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Neither the Agency nor the service supplier (EDS) are aware that any data has been lost from the new computer system (CS2) in any area of the country. Any information relating to child support cases that has been saved to the system is retained in the system.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what performance standards are contractually required for the provision of the Customer Management computer system; what sanctions there are for the system provider if the standards are not met; on what occasions these standards have not been met; and what action was taken as a result. 
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has asked me to reply to your question concerning the performance standards that are contractually required for the provision of the Customer Management computer system; what sanctions there are for the system provider if the standards are not met; on what occasions these standards have not been met; and what action was taken as a result. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The CMS service availability level measures the extent to which the CMS end to end operational service is accessible for use by all CMS registered users in each Service Management Period (SMP). The service level for CMS is that the system should be available for at least 98.5 percent of the time in each SMP. This has not been met on four occasions since CMS began in October 2003.
The other criteria that we use to measure system performance are system response times that are measured using a variety of different system transactions. These have not been met on only one occasion.
There are sanctions for non-compliance with the service levels in the form of service credits against the service charge for the SMP. The value of the service credits increases on a pre-determined scale depending on the extent of the failure. We have claimed back the appropriate service credits on each of the five occasions that the service levels have not been met.
Throughout, we have worked jointly with our service providers on a programme of continual and sustained service improvement resulting in a number of system releases during 2004 and 2005 to remove non-critical system defects and improve the performance and reliability of the system.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the costs were to his Department of external (a) consultants, (b) advisers, (c) accountants and (d) lawyers in each of the last six years. 
Expenditure on externally provided management and technical support, including consultants, advisers, accountants and lawyers is as follows, however the figures cover costs for a more comprehensive definition than the categories requested. It includes management and IT consultants, staff providing professional services, including financial and legal services.
|Total (£ million)|
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on external consultants and advisers by (a) his Department, (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) executive agency for which his Department is responsible and (c) each
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independent statutory body, organisation and body financially sponsored by his Department in each year since May 1997. 
Margaret Hodge: Spend on external consultants and advisers since May 1997 (where available) is in the table. Spend for April 2005 to date is also given in some instances but is not yet available in every case.
|Financial year||£ million|
(b) (i) Each non-departmental public body. Listed are those who operate separate accounting systems, others for example the Independent Review Service and the National Employer Panel are included in the total at answer (a).
With the exception of The Rent Service and The Health and Safety Executive listed in the table, who operate separate accounting systems, the agencies within the Department are included in the total at answer (a) . Our systems do no allow us to separate the Departmental agencies from the Departmental total.
|200506 to date||1,800|
|200506 to date||620,000|
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