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18 Apr 2006 : Column 133W—continued

Customer Management System

Mr. Anthony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what financial penalties have been imposed on (a) Electronic Data Systems, (b) the contractor and (c) the provider, in relation to the Customer Management System. [46827]

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Margaret Hodge: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. She will write to my hon. Friend.

Letter from Lesley Strathie:

Debt Management

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on debt management (a) consultants and (b) staff training in each quarter since Q2 2001. [52496]

Mr. Plaskitt: The financial records for debt management as a separate entity were not available prior to the financial year commencing April 2002.

The following table provides details of the costs of consultants working for debt management, and identifiable costs of training debt management staff.
£ million

PeriodConsultantsStaff training

n/a = not available.

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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individual debt cases have been opened in each quarter since Q2 2001; and how many of these cases were followed up with written correspondence. [52499]

Mr. Plaskitt: The volume of debt cases opened in each quarter are shown in the attached table.

Separate figures are not kept of the volume of letters issued. In the vast majority of recoverable overpayments the customer or their representative would have received at least one item of written correspondence. In the cases where the overpayment is classified as non-recoverable, correspondence would only be issued where it is considered they should have realised they were being overpaid.
Volume of new recovery overpayments in quarterVolume of new non-recovery overpayments in quarterTotal volume of new debt
Qtr 1136,9687,535144,503
Qtr 2140,6307,094147,724
Qtr 3133,0387,117140,155
Qtr 4158,0956,837164,932
Qtr 1131,3745,637137,011
Qtr 2125,2213,920129,141
Qtr 3120,3303,705124,035
Qtr 4133,4274,312137,739
Qtr 188,7092,96891,677
Qtr 297,6583,251100,909
Qtr 388,7472,69291,439
Qtr 4111,5942,834114,428
Qtr 188,2442,06290,306
Qtr 294,0612,65196,712
Qtr 398,5861,814100,400
Qtr 4126,2711,844128,115
Qtr 1129,2341,413130,647
Qtr 267,2584,01671,274
Qtr 3122,4263,651126,077
Qtr 4

Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on bottled water in 2004–05. [40321]

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Mr. Plaskitt: The Department held contracts, across all the government office regions, with two suppliers in 2004–05 for the provision of bottled water, water cooler hire, cups and also covers delivery charges. Expenditure for the period was £435,000 and relates to these contracts only. We are unable to separate the costs for each individual element within the contracts without incurring disproportionate costs.

It is very likely that the Department would have also provided bottled water at certain meetings as part of a refreshment order, however, we are not able to separate the cost for these from the overall refreshment costs.

Departmental Finance

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases of financial irregularities have been recorded in his Department in each of the last five financial years; and if he will make a statement. [57547]

Mr. Plaskitt: Information is not available in the format requested.

For such information as is available, in respect of the estimated cost of internal and contractor fraud to the Department, I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 6 February 2006, Official Report, column 870W.

The Department has a robust approach to the detection, prevention and deterrence of internal and contractor fraud. This approach is consistent with Treasury guidance.

The Department has a fraud response plan and an anti-fraud policy in place. Investigations into suspected internal or contractor-related frauds are conducted by a professional and dedicated team.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's target is for paying invoices to contractors; and what percentage of bills were paid on time in the last period for which figures are available. [60581]

Margaret Hodge: All admin payments are made within the terms of the contract, or within 30 days of receipt of the goods/services or receipt of an invoice whichever is the later. The Departments target for paying invoices to contractors is 96.5 per cent. The percentage of bills, which were paid on time in the last period, period 10 of the current financial year for which figures are available, is 96.9 per cent.

Departmental Publications

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the instructional leaflets his Department and the agencies for which he has responsibility produced in the period from January to December 2005. [51981]

Mrs. McGuire: A list of the Department's leaflets that were current on the 16 February 2006 has been placed in the Library. Information on the instructional leaflets issued during the period January to December 2005 is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
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