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6 Dec 2005 : Column 1195W—continued

Consultants/Special Advisers

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) consultants and (b) special advisers were employed by his Department in each year since 1997; what the cost of each was in each year; and if he will make a statement. [27409]

Margaret Hodge: Consultants are not employed by this Department but are engaged under contractual arrangements. We are unable to provide an answer to how many consultants were engaged by this Department in each year since 1997 without incurring disproportionate cost.

The cost to the Department of consultants engaged in each year is given in the table. Please note DWP was formed in June 2001, therefore there is no expenditure for this Department prior to this date.
£ million

Management consultancy23.7947.57223.3598.64
IT consultancy70.6793.4783.3769.73

Since 2003, the Government have published on an annual basis the names and overall cost of special advisers and the number in each pay band. For the most recent information I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister on Thursday 21 July 2005, Official Report, 158–62WS.

Information on the numbers of special advisers prior to 2003 was provided at regular intervals and this information will be available in the Library of the House.
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Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood, of 22 September 2005, reference POS (7) 10476/0058, which was acknowledged on 11 October 2005. [32463]

Margaret Hodge: Matthew Nicholas, the Acting Director for External Relations and Communications replied to the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood on the 28 November 2005 on behalf of the chief executive for Jobcentre Plus, Leslie Strathie.

Data Protection

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many enforcement notices have been served on his Department by the Information Commissioner in connection with the Data Protection Act 1998 since it came into force. [20342]

Mrs. McGuire: No enforcement notices have been served on the Department.

Departmental Skills Development Plan

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which individual is responsible for developing and implementing his Department's Skills Development Plan. [23915]

Mrs. McGuire: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend, the former Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 2 November, Official Report, column 1074W.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people are employed by his Department (a) at each of its sites and (b) by each (i) agency and (ii) directorate of his Department at each of its sites along the Fylde coast; [19191]

(2) how many jobs are planned to be lost from his Department along the Fylde coast; and which (a) agencies and (b) sites these job losses will affect. [19192]

Mrs. McGuire: The number of people employed on the Fylde coast by agency and corporate centre directorates by site is shown in the following table.

Business and work force plans continue to be developed across the Department. At this time information on any planned job losses on the Fylde coast is not available.
SiteTownAgency/UnitHeadcountFull-time equivalent
Fleetwood Road NorthBlackpoolJobcentre Plus1815
Queen StreetBlackpoolJobcentre Plus6257
Marton MereBlackpoolJobcentre Plus333310
Mexford HouseBlackpoolThe Pension Service252241
National Savings BuildingsBlackpoolJobcentre Plus2724
NorcrossBlackpoolDisability and Carers Service786725
NorcrossBlackpoolFinance Directorate884831
NorcrossBlackpoolHuman Resources202182
NorcrossBlackpoolProgramme and Systems Delivery98
NorcrossBlackpoolDebt Management8680
NorcrossBlackpoolJobcentre Plus3230
NorcrossBlackpoolThe Pension Service33
Peel ParkBlackpoolCommunications3433
Peel ParkBlackpoolFinance1717
Peel ParkBlackpoolHuman Resources44
Peel ParkBlackpoolProgramme and Systems Delivery9894
Peel ParkBlackpoolThe Pension Service4746
Tydesley RoadBlackpoolJobcentre Plus5148
Warbreck HillBlackpoolDisability and Carers Service2,4762,189
Debt Management6057
Government BuildingsLytham St. AnnesDisability and Carers Service3131
Government BuildingsLytham St. AnnesChild Support Agency357295
Government BuildingsLytham St. AnnesFinance Directorate3433
Government BuildingsLytham St. AnnesHuman Resources88
Government BuildingsLytham St. AnnesInformation Division109
Government BuildingsLytham St. AnnesProgramme and Systems Delivery7268
Government BuildingsLytham St. AnnesWork, Welfare and Equality Group1817
Government BuildingsLytham St. AnnesJobcentre Plus572545
Government BuildingsLytham St. AnnesThe Pension Service9391
Westmorland HouseLytham St. AnnesJobcentre Plus3837
Beacon RoadPoulton Le FyldeDisability and Carers Service9175

1. Figures are point in time at 31 August 2005.
2. Temporary staff are included.
3. Full-time equivalent expresses part-time hours as a proportion of full-time hours.

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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training in (a) literacy and (b) numeracy is offered to employees of his Department. [21124]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) makes a number of learning resources available to meet the work-related literacy and numeracy needs of its staff. These resources address specific business needs such as effective briefing and written communication with customers and are provided either as face-to-face courses or as blended learning solutions. All staff have a Personal Development Plan which is reviewed twice yearly with their manager and any development needs, including literacy and numeracy needs, are identified and addressed.

In addition, DWP has entered into a partnership with its main trade union, the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), to address the basic literacy and numeracy needs of its staff. Since March 2004 this has been the main focus of activity of the union learning representative (ULR) network that has been established within DWP.

ULRs encourage staff to assess their skills and support them to address any learning need they identify through a local college or Learndirect. The DWP is committed to help staff by providing any necessary time off to attend learning designed to bring their skills up to level 2 of the national qualifications framework.

The PCS has made provision for staff at our offices in Newcastle and Leeds to access learning to level 2 at their workplace. This type of internal provision is likely to increase as more staff assess their basic skills using an online diagnostic tool that will be available to them in the new year.

DNA Bioscience

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which contracts of his Department and its agencies are being bid for by DNA Bioscience; and if he will make a statement. [30568]

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Margaret Hodge: No contracts of DWP or its agencies are being bid for by DNA Bioscience.

Gershon Review

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made, in terms of (a) headcount reductions and (b) cost savings, in achieving the efficiency objectives set for the Department by the Gershon review. [21292]

Mrs. McGuire: Progress was reported in Budget 2005 and in the departmental annual reports. Further progress will be reported in the autumn performance reports and at aggregate level in the pre-Budget report.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many full-time equivalent employee reductions there have been in his Department as a result of the Gershon review; what cost savings relating to IT projects were achieved; what value of efficiency savings (a) were achieved in 2004–05 and (b) are expected to be achieved in 2005–06; and if he will make a statement. [24333]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 3 November 2005]: Staffing within the Department at the end of September 2005 was 116,417 full-time equivalents, an overall reduction in headcount of 14,215. In order to meet the efficiency challenge, the Department has implemented business change programmes and projects that are enabled by changes to our IT systems. These programmes and projects have provided savings of around £150 million for 2004–05. The Department has an efficiency target for 2007–08 but no intermediate target for 2005–06.

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