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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many letters to his Department from hon. Members in session (a) 200405 and (b) 200506 remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (i) one month old, (ii) two months old, (iii) three months old, (iv) four months old and (v) over six months old. 
Mr. Plaskitt: During 2004 we received over 13,000 letters from hon. Members to which we replied to 86 per cent. within 20 working days. As at 12 August, there were 54 unanswered letters from hon. Members which were more than one month old and a further 15 that were more than two months old. All of these letters were received since the start of the current parliamentary session.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many resident parents are not receiving maintenance payments from former partners due to technical difficulties experienced by the Child Support Agency's new computer system; what the average sum involved is; what the average time taken to resolve cases via the new computer system is; how many cases have been referred to the Clerical Options Team; and how long on average it took for cases to be resolved clerically in the last period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 22 June 2005]: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mr. Stephen Geraghty. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many resident parents are not receiving maintenance payments from former partners due to technical difficulties experienced by the Child Support Agency's new computer system; what the average sum involved is; what the average time taken to resolve cases via the new computer system is; how many cases have been referred to the Clerical Options Team; and how long on average it took for cases to be resolved clerically in the last period for which figures are available.
I am unable to provide the number of resident parents who are not receiving maintenance payments due to technical difficulties with the new computer system. Similarly I am unable to give you information on the average sum involved. However, we have systems in place to deal with any cases where technical difficulties delay payments to resident parents.
The Agency is presently not in a position to fully answer the question on what the average time taken to resolve a case is. We are progressively improving our management information systems and I will write to you again with the complete answer once the information is available and assured. My predecessor Doug Smith informed the Work and Pensions Select Committee on 17 November 2004 that the average time for handling a case, up to the stage where the maintenance assessment is calculated, was between 15 to 22 weeks.
Around 12,000 cases have been referred to the Agency's Clerical Teams to be progressed clerically. On average the time taken for clerical cases to reach maintenance calculation is 22 weeks from receipt to the clerical team.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent on enforcement by the Child Support Agency in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive. As he is currently on leave I am responding on his behalf.
These amounts reflect the cost of staff deployed directly on enforcement casework. In each of the three years mentioned, the Agency also incurred expenditure of approximately £3 million on progressing cases through the Court System. Information for the years prior to 2003/04 is not available.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the companies from which his Department has purchased goods and services of a total value above £1 million in each of the last three years; and how much was spent in respect of each company. 
Mrs. McGuire: The details of the principal companies with which the Department for Work and Pensions has purchased goods and services in the last three financial years, in order of the total spend with each, have been placed in the Library. The tables show the top 100 companies in 200203 and the top 200 companies in 200304 and 200405. The tables are based on the level of detail collected as standard at the time and identify most, but not all, companies where the spend was over £1 million in the year covered. The additional information about companies that would fall below the threshold of these tables but where spend is over £1 million is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what his estimate is of the number of
12 Sept 2005 : Column 2508W
employees in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies for each year from 198586; what the planned figures are for each year to 200809; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what estimate he has made of the number of staff in the Department, broken down by agency or body within the departmental budget, in each year from 199697 to 200809 (planned); and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions was established in June 2001 bringing together the former Department of Social Security, parts of the former Department of Education and Employment including the Employment Service. The number of staff in the new Department at this date was 119,052. Comparable historical staffing figures before this date are not available.
|30 April 2002||31 March 2003||31 March 2004||31 March 2005|
|The Pension Service||8,782||17,019||18,567||16,189|
|Child Support Agency||10,753||11,256||10,779||9,784|
|Disability and Carers Service||7,380||7,207||7,103||6,506|
|The Rent Service||||||||718|
|Other departmental units||12,892||13,898||12,068||11,874|
|31 March 2006||31 March 2007||31 March 2008|
|The Pension Service||14,200||13,350||9,200|
|Child Support Agency||9,400||9,400||9,400|
|Disability and Carers Service||6,400||5,950||5,550|
|The Rent Service||750||650||200|
|Other departmental units||10,800||10,350||8,450|
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