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3 Nov 2004 : Column 340W—continued

WORK AND PENSIONS

Benefit Claimant Appointees

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many benefit claimants there are for whom an appointee has been appointed under Regulation 33 of the Claims and Payments regulations. [195684]

Mr. Pond: The information requested is not available. The only available information is for the number of pension credit and income support claimants with appointees.

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what checks are undertaken on an individual who has applied to be an appointee to make and receive benefits on behalf of a claimant. [195686]

Mr. Pond: An officer experienced in appointee work will interview the prospective appointee to obtain information from them to establish whether they are an appropriate and suitable person to act.
 
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The officer will also advise the prospective appointee of the roles and responsibilities of the appointment and confirm that they understand these and are willing to undertake them before any appointment is made. They will be asked to sign a declaration that they will act in the best interests of the claimant.

The prospective appointee will also be advised that the appointment can be revoked.

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what checks are undertaken by staff in his Department to ascertain whether a claimant lacks the capacity to manage his benefit income. [195687]

Mr. Pond: A visiting officer, experienced in appointee work, undertakes an independent assessment of a customer's ability to manage his or her own affairs based on departmental 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.

Benefit Processing

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what date he expects benefit processing will move from Edgware benefit office to another London location; what the other London location will be; and if he will make a statement. [194848]

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. Andrew Dismore, dated 3 November 2004:

Consultants

Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the contracts awarded by his Department to consultants in each of the last five years, stating in each case (a) the name of the consulting company, (b) the value of the contract and (c) the purpose for which the contract was awarded; and if he will make a statement. [191736]

Jane Kennedy: The Department for Work and Pensions was established in June 2001.

The information from June 2001 to March 2004 is not available in the format requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Housing Benefit

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many convictions for fraud regarding the payment of housing benefit there have been in the last 12 months. [194150]


 
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Mr. Pond: In the 12 months up to 30 September 2004, the total number of convictions for fraud regarding housing benefit and council tax benefit was 4,135. Information is not available on the number of convictions for housing benefit only.

Information and Communication Specialists

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much the Department spent on outside information technology and communication specialist consultants and engineers in the 2003–04 financial year. [191914]

Maria Eagle: The Department for Work and Pensions spent £139.66 million on outside information technology and communication specialist consultants and engineers in the 2003–04 financial year.

Jobcentre Plus Offices

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what advice on debt management is available from Jobcentre Plus offices. [194501]

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. David Taylor, dated 3 November 2004:

New Deal

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have gained work through the New Deal for Lone Parents in (a) the Edinburgh West constituency, (b) the City of Edinburgh local authority area, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [194989]


 
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Jane Kennedy: The available information is in the following table.
Number of people who have gained work through the New Deal for Lone Parents

Number
Edinburgh West constituency320
City of Edinburgh local authority2,250
Scotland30,620
Great Britain276,690




Notes:
Figures are from the start of the programme in October 1998 to June 2004, and have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Source:
New Deal Evaluation Database




John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people are participating in the New Deal for Lone Parents in (a) the Edinburgh West constituency, (b) the City of Edinburgh local authority area, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [194990]

Jane Kennedy: The available information is in the following table.
Number of people participating in the New Deal for Lone Parents at the end of June 2004

Number
Edinburgh West constituency120
City of Edinburgh local authority930
Scotland10,910
Great Britain106,670




Notes:
1. Figures relate to the number of people participating in New Deal for Lone Parents at the end of June 2004, and have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Source:
New Deal Evaluation Database




David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Telford have secured work through the New Deal for lone parents. [195426]

Jane Kennedy: 730 lone parents in Telford have gained work through the New Deal for lone parents since the start of the programme in October 1998.


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