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Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many home visits his staff made to benefit (a) claimants and (b) recipients in (i) 200304 and (ii) 200405; and how many such visits his staff expect to make in each of the next two years. 
|April 2004March 2005||582,790|
|April 2005December 2005||661,808|
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Wales are (a) entitled to council tax benefits and (b) receiving council tax benefits; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the 10 largest total (a) compensation and (b) maladministration payments made by the Child Support Agency to a single individual, including separate payments made in relation to a single case requiring compensation, have been since May 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 5 December 2005]: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the chief executive, Mr. Stephen Geraghty. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what ten largest total (a) compensation and (b) maladministration payments made by the Child Support Agency to a single individual including separate payments made in relation to a single case requiring compensation are since May 1997; and if he will make a statement.
The Agency does not hold sufficiently robust information to give you precisely the information you requested. I apologise for this but can give you information on the ten highest financial redress payments awarded due to maladministration between the period 1 December 2001 to 10 November 2005.
As I explained in a previous response to you, in the Answer of 15th November Official Report column 1152W on the Child Support Agency, maladministration and compensatory payments in excess of £10,000 represent only a small fraction (just over 0.1%) of the total number of such payments made by the Agency:
|Total number of payments made since 1 December 2001||35,558|
|Between £1,000 and £9,999||2,289|
|Between £10,000 and £49,999||42|
Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 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. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001 from the Department of Social Security and parts of the former Department for Education and Employment including the Employment Service.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many single people receiving (a) income support and (b) pension credit live with another single person of the same sex; whether all such benefit recipients have been informed of their obligation under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 to inform the appropriate benefit office if they are living together as if they were civil partners; what guidance has been promulgated on the meaning of that term; and if he will ensure that those who fail to report their relationship are not subject to penalties or recovery of consequent overpayment of benefits. 
Mrs. McGuire: There is very little information about same-sex couples in this country. The labour force survey suggests that there are about 50,000 cohabiting same-sex couples in the UK. The Department does not have any statistical information about individuals currently receiving income related benefits who are living with someone of the same sex as though they were civil partners.
The Department has conducted a targeted publicity campaign intended to ensure that all benefit recipients are aware of the need to advise the relevant benefit office as soon as they can on or after 5 December 2005 if they are living together as if they were civil partners. This has included publication of a leaflet 'Getting it right' which has been distributed to all Jobcentre Plus offices, pension centres, pension local services and Citizens Advice Bureaux. Additionally it has been sent to Doctors' surgeries and other organisations including the Terrence Higgins Trust, the Department for Constitutional Affairs, libraries and local councils. The leaflet has also been placed on the DWP internet site.
Our policy is not to ask for repayments from someone who has acted reasonably but has failed to appreciate that, although they have not entered into a civil partnership, their benefit is affected because they now form a same-sex couple. Departmental guidance has been amended to reflect this policy and the changes in the law. However, if a customer who is a civil partner or who lives with another person as though they were civil partners knows that this could affect their benefit they must tell the office that deals with their claim. If they fail to do so and they receive too much benefit they may be required to refund the amount that has been overpaid to them.
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