|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the disregard for income support claimants of working age would be if it had been annually increased in line with (a) prices and (b) earnings. 
|Single||Couple||Lone parent/sick and disabled/carers|
|1987||Actual disregard in 1987||5.00||15.00||15.00|
|Value at 2005 if uprated with RPI||9.60||28.85||28.85|
|Value at 2005 if uprated with Earnings||12.75||38.35||38.35|
|1997||Actual disregard in 1997||5.00||10.00||15.00|
|Value at 2005 if uprated with RPI||6.15||12.20||18.45|
|Value at 2005 if uprated with Earnings||6.95||14.00||20.85|
|2001||Actual disregard in 2001||5.00||10.00||20.00|
|Value at 2005 if uprated with RPI||5.50||10.95||21.95|
|Value at 2005 if uprated with Earnings||5.85||11.70||23.40|
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average cost of processing a claim for income support using the Customer Management System (CMS) is; and what the cost was (a) prior to the introduction of CMS and (b) where the system has yet to be introduced. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question concerning what the average cost of processing a claim for Income Support using the Customer Management System (CMS) is; what the cost was (a) prior to the introduction of CMS and (b) where the system has yet to be introduced. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
In answer to the first part of your question, the implementation of CMS is being progressed on an office-by-office basis along with various other new initiatives. Unit cost data is generated at this level but you will appreciate that this is not the only change impacting on districts over this period of time. You will also appreciate that the significant changes in processing necessitated by CMS mean that some costs are now incurred in different parts of the business. Due to these complexities work to correctly evaluate the impact of CMS implementation has not as yet been completed and I am not currently in a position to provide this data.
However, as part of the original business case, a work study exercise was performed on the part of the Income Support claim process affected by CMS. This identified that pre-CMS, the average cost of this part of the process was £17.40. After CMS is introduced the average cost is expected to fall to £15.09, representing an average saving per claim of £2.31. Jobcentre Plus processes approximately 900,000 new Income Support claims per annum. This would imply an annual saving in the region of £2 million, but this does not take into account all the other benefits arising from more efficient management of customer information.
Nevertheless, when CMS has been fully rolled out across Jobcentre Plus we will be able to compare costs before and after implementation. We are currently intending to perform a full post-implementation evaluation in Spring 2006 when more detailed unit cost information will be available. However, as other initiatives are being implemented in Jobcentre Plus, changes in unit costs may not necessarily be directly attributable to CMS introduction.
Regarding the second part of your question, up to the week commencing 11 July 2005, CMS had been introduced in 24 contact centres and 437 Jobcentre Plus offices around the country, and has yet to be introduced in approximately 62% of the network.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to refund the back-dated income support owed to Jamie Holyoake of Kingsbridge following the decision of the Appeal Tribunal on 16 June at Exeter (registration no. U/03/194/2005/00149). 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply direct to your question concerning payment of Income Support for Mr Jamie Holyoake of Kingsbridge, following an appeal tribunal decision. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Minister for Economic Development of the National Assembly for Wales Government regarding job losses arising out of the reconfiguration of jobcentre services on Wales. 
Margaret Hodge: There have been no specific discussions with the Minister for Economic Development at the Welsh Assembly Government regarding job losses and Jobcentre Plus office closures in Wales however the Department has engaged with many other Welsh representatives on these issues. I have asked the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie, to write to the hon. Member.
The Secretary of State has asked me to write in response to your question regarding discussions he has had with the Minister for Economic Development at the Welsh Assembly Government about job losses arising out of the reconfiguration of Jobcentre services in Wales. The administration of Jobcentre Plus is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive.
In November last year Sheelagh Keyse, the Jobcentre Plus Director for Wales met with Jane Davidson, Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning, to discuss the impact of the changes to service delivery and office closures. At that meeting Mrs Keyse gave an assurance that Jobcentre Plus was committed to avoiding redundancies as far as possible by redeployment, transfers to other Government Departments and Voluntary Early Release Schemes.
Jobcentre Plus is working closely with other Government Departments in Wales, including the Assembly, to ensure that staff affected by these changes have access to other Civil Service vacancies. Compulsory redundancies will only be used as a last resort, where all alternative measures have failed.
I also know that the Jobcentre Plus Management Team in Wales have kept Assembly Members, Members of Parliament and other partners informed of the proposed changes, at regular intervals. They have held a number of meetings with interested parties and as we move to new ways of delivering our services, we will continue to keep everyone fully informed.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the potential change in the number of Welsh speakers employed in jobcentres following reconfiguration of the organisation; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of reconfiguration on jobcentres' ability to provide services to the public through the medium of the Welsh language; and what steps he is taking to ensure that this ability is maintained. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply direct to your questions concerning Jobcentre Plus' Modernisation Programme and the impact upon its Welsh Language service. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to Lesley Strathie as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus. As she is currently on leave I am responding on her behalf.
Firstly, I must re-affirm Jobcentre Plus' commitment to providing a fully bi-lingual service to our customers in Wales. Although we will be changing the way we deliver some of our services, it is not envisaged that these changes will have an adverse effect upon our Welsh Language service.
The provision of an effective Welsh Language service is no longer dependent upon the existence of a large number of public facing offices. We are conducting more of our business by telephone or on-line. Where it is necessary to see a customer in person this is generally done by appointment, allowing enough time to arrange for a suitably skilled member of staff to conduct the interview in the customer's language of choice.
You will no doubt recall that David Anderson, the former Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, wrote to you in September last year, in response to your earlier question about our Welsh Language service. In his letter, Mr Anderson outlined the steps we were taking to safeguard this service, which included our plans for a new Contact Centre in Bangor, North Wales and I am now in a position to confirm that our Bangor site will open in April 2006, providing employment opportunities for up to 330 staff.
Whilst I am unable to say specifically how many of our Welsh speaking staff, or for that matter their English speaking colleagues, will be affected by the changes in the way we deliver our services, the availability of Welsh speakers, amongst both our existing workforce and, more generally, the local population, was a key influencing factor when deciding to locate to Bangor. We envisage that a minimum of 50 staff, at this site, will be engaged full-time, in providing a dedicated Welsh Language service to our customers.
I am confident that the commitments we have entered into in the Department's Welsh Language Scheme, along with our significant investment in Bangor, will mean that Jobcentre Plus is well placed to provide a robust Welsh Language service for many years to come.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|