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2 Nov 2004 : Column 247W—continued

Job Search (Assistance)

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what provision is made at Job Centres for people who have (a) poor literacy standards and (b) no information technology skills with respect to helping them find jobs; and if he will make a statement. [195503]

Jane Kennedy: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, David Anderson. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from David Anderson to Mr. Laurence Robertson, dated 2 November 2004:

2 Nov 2004 : Column 248W

Medical Referrals

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in how many cases the staff in his Department have referred to a medical practitioner to establish whether a claimant lacked the capacity to manage his or her benefits in the last year for which figures are available. [195230]

Mr. Pond: The information is not available.

The Department does not normally require a report by a qualified medical officer before granting an appointeeship. A visiting officer, experienced in appointee work, will make an independent assessment of a customer's ability to manage his or her own affairs based on Department guidelines. In cases where there is doubt the opinion of a suitably qualified professional may be sought, for example, a social worker, community psychiatric nurse or general practitioner.

Special Advisers

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many unpaid special advisers the Department has; what their names are; and which Government (a) bodies, (b) committees and (c) strategy groups each unpaid adviser (i) belongs to, (ii) advises and (iii) works alongside. [194082]

Alan Johnson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend and Minister for the Cabinet Office (Ruth Kelly) on 28 October 2004, volume 425, column 1380W.

Special advisors, whether paid or unpaid, are employed under the terms and conditions set out in the Model Contract for Special Advisers. Unpaid advisors are appointed in accordance with the requirements of paragraph 51 of the Ministerial Code.