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Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the efficiency of the computer system dealing with the processing of claims for jobseeker's allowance. 
Claims to JSA are processed using two computer systems. The JSA Payments Systems (JSAPS) which was implemented in 1996 is used to process completed claims and make payments of JSA to customers. This system has a very good record of reliability. Since 2003 Jobcentre Plus has been introducing a new process for taking claims for benefit, supported by the Customer Management computer system (CMS).
Jobcentre Plus is undergoing a massive change programme and is making considerable investment in improved IT. CMS is the first stage of our IT modernisation programme and is being implemented as part of the roll out programme to support the Jobcentre Plus new and repeat claim standard operating model. We started to introduce CMS in October 2003 and we brought in additional enhancements in December 2004 with CMS release 2. CMS Release 2 introduced new functionality to enable electronic data transfer from CMS to legacy benefit systems including JSAPS. Electronic data transfer replaces the need for manual re-keying of information that has already been gathered in CMS as part of the new claims process.
The modifications introduced by CMS release 2 led to some transitional problems with reliability and speed. These problems have since been addressed through a series of performance releases and CMS and is now delivering as agreed.
CMS Release 3, which went live on 31 October 2005, has been driven by user feedback and introduced a number of enhancements that make the process easier to follow and reduces the opportunity for error and the subsequent need for re-work. The enhancements to CMS Release 3 have been well received by staff.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents have had (a) work-focused interviews every six months, (b) their income support reduced as a sanction for failure to attend a compulsory work-focused interview and (c) their work-focused interview deferred or waived since the sanctioning regime was introduced. 
Margaret Hodge: Lone Parents are required to participate in a Work Focused Interview (WFI) when they make a new claim for income support (IS). They are also required to attend a WFI after six months and 12 months on IS and annually thereafter. WFIs for existing IS customers were rolled out from April 2001. Since October 2005, lone parents with a youngest child aged at least 14 have been required to attend a WFI at quarterly intervals.
|New and repeat|
|Existing claimants||Six month review meetings||Annual|
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on the current performance of each New Deal programme in respect of (a) the number of job-placements and (b) the cost-effectiveness of each placement. 
|Number of people gaining|
|Average cost per person gaining|
a job (£)
|New Deal for Young People||1,699||620,000||2,739|
|New Deal for 25 plus||800||237,000||3,377|
|New Deal for 50 Plus||254||140,000||1,813|
|New Deal for Disabled People||133||61,000||2,180|
|New Deal for Lone Parents||97||397,000||244|
|New Deal for Partners||3||4,000||939|
The cost of helping people into work varies across the New Deals as programmes have different client groups and components. People on the mandatory New Deal programmes have generally been claiming jobseeker's allowance for some time, and can require more intensive support to overcome employment barriers than those participating on some of the voluntary New Deals. Costs can also be higher if allowances are paid to participants and employers, and can also be influenced by payments to external providers.
An investment in helping people into work, including those claiming Incapacity benefit, not only makes an immediate difference to those individuals, but also results in savings to the economy in future benefit payments.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of the total number of recorded job entries through the new deal for disabled people, excluding pathways to work pilot areas, (a) returned to incapacity benefits and (b) claimed jobseeker's allowance within (i) one month, (ii) two months, (iii) six months and (iv) 12 months in (A) 200304 and (B) 200405. 
|Proportion claiming Jobseekers allowance within period stated|
|Proportion claiming incapacity benefits within period stated|
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of young people (a) starting and (b) completing the New Deal for Young People have lacked basic skills. 
Margaret Hodge: When New Deal for Young People (NDYP) participants attend their first NDYP interview, their personal adviser will consider whether it is appropriate to refer them for a formal basic skills assessment. If a basic skills need is identified during the assessment, NDYP participants can be referred to Basic Skills provision, which will aim to address their skills needs.
Between April 2001 and July 2005 there were 715,130 starts to New Deal for Young People, of which 86,430 (12 per cent.) subsequently started Basic Skills provision while on the programme 1 . Information is not available prior to April 2001. Information on the number of people lacking basic skills on completion of New Deal for Young People is not collected.
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