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8 Feb 2006 : Column 1191W—continued

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library copies of the (a) customer satisfaction surveys and (b) results of mystery shopper exercises conducted since 2001 for (i) Jobcentre Plus, (ii) the Pension Service, (iii) the Child Support Agency and (iv) the Disability and Carers Service. [35360]

Mrs. McGuire: Jobcentre Plus was created in April 2002 bringing together the former Employment Service and those parts of the former Benefits Agency delivering services to working age people.

There have been three quantitative national Jobcentre Plus customer satisfaction surveys completed since 2002. The reports for each survey, Jobcentre Plus National Customer Satisfaction Survey 2003, 2004, and 2005, are available in the Library, together with a national qualitative customer satisfaction survey that was undertaken during 2003, Jobcentre Plus Customer Satisfaction 2003: Findings from Qualitative Research.
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Copies of the Jobcentre Plus Mystery Shopping National Reports for 2002–03, 2003–04 and 2004–05 have been placed in the Library.

The Pension Service was created in April 2002 to deliver services to those over sixty years of age.

A customer satisfaction survey for the Pension Service was conducted in 2003. The report for this survey is available in the Library. A further survey was undertaken in 2005. The results are due to be published in 2006; copies of the report will be placed in the Library.

Mystery Shopping, which provides an independent assessment of service delivery, was introduced in the Pension Service in April 2004. The results are used for internal improvement actions and are weighted according to pensioners' customer priorities. Copies of the Pension Service mystery shopping results for 2003–04 and the first three quarters of 2005–06 have been placed in the Library.

The Child Support Agency has not conducted any national customer satisfaction surveys or mystery shopper exercises since 2001.

The Disability and Carers Service conducted a customer survey in 2003–04. A copy of the disability and carers service—customer service survey 2003–04—final report has been placed in the Library.

The Disability and Carers Service does not use mystery shopping, but has its own internal measurement checks known as Measurement of Customer Service (MCS). Copies of the annual reports of MCS results for 2004–05, 2003–04 and 2002–03 have been placed in the Library.


A21 Upgrade

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what role (a) the South East England Development Agency, (b) the South East England regional assembly, (c) the Highways Agency, (d) the Environment Agency and (e) local councils will have in plans for an upgrade to the A21 in East Sussex. [49459]

Dr. Ladyman: The South East Regional Transport Board, which includes representatives from the South East England Development Agency, the Highways Agency, South East England regional assembly officers and nominated local authority representatives, has recently provided advice to Government on the timing and funding of schemes to upgrade the A21 in East Sussex as part of its overall advice on priorities for major transport schemes. The Environment Agency is one of four statutory environmental bodies which advise Government on the environmental impacts of road improvements. Upgrade schemes which are approved for funding would be promoted and delivered by the Highways Agency.

British Transport Companies (Overseas Competition)

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to help British transport companies to compete with foreign counterparts. [49059]

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Dr. Ladyman: Some sectors of the road haulage industry face challenges arising from increasing foreign competition and we are working closely with industry in a joint task group to develop understanding of this and other issues of concern.

We are also keen to help companies become more efficient, not least because benefits such as lower fuel consumption and reduced empty running also help with wider Government objectives to reduce pollution and congestion. This is why, for several years, we have been running a best practice programme that helps operators to apply good operating practices.

Citizens Juries

Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions his Department consulted citizens' juries on departmental policies in the last five years; in how many of those consultations the recommendations of the citizens' jury differed from existing departmental policy; and on how many occasions departmental policy was changed to reflect the recommendations of the citizens' jury. [46227]

Ms Buck: The Department for Transport has not used citizens' juries in so far as records show. The department is committed to developing policies which meet the needs of all. As such, the department consults widely with transport users, often targeting directly users with specific transport needs or hard to reach groups.

Congestion (EU Support)

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which regions he expects will receive support from the EU's Sixth Environmental Action Programme to deal with congestion; and what the nature of the support will be in each case. [49023]

Dr. Ladyman: The Department will contribute to the objectives and priorities in the EU's Sixth Environmental Action Programme through its Public Service Agreement target for urban roads. This states that, by 2010–11, the 10 largest urban areas will meet the congestion targets set in their Local Transport Plans. Local authorities in all regions are working to finalise their strategies to tackle congestion, and will include them in their Local Transport Plans due to be published in March 2006. Targets consistent with these strategies will be set by July.

Departmental Entertaining

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department has spent on entertaining in each month since June. [25634]

Ms Buck: The following table provides a breakdown of the total for each month where this is available.
DfT (Centre)DSA (Driving Standards Agency)

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Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on bottled water in 2004–05. [40324]

Ms Buck: The cost of providing water coolers and bottled water at meetings cannot be separated without disproportionate cost. A total of sanitisation costs of some of £146,595 was spent on these two costs around 1,000 DfT central and agency sites. This includes the maintenance, servicing and the water coolers at DfT regional sites. The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency do not record the purchase of bottled water separately from other refreshments and cannot confirm the amount spent without disproportionate cost.

Departmental Staff

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many disciplinary actions against civil servants employed in his Department (a) were commenced and (b) resulted in a sanction being applied in each of the last five years. [43486]

Ms Buck: Since the establishment of the Department for Transport in May 2002, the number of employees against whom disciplinary action commenced; and those which resulted in a sanction being applied is as follows:
Disciplinary action commenced
Disciplinary action resulting in a sanction

The Department has procedures in place to deal with misconduct, unsatisfactory performance or attendance. The normal penalty for gross misconduct is dismissal. The procedures are published in our internal Staff Handbook that is readily available to staff.

Digital Tachographs

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the timescale for the introduction of EU regulations relating to digital tachographs; and within what time period (a) private companies and (b) individuals will be required to comply with the new regulations. [49839]

Dr. Ladyman: New EU regulations on drivers' hours, which include a revised mandatory fitting date for digital tachographs, were recently agreed by the Council and the European Parliament.

The new regulations will require the operators and drivers of certain heavy goods and public service vehicles to use digital tachographs in any such vehicles put into service for the first time from a date 20 days after formal publication of the new regulations.
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The Council and Parliament have indicated that they will make every effort to ensure that the new regulations are published in the Official Journal of the European Union in April this year.

Consequently, digital tachographs should become mandatory for all new in-scope vehicles from early May 2006.

Changes to the drivers' hours rules themselves will enter into force one year after publication.

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