
Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the practice of sessional doctors sitting on tribunals with the European Convention on Human Rights, following the complaint lodged with the officer of the Benefits Agency by Mr. Tom Mann; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: My noble Friend the Lord Chancellor appoints appeal tribunal members. The qualification requirements are set out in regulations and do not exclude sessional doctors. The regulations preclude doctors from hearing an appeal in which they have previously given advice to a decision maker in the Department or prepared reports on a claimant's medical condition.
Maria Eagle: There are two maternity payments available to expectant mothers in work; statutory maternity pay (SMP) paid by employers to their employees, and maternity allowance (MA) paid by the Department to employees who do not qualify for SMP, the self-employed and those women who have recently left their jobs.
|5 April 1999 to 1 April 2000||28,000|
|6 April 1998 to 3 April 1999||29,000|
|7 April 1997 to 4 April 1998||25,000|
|1 April 1996 to 5 April 1997||28,000|
(13) The estimated number of SMP cases in 200102 is derived from case load estimates underlying forecast expenditure on SMP but may be subject to revision once information from the National Insurance Records System 2 is available.
(14) Maternity allowance figures for 200001 are due to be released on 25 April.
(15) Figures are rounded to the nearest thousand.
(16) Figures for Northern Ireland are not included. Social Security matters in Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
1 per cent. samples of the benefit computer system. The data excludes late notifications to the system, a small number of cases held clerically and is subject to a degree of sampling error.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of those who left the gateway of the New Deal for Young People without proceeding to any of the options were in full time employment 12 months later. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Up to the end of December 2001, 68 per cent. of the young people who had left the New Deal for an unsubsidised job at the Gateway stage had not reclaimed jobseeker's allowance within 12 months.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his latest estimate is of the (a) number and (b) proportion of people leaving the new deal for young people who were in sustained jobs (i) six and (ii) 12 months later. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Up to the end of December 2001, of the 264,100 new deal leavers who had moved into jobs, 214,700 (81 per cent.) had not reclaimed jobseeker's allowance within six months and 180,600 (68 per cent.) had not reclaimed it within 12 months.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of the total welfare bill was spent on those living on below 60 per cent. of median income in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: In October 2001 the ONE pilots in south-east Essex, Calderdale and Kirklees and part of the Clyde Coast and Renfrew pilot became Jobcentre Plus pathfinders. All of the remaining ONE pilots will continue to operate after March 2002 and will be converted to Jobcentre Plus offices in due course.
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Mr. Nicholas Brown: Advertising is one of the methods used to make sure that lone parents are aware of the help and support available through the new deal for lone parents (NDLP) to help them move into work.
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what payments have been made to individuals following findings of maladministration by ombudsmen with responsibility for agencies under remit of his Department in the last 12 months; and what plans he has to review the powers to increase the level of awards that can be made. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Comprehensive details of financial redress paid in cases where the Parliamentary Ombudsman has completed an investigation and issued a formal report are not held centrally. However, based on such records as are available, payments amounting to £155,866.51 have been agreed in 94 cases during the 12 months to 31 March 2002. This figure excludes cases where a statutory resolution has been found.
Each case is judged on its individual merits. Where the Ombudsman finds that maladministration has occurred and that financial redress is appropriate, the general principle adopted is to provide redress which is fair and reasonable in the light of all the facts and circumstances of the case. Where the complainant has suffered actual financial loss as a result of the maladministration, or faced costs which would otherwise not have been incurred (and which are reasonable in the circumstances), the general approach is to restore the complainant to the position he or she would have enjoyed had the maladministration not occurred. Where there is not an actual financial loss or cost, careful judgment is used to decide whether financial redress is appropriate and, if so, what constitutes fair and reasonable financial redress. There are no plans to alter these principles.
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