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Mrs. McGuire: The basis of the Department's relocation strategy resulting from the Lyons' review is to relocate posts rather than people. Information on the number of posts relocated from London and the South East to other regions is contained in the following table:
|Posts relocated from London and the South East between 1 June 2003 to 31 December 2005|
|Location||Number of posts|
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether private finance initiative contracts agreed by public bodies up until 3 December 2006 will be required to meet the requirements of the Disability Equality Duty within the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. 
However, public authorities should be considering the need to put measures in place now so that they can demonstrate that they are giving due regard to the Disability Equality Duty after 4 December. For example, if an authority is planning to contract-out a major service, it should consider building in arrangements to promote equality now so that it does not have consider varying the contract once the Duty is in place.
Mrs. McGuire: The Government have given a commitment that, by 2025, disabled people in Britain should have full opportunities and choices to improve their quality of life, and will be respected and included as equal members of society.
Following a recommendation in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit report, Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People, we have set up an Office for Disability Issues (ODI) to drive forward our strategy to meet this challenge. The work of the ODI is overseen by a ministerial group, involving Ministers from several key Departments (Department of Health, Department for Education and Skills, Department of Trade and Industry, Department for Transport, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Communities and Local Government).
The Government have also put in place a comprehensive and enforceable set of civil rights for disabled people. For example, provisions introduced in October 2004 substantially improved rights in employment and required service providers to make reasonable adjustments to tackle physical barriers to disabled people accessing their services. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 amended the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to provide rights for disabled pupils and students in education.
Most recently, the DDA 2005 extended rights for disabled people in a number of areas including transport, functions of public bodies, private clubs and the renting of premises. It also extended protection to around 250,000 people, effectively from the point they are diagnosed with cancer, multiple sclerosis or HIV, freeing them from pre-symptomatic discrimination. In addition, people with mental illness will avoid the
unnecessary burden of being required to prove their condition is clinically well-recognised to get redress against discrimination.
Importantly, from 4 December 2006, the DDA 2005 places a new duty on public authorities to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. This will mean that public bodies must take account of the needs of disabled people as an integral part of their policies, practices and procedures.
The ODI is responsible for raising awareness of the Disability Discrimination Act and improving attitudes to disabled people. A campaign aimed at small and medium-sized businesses was launched on in December 2005 and will initially run until the end of May 2006. The ODI also sponsors the Images of Disability initiative to promote representation of disabled people in Government advertising and publicity.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions his Department has had with the Department of Trade and Industry regarding the letter from the Treasury Solicitors dated 27 April 2006 on the role played by the Health and Safety Executive in connection with risk analysis conducted in relation to the issuing of Hazardous Substances consents to Dragon LNG and South Hook LNG; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 22 May 2006]: Health and Safety Executive (HSE) did not discuss with DTI the content of the letter from Treasury Solicitors to all the other parties to the proceedings, their solicitors, and the Civil Appeals Office sent on the 27 April, although DTI was a copy recipient of the letter.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what costs were associated with setting up the Home Computing Initiative scheme for his Department, including consultancy and administrative costs. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions had intended to launch a Home Computing Initiative in the winter of 2006. The only costs incurred have been the internal staff costs on the early stages of the project, which we estimate to be around £47,000. There have been no consultancy costs.
|Incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance claimants in the Midlothian parliamentary constituency, by rate of benefit: November 2005|
1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many job vacancies were on the register on average at job centres in Easington constituency in each year between 2001 and 2005; and if he will make a statement; 
|Easington parliamentary constituency|
|Average number of live unfilled vacancies on the register on any given day|
| Source: Jobcentre plus labour market system|
Ann Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what changes have been made to the Jobcentre Plus delivery process as a result of the national operational strategy changes undertaken in 2005. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what changes have been made to the Jobcentre Plus delivery process as a result of the national operational strategy changes undertaken in 2005. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Throughout 2005 Jobcentre Plus continued to implement the rollout of its new style offices. Jobcentre Plus also responded to temporary difficulties in some contact centres in Summer 2005 by making operational adjustments to improve levels of customer service. We are also testing whether further improvements can be made. Jobcentre Plus has also started the centralisation of benefits delivery services in order to support better workflow and performance management and provide a more compact basis for IT improvements.
Customers continue to be offered personal advice and support in finding work through local jobcentres. They are also able to make claims to benefit and receive telephone help with job enquiries through a national network of telephone contact centres. These essential elements of the delivery process have not changed.
I hope this is helpful.
Ann Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action is being taken to ensure people who have experienced delays in their benefit payments due to changes at Jobcentre Plus do not incur penalties as a result, with particular reference to repossession of property. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what action is being taken to ensure people who have experienced delays in their benefit payments due to changes at Jobcentre Plus do not incur penalties as a result, with particular reference to repossession of property.
A series of actions has been put in place to address the recent increase in the average actual clearance times for income support assessments to 12.2 days. We expect that these actions will steadily bring back performance to within the target of 11 working days. As a safeguard, any customer experiencing financial hardship while awaiting benefit can request an interim payment.
Customers are responsible for the payment of their mortgage interest for the first nine months of their claim with help included in their benefit entitlement only after this period has elapsed. The minor delays currently being experienced in the assessment of income support entitlement will therefore not have any marked impact on repossessions of property.
Customers are advised at the start of a claim that they should contact their mortgage lender as soon as possible to discuss their mortgage repayments.
I hope this is helpful.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what assessment he has made of the level of staff satisfaction of Jobcentre Plus staff. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Staff satisfaction is measured in part through the annual DWP Staff Survey. The 2005 survey showed that staff generally respected their immediate line managers and were clear on the purpose and objectives of their individual job roles. However, the survey also showed that people had low confidence in our senior leaders and were particularly concerned about job security.
These results are in line with what we would expect, given the scale and pace of our change programme, which is designed to provide a better quality of service to our customers within the context of the Departmental efficiency challenge.
We have substantially improved the range and frequency of feedback opportunities through which staff can debate issues that affect them and express their views directly to the Board and senior managers. We fully understand the concerns of our staff and are committed to taking appropriate action to address them.
I hope this is helpful.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what elements of the Pathways to Work programme will be funded by the £360 million earmarked for its roll out; and how the sum was calculated. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 22 May 2006]: The funding for welfare reform has been drawn from the budgets provided to the Department through the 2004 Spending Review settlement which covered the financial years 2005-06 to 2007-08. Details are available in The Departmental Report 2005 (Cm 6539) published in June 2005. The £360 million funding is largely to be spent extending the Pathways to Work programme beyond the pilot areas and covers 2006-07 and 2007-08,
but may also be used to fund other measures dependent on responses to the Welfare Reform consultation.
A detailed costing of the various parts of our proposals is not possible at this time. This is especially the case in relation to the costs for each Pathways to Work scheme as we are looking to the private and voluntary sector to deliver many of the Pathways schemes and it is not possible to provide detailed costs prior to contract negotiations.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer of 4 May 2006, Official Report, column 1768W, on pathways to work, how many claimants the figures represent in each case. 
|Numbers of pathways to work participants and of choices starts|
|Registered with New Deal for Disabled People Job Broker||Referred to the Condition Management Programme||Awarded the Return to Work Credit|
|All new claimants in pathways areas||Claimants who volunteer to participate in choices programme||All new claimants in Pathways areas||Claimants who volunteer to participate in choices programme||All new claimants in pathways areas||Claimants who volunteer to participate in choices programme|
|Notes: 1. Data are to October 2005. 2. All figures have been rounded to the nearest ten. Source: Pathways to work evaluation database|
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