Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many times the appraisal system for each pay bargaining unit in his Department has been changed in the last five years; and how many staff are fully or partly employed in connection with pay negotiations in each pay bargaining unit, broken down by grade. 
Maria Eagle: In June 2001 the Department for Work and Pensions was formed from the Department of Social Security (DSS) and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment (DfEE). The department inherited seven different legacy appraisal systems. This was unsustainable given our desire for consistency and fairness throughout DWP. Staff continued to use their legacy appraisal system while a new DWP Performance and Development System (PDS) was developed. The new system was developed taking into account best practise within government and the private sector and the central rules regarding appraisals as set out in Chapter 6 of the Civil Service Management Code.
The following table shows the numbers and grades of staff in DWP employed in connection with pay negotiation in respect of pay negations for 2004. Only a small number of the staff identified in the table are extensively engaged in the pay negotiations. Most are responsible for specific areas of pay policy and feed in their expertise to the pay negotiations at the appropriate time.
|Grade of staff
|Number of staff
|Grade 6/Band G
|Grade 7/Band F
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether it is his Department's policy to implement the proposals in the recent cross-cutting interdepartmental review of contracting with the voluntary sector. 
Mr. Pond: It is the Department for Work and Pension's policy to implement the proposals of the Cross Cutting Review on the role of the Voluntary and Community Sector in Service Delivery that relate to departmental contracting with the voluntary sector. Action to implement the wider recommendations of the Review is lead by the Active Communities Unit in the Home Office.
The department follows the cross-Government Compact framework for guiding relationships with the Voluntary and Community Sector set up in 1998. The Cross Cutting Review identified a widespread failure to implement the Compact and its Codes, and recommended that all departments take action to ensure that it is mainstreamed into normal business. The department has appointed a senior Compact Champion and established a Compact Working Group that is actively developing a Compact Implementation Strategy, working closely with the Active Communities Unit.
As an example of its constructive response, the department volunteered to take forward recommendation 18 of the Cross Cutting Review, on behalf of other Government Departments. The aim is to reduce the level of bureaucracy involved in contracting between the Voluntary and Community Sector and Government Departments. A Lead Funder project has worked with three voluntary organisationsThe Prince's Trust, NACRO and Project Full Employand sought to reduce bureaucracy through a method of "passporting" pre-contractual information and streamlining the monitoring of contracts post contract award. The pilots have had some success and identified opportunities for departments to become more aligned and consistent in the way they contract with this sector. The project will report back to the Home Office with a range of recommendations in March 2005. The project has established a dedicated website www.dwp.gov.uk/leadfunder where common information for each of the voluntary sector organisations is accessible to public sector funding bodies.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many properties are held by the Department; what total floor space these properties provide; how many properties are vacant; and how much floor space vacant properties comprise. 
Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's policy is in relation to the storage and deletion of emails; and whether this policy has been reviewed in the past 12 months. 
Maria Eagle: The Department for Work and Pensions continues to implement well established policies and procedures for the review and disposal of files in accordance with its administrative needs and the Public Records Act.
Email messages that form part of the official record are saved for as long as business needs require and stored corporately in accordance with departmental record management procedures. Further email guidance is available on the National Archives website at: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/electronicrecords/advice/pdf/managing_emails.pdf
Maria Eagle: This Department published its first Race Equality Scheme "Equality, Opportunity and Independence for All", in May 2002. This publication was issued as a consultation document, and following staff and stakeholder feedback, a revised scheme "Realising Race Equality in the Department for Work and Pensions" was published in July 2003. The scheme lists our functions and policies in order of priority for any potential impact on race equality, and sets out our plans for consultation and monitoring in respect of employment and service delivery functions.
We have recently worked with the Home Office, CRE and other Government Departments to produce an impact assessment tool. This tool has been used to assess several high profile policies, and is now in general use across the Department. Impact Assessment is a priority function in this Department.
All of the DWP agencies carry out these surveys, and all include questions on ethnicity. The 2004 survey carried out by Jobcentre Plus has been evaluated, and has shown that overall satisfaction levels of ethnic minorities are comparable to those of the white majority. 80 per cent. of black and 77 per cent. of Asian respondents were either fully or fairly satisfied with the services provided.
Ethnic minority outreach programmes are in place across the Department and feedback from customers involved in these help inform us whether our services are accessible to these groups. The Department has also set up the Ethnic Minority Working Party, with which we consult regularly on issues affecting ethnic minority groups. We also meet regularly with the Black and Minority Ethnic Elders Group, and the Ethnic Minority Forum, which comprises over 700 organisations, meets bi-annually.