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21 Nov 2005 : Column 1668W—continued


Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what mechanisms are in place to assess the effectiveness of consultant-led projects in his Department; what sanctions are available to penalise consultants who run unsuccessful projects; how many projects conducted by consultants were assessed as unsuccessful in each year since 2000; and what sanctions were imposed in each case. [29118]

Margaret Hodge: DWP do not use consultants to lead projects within the Department as they are only engaged to support DWP-led projects.

The majority of engagements for consultancy are awarded on a fixed price basis with payment only made when products have been satisfactorily delivered. Longer-term engagements will have a number of break/review points built into the contract where the customer will review what has been delivered. In cases of poor delivery the contract can be terminated. Therefore, we do not have a system of sanctions in place, consultants are paid if and when we are satisfied with the work delivered. Some contracts will also include a performance based system of incentivisation.


Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the Minister of State will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood, dated 22 September concerning job vacancies. [26642]

Margaret Hodge: I replied to my right hon. Friend on 15 November 2005.

Customer Management Systems

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the operation of the second-generation customer management system in call centres and benefits offices, with particular reference to efficiency in (a) call handling, (b) payment of benefits and (c) interaction with local authority housing benefit claims. [28691]

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Margaret Hodge: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lesley Strathie to Mr. Tim Boswell, dated 21 November 2005:

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Departmental Budget

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the latest estimate is of underspend by his Department (a) in cash terms and (b) as a percentage of departmental budget for financial year 2004–05. [18463]

Mrs. McGuire: Outturn information for the Department for Work and Pensions was published in the Public Expenditure Outturn White Paper 2004–05 (Cm. 6639).

Disability Living Allowance

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in West Lancashire are in receipt of disability living allowance high rate case component as well as high rate mobility. [27836]

Mrs. McGuire: The administration of disability living allowance is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Disability and Carers Service, Mr. Terry Moran. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Terry Moran to Rosie Cooper, dated 21 November 2005:

Disability living allowance, claimants in West Lancashire Parliamentary Constituency, receiving both higher rate mobility and highest rate care components, as at May 2005

Higher components DLA0.9

1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred and are expressed in thousands.
2. Parliamentary constituencies are allocated using the relevant ONS postcode.
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

General Medical Service

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the Department has made a submission to the General Medical Service contract review. [28256]

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Margaret Hodge: General practitioners have a key role to play in contributing to the success of the Government's welfare reform agenda. They remain the first point of contact for patients and have a significant influence in helping people with health conditions or disabilities remain in work, or regain fitness for work at the appropriate time.

The Department for Work and Pensions is working closely with the Department of Health to provide incentives to general practitioners to assist their patients of working age to remain fit for work or regain fitness for work. A submission has been made to include, as one of the requirements in the quality outcomes framework of the GP contract, referral for employment advice of patients with mental health problems whose job would be at risk.

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