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The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions concerning what the cost was of implementing the Customer Management computer systems (a) CMS, (b) CMS2 and (c) CMS3. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
CMS and CMS2 were inter-related developments of the system and the costs were not separated. CMS3 was a release designed to improve the operation of the system based on lessons learned from the earliest deployment in a live environment.
A copy of the CMS business case was given to the Work and Pensions Parliamentary Select Committee in November 2005 and shows that savings of £61.5 million are estimated for each year when CMS is fully deployed and the resulting changes in working practices and culture have become the norm. Total savings are expected to exceed total costs over the 10 years up to 201213 by £98 million.
Mr. Plaskitt: DWP operates a formal security accreditation process for all departmental computer systems to ensure that confidence can be placed in the appropriateness and effectiveness of security controls within these systems, and to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
DWP recognizes that Identity and Access Management is a critical element of a robust IT system security capability. DWP are working closely with leading IT security vendors and integrators to ensure that effective Identity and Access Management IT controls are designed into new DWP IT systems and which will complement and strengthen existing security controls within legacy IT systems.
The Department is continuously reviewing and revising its strategy, capabilities and operations in this area to ensure that the Department's security controls remain effective and are capable of addressing emerging threats such as identify theft.
Margaret Hodge: The Department is on track to meet its Gershon review efficiency targets, the baselines for which are March 2004. Progress against the targets has been reported in the Department's Autumn Performance Report which was laid before Parliament on 15 December 2005.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make a statement on the initial activity undertaken by his Department in response to those recommendations in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit Report Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People where lead responsibility was assigned to all Government Departments. 
The new Office for Disability Issues (ODI) will report annually to the Prime Minister on cross-government progress in implementing the Strategy Unit report, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People. The first report is due to be published by summer 2006. It will contain an assessment of the activity undertaken both by the ODI and by relevant Government Departments to fulfil the responsibilities and recommendations set out in Strategy Unit's report.
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The Department for Work and Pensions has responded positively to the recommendations of the Strategy Unit report and, working closely with colleagues from other Departments, established the cross-government ministerial steering group that is taking forward the Government's strategy to deliver substantive equality for disabled people by 2025. The Department co-ordinated cross-government efforts in setting up the Office for Disability Issues, which was launched on 1 December this year, and partnered with the Department of Health and ODPM in the development of the pilots for individual budgets, announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health on 21 November 2005. The Department is also leading an exercise to appoint people onto an advisory group that will work with disability organisations, disabled people, and Government officials to develop proposals for a national forum for organisations of disabled people.
The Department for Work and Pensions is also committed to taking forward the recommendations in the Life Chances report on employment, working with other Government Departments to achieve these. Progress against these recommendations will be published in the ODI annual report. The Life Chances report, and the recommendations within it are key in helping the Department for Work and Pensions in reviewing the employment services offered to disabled people, and in considering how best to reform incapacity benefit to ensure that disabled people are empowered and supported within the labour market.
Work is underway on a project to research information and advice required by disabled people and review existing cross-government provision. We will work with other Departments to develop proposals to improve the provision of information and advice about services to disabled people. The Directgov website for disabled people, www.directgov.uk/disability is now the central point for all information from Government. It has been warmly received by disabled people and organisations and continues to grow in popularity and interest. All Departments contribute to the information and services and it is now written and co-ordinated within the Office for Disability Issues.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the Disability and Carers Service's reorganisation of the Disability Benefits Unit to operate on a regional basis; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) how many staff hours he expects to be taken up by the (a) reorganisation of the Disability Benefits Unit and (b) subsequent training of staff; and what this represents in terms of financial cost; 
(4) what advice he has received from the Disability and Carers Service on the likely impact on assessment of claims during the reorganisation of the Disability Benefits Unit; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: The reorganisation of the Disability Benefits Unit is a matter fro the chief executive of the Disability and Carers Service, Mr. Terry Moran. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.
In reply to four of your recent Parliamentary Questions about the reorganisation of the Disability Benefits Unit, the Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire MP, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, promised you a substantive reply from the Chief Executive of the Disability and Carers Service.
The Disability Benefit Unit (DBU) is the largest of the Disability and Carers Service's (DCS) operational sites and has responsibility for the ongoing management of approx 4.5 million cases where Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance is in payment. It also deals with new claims for these benefits from people living in the south of England.
The decision to reorganise on a regional basis was made in order to improve service delivery to customers and their representatives, by reducing the number of people and teams that have to be involved in handling claims and changes of circumstances. Under the current organisation, a claim or change of circumstances could be dealt with by one of a number of functional teams dealing with customers from any part of Britain. The new model joins holistic benefit teams in the DBU with their counterparts dealing with new claims in our regional centres, the Disability Benefit Centres (DBC). Customers will continue to contact DCS through the national Customer Care Helpline (CCH) and the underlying structural changes should not be obvious to them, except that their business will be dealt with more efficiently and effectively.
You also asked how many staff hours he expected to be taken up by the (a) reorganisation of the Disability Benefits Unit and (b) subsequent training of staff; and what this represents in terms of financial cost.
In answer to part (a) of your question, the notional staff cost associated with the move is 79,617, based on an assumption that each member of staff will be non-productive for half a day during implementation.
In answer to part (b) of your question, most staff will continue to carry out the same work as they are currently but, over the coming months, a programme of learning and development will be used to refresh or broaden the skills of those who require it. A skills audit of all staff is being carried out currently and that will be used to assess the training needs and costs. Whilst the full cost has not yet been assessed, it is worth mentioning that some training of this nature would have been undertaken as part of the normal life of the unit; the key difference is that the skills audit will facilitate precise targeting of the training.
The expectation is that, in the immediate term, there will be minimal disruption to services. Pre-implementation activities have included the deployment of a dedicated team that has ensured there are no bottlenecks of work in the DBU and contingency plans exist should, unexpectedly, there be difficulties in the immediate period after the changes. The CCH will be open for its
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