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16 Dec 2004 : Column 1295W—continued


Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps have been taken since 1997 to recruit more male primary school teachers; and what the costs were of advertising and promotional campaigns to that end. [205055]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Since 1997, the main activity to increase overall numbers of male primary school teachers has been through the Teacher Training Agency's recruitment campaign. This includes targeting sections of the media with a predominantly male audience and encompasses advertising, public relations and other forms of marketing and promotional activity. Since 1999/2000, the earliest year for which figures are available, there has been a 36 per cent. increase in the number of male primary trainee teachers.

It is not possible to disaggregate the specific costs of campaigns aimed at attracting men into primary teaching.

Truancy (Penalty Notice)

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what estimate she has made of the likely costs to agencies involved in administering an individual fixed penalty notice for non-school attendance issued by a local education authority; [205404]

(2) what estimate the Department has made of the number of fixed penalty notices for non-attendance that a local education authority would need to issue to parents for this scheme to be cost neutral to the local authority. [205405]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The administration of the penalty notices scheme for truancy is a matter for the relevant local education authority. The cost to each authority will depend on local circumstances and local arrangements.

We have no estimate of the cost of administering an individual penalty notice for truancy nor of the numbers that would need to be issued to render the scheme cost neutral.


Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people with autistic spectrum disorders are using Government specialist employment programmes. [204482]

Maria Eagle: The information is not available.

Benefit Fraud

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2004, Official Report, column 368W, on benefit fraud, what the reasons are for the reduction in the number of local authority benefit fraud inspectors. [205293]

Malcolm Wicks: The information requested is not available as staffing levels are a matter for individual local authorities. There have been some changes to the
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methodology used to construct these figures, introduced to ease the burden on local authorities. These probably account for some of the reduction, but the exact impact is not available. Whilst it may appear that there may be fewer staff investigating fraud our latest figures show improvements in performance with a year on year increase in the number of successful prosecutions and sanctions.

The Government's strategy focuses on preventing fraud from entering the benefits system, deterring those who may be tempted and detecting it when it does happen. We have adopted an end-to-end approach which protects benefits from the point of claim right through to the cessation of payment. There is therefore a far greater number of local authority benefit staff involved in some aspect of programme protection than the number of fraud investigators would imply, although the precise split is not available.

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which local authorities have been inspected by the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate since it was established; and what percentage this represents of the total number of local authorities. [205301]

Malcolm Wicks: The information is in the following list. 41 per cent. of local authorities have been inspected.

Benefit Fraud Inspectorate Published Reports:

Name and Type of Inspection

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Benefit Fraud Inspectorate Completed:

Inspections: where reports await publication/entering on website.

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