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23 Jun 2004 : Column 1436W—continued

Postal Voting

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs if he will make a statement on postal voting in the north-west. [179289]

Mr. Leslie: A written statement on the subject of the postal voting pilots which recently took place in four regions, including the north-west, was given to the House on 21 June.



Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of the population of Pashtun in Afghanistan have access to safe drinking water. [176593]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: It is estimated that less than 24 per cent. of the population in Afghanistan has access to safe drinking water; however, currently there is no further detailed information available with respect to coverage and conditions. However, there are reports of many water drinking projects carried out by International aid organisations in Afghanistan, which are also compiling information on water supply. The Afghan Government have also started a priority project focusing on water and sanitation. This project, with a budget of US$295 million over five years, includes provision of 130,000 water points/hand pumps to 3.25 million families, and 310 different water schemes throughout the country.
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Cycle Parking

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what provision is made at his Department headquarters for cycle parking for visitors; and how accessible it is. [179878]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: DFID's London headquarters at 1 Palace street does not have cycle parking facilities specifically for visitors, as the building has no external space available for parking of any type. However, there are 64 secure internal cycle spaces for staff, which can be used by visitors upon request.

DFID's East Kilbride office has 20 cycle spaces, all of which are freely available for staff or visitor use.

Departmental Secondments

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department and its agencies were seconded from the (a) private and (b) academic sectors in each of the last three years. [175360]

Mr. Gareth Thomas: The following statistics relate to secondments from (a) private sector and (b) academic sector to the DFID, commencing in each financial year from 2001–02:
Financial year (April-March)PrivateAcademic


Guantanamo Bay

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Solicitor-General on what dates officials of the Law Officers have visited British nationals detained at Guantanamo Bay; on what dates the Attorney-General received reports on the welfare of detainees; what representations he has made on behalf of the prisoners; and what action he took to make his concerns known to relatives or legal representatives of those detained. [177589]

The Solicitor-General: No officials from the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers have visited the British nationals detained in Guantanamo Bay. I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 8 June 2004, my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. Mullin), Official Report, column 303W, in reply to his question no. 177590.



Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 12 March 2004, Official Report, column 1795W, on asbestos, what
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proportion of the asbestos identified in buildings occupied by his Department's staff was the (a) chrysotile and (b) amphibole form of asbestos. [176787]

Jane Kennedy: Although information is available in respect of all the Departments buildings in which asbestos has been identified, a global breakdown of the types of asbestos is not yet maintained centrally. It is anticipated that this information can be provided once the current piece of work to populate a database is fully complete, in late summer. Nonetheless, the Department and its predecessors have done everything possible to prevent any exposure to asbestos and have been proactive in identifying buildings containing the substance and either sealing or removing the asbestos, as necessary.

Attitude Surveys

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what surveys of public perceptions of (a) his Department and (b) its areas of responsibility have taken place over the last 12 months; what the (i) title and (ii) nature of these surveys was; what the findings of each survey were; where these findings have been published; what the cost of all such surveys was; and if he will make a statement and place copies of the surveys in the Library. [174340]

Jane Kennedy [holding answer 18 May 2004]: The following surveys of public perceptions have been undertaken by the Department in the last 12 months.

Pension Service Customer Survey 2003

Findings from this survey were published in February 2004 (DWP Research Report number 205). A copy of the report has been placed in the Library and is also available on the Department's website at–2004/rrep205.asp

The cost of the survey was £496,285

Jobcentre Plus Service Delivery Survey

This was quantitative survey of Jobcentre Plus customers who experienced the 'front end' process in integrated offices, collecting views of First Contact, the Financial Assessor meeting, the initial mandatory Work Focused Interview and the office environment.

Findings are being analysed and are due to be published in autumn 2004.

The cost of this survey was £404,330

Public Awareness of Changes to State Pension Age for Women

A number of questions on this subject were included in the Office for National Statistics Omnibus Survey in November 2003 and February 2004.

Findings are being analysed and are due to be published in summer 2004.

The cost was £21,750.
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Jobcentre Plus National Customer Satisfaction Survey 2003

Findings were published in September 2003 (DWP Research Report number W168). A copy of the report has been placed in the House Library and is also available on the Department's website at

The cost of this survey was £88,660.

Public Perceptions of Child Support and the Child Support Agency

A module of questions on this topic were included in the Office for National Statistics Omnibus Survey in March 2004. Results are being analysed and are due to be published in autumn 2004.

The cost was £27,100

Service First Survey

This was a telephone survey carried out by the Appeals Service to test performance against a number of the service first standards which cannot be measured internally. Findings will be included in the Appeals Service Annual Report which is due to be published on 14 July. A copy of the report will be placed in the House library on that day.

The cost of the survey was £15,170.

Disability and Carers Service (DCS) Customer Service Survey 2003–04

A postal correspondence survey was issued during February and March 2004 to approximately 13,000 DCS customers who have claimed or are in receipt of one of the benefits the DCS administers—disability living allowance, attendance allowance and carer's allowance. 6,390 completed questionnaires were returned.

Analysis of the findings and publication of the full report is currently ongoing and will be made available later in the year.

The cost of the survey was £56,980.

Omnibus Survey and Awareness Research

The Department for Work and Pensions conducts annual omnibus surveys to monitor public awareness of the Department and its responsibilities, and also public attitudes to the Government's welfare reform. The Omnibus Survey was conducted in January 2004 and Awareness Research took place in October 2003. The emerging long-term trend shows a significant improvement in how the Department is regarded among people who experience the system as customers. Consideration is now being given to how we use this information to best effect in Departmental communications. The reports are not currently published.

The cost for both pieces of work is in the region of £25,000.
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DWP Customers' Perception of the quality of service they have received in respect of their Medical Examination

These are monthly surveys. Over the 12-month period from April 2003 to March 2004, overall satisfaction scores ranged from 93 per cent. to 97per cent. Detailed survey findings are reported each month to the DWP's Medical Provision Contract Management Team, together with a Highlight Report. These are not published outside DWP.

The Department pays £7,200 per annum towards the survey costs.

Employer Performance Measure Survey

These are on-going surveys undertaken on a monthly basis. Interviews are conducted with employers that have notified and closed a vacancy with Jobcentre Plus in the previous three months in order to gather views on the service provided for the placing of that particular vacancy. Reports, for internal use, are produced on a quarterly basis.

The cost of these surveys in 2003–04 was £812,000

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