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18 Nov 2004 : Column 1880W—continued

Departmental Property/Staff

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the properties occupied (a) by his Department and (b) by its agencies in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2004, showing (1) for each and (2) in aggregate (A) the area and (B) the annual rental value. [195431]

Maria Eagle: The information requested is not available for 1997.

Such information that is available for 2004 is in the table. A separate list providing details of the floor area for all 1,743 DWP properties, grouped by region and DWP major occupying business, has been placed in the Library.
Size and cost of the DWP estate at April 2004

DWP 1Figures
PRIME sq m(18)2,481,539.62
Non PRIME sq m(19)108,000.00
Total size (million sq m rounded)(20)2.590
Overall annual facilities price (£ million)(21)529.3

(17) Information about the size of the DWP estate is available only from April 2004 subsequent to a detailed measuring exercise undertaken when the PRIME PFI contract was expanded to include the former Employment Service estate. Information about the former ES estate prior to this date is not available.
(18) PRIME space is occupied under the terms of the PRIME PFI contract and includes space occupied by other Government Departments (OGDs) within DWP buildings.
(19) Non PRIME space is where DWP has a part occupation in the building of an other Government Department (OGD).
(20) Information about floor area is held at departmental level only. Information about the space occupied (not net internal area of buildings) by each of the Department's agencies is currently being gathered and should be available early in the new year.
(21) The overall facilities price (FP) paid is shown. Details of annual rental value are not available as the PRIME PFI procured serviced accommodation as a global price, customised by building, and it is not possible now to extract a separate price for each traditional element covered by the FP. Rent in Non PRIME space is paid directly by the Department's businesses to OGDs and the information is not recorded centrally, although the overall FP recorded above does include the cost of facilities management services delivered through the PRIME contract to Non PRIME building occupants.

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the (a) location and (b) numbers of staff employed in each benefit processing centre. [188985]

Maria Eagle: Benefit processing is carried out by Jobcentre Plus, the Disability and Carers Service and the Pension Service.
18 Nov 2004 : Column 1881W

Currently, Jobcentre Plus has about 21,000 staff involved in benefit processing, spread across 633 sites. The majority of these sites are primarily involved in delivering our Welfare to Work programmes and have very few staff processing benefits. Currently there are three benefit centres, the primary function of which is processing benefits. Jobcentre Plus benefits processing will be centralised in 81 sites by 2008.

The former Secretary of State made an announcement to the House on 29 June 2004, Official Report, columns 8–9WS, regarding the future of Pension Service centres. The Secretary of State announced on 16 September 2004, Official Report, columns 178–80WS, details of the 81 sites which will carry out benefit processing by 2008.

The information for the three Jobcentre Plus benefit centres, Disability and Carers Service centres and the Pension Service centres are in the tables.
Jobcentre Plus benefit centres (August 2004)

Benefit centreNumber of staff

Disability and Carers Service processing centres (August 2004)

Processing centreNumber of staff

(22) Fylde coast has approximately 600 staff involved in functions outside benefit processing. A small number of staff at each of the other sites are not directly involved in benefit processing.

Pension Service centres (August 2004)

Pension centreNumber of staff
Bath PC400
Birmingham PC366
Blackpool PC187
Burnley PC506
Cwmbran PC238
Dearne Valley PC372
Derby PC290
Dundee PC494
London PC (Glasgow)484
Leicester PC280
Liverpool PC253
Motherwell PC499
London PC (Newcastle)584
Norwich BH PC255
Norwich KH PC308
Nottingham PC238
Plymouth PC360
Seaham PC371
Stockport PC688
Stockton PC317
Swansea PC529
Walsall PC253
Warrington PC483
Wolverhampton PC378
Wrexham PC382
York PC285

The table shows the number of core processing and management and support staff in post at the end of August 2004. Staff working on local services, projects and central functions are not included.

18 Nov 2004 : Column 1882W

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's guidance on activities that may be undertaken by staff in redeployment units. [196508]

Maria Eagle: The Pension Service redeployment unit is currently the only redeployment unit within the Department. When an individual transfers to the Redeployment Unit, they will spend the majority of their time looking for a new job. They may be asked to undertake temporary projects or tasks whilst assigned to the Redeployment Unit, but the duration of these projects and tasks will not exceed 2 months and therefore do not affect an individual's surplus status.

Specific guidance on activities that may be undertaken by staff in the unit has been placed in the Library.

Disability Living Allowance

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what research his Department has undertaken into the cost involved in removing the bar on disabled people over the age of 65 years from claiming disability living allowance. [198290]

Maria Eagle: None, because there is no reliable data available on which research could be properly based.

Entitlement to disability living allowance can only be reliably established after a claim has been made and the mobility and care needs of the customer assessed.


Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of a person's ethnicity on their access to public services within the responsibilities of his Department. [143573]

Maria Eagle: DWP has a range of measures in place to assess the effect of ethnicity on access to public services.

We are looking towards improving the way we assess the impact of our services on ethnic minorities, and for this reason have worked in partnership with Home Office and Commission for Racial Equality to develop a system which will help us to achieve this.

There is a corporate monitoring project being undertaken in the Department to identify the gaps in information we have on the ethnicity of our customers.

Jobcentre Plus currently monitor the ethnicity of all customers who attend work focused interviews.
18 Nov 2004 : Column 1883W

Customer satisfaction surveys are carried out by Jobcentre Plus, Pensions Service, Child Support Agency, Disability and Carers Directorate and Appeals Service which include questions on ethnicity. The results of these surveys help us to assess our services and act on any shortcomings.

Ethnic minority outreach programmes are in place across the Department and feedback from customers involved in these can help to inform us whether our services are accessible to ethnic minority groups.

The Department has set up the Ethnic Minority Working Party, with which we consult regularly on issues which affect ethnic minority groups. We also meet regularly with the Black and Minority Ethnic Elders Group.

A range of research has been commissioned to explore the question of ethnicity and barriers to take up of various benefits and services. Full assessments have not yet been made on the results of these, but action is being taken in response to some of the findings. These include:

Copies of the research publications are available in the Library.

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