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The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question on how many jobcentre plus offices closed in 2005/06; and how many are planned for closure in (a) 2006/07 and (b) 2007/08. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The shape of the Jobcentre Plus network is under continual review. Following the creation of Jobcentre Plus in 2002 a programme of closures emerged. A detailed service delivery planning exercise was carried out in each District, in consultation with local stakeholders, to identify the locations from which new processes and services would be delivered. Jobcentre Plus inherited a network of around 1500 offices from the former Employment Service and Benefits Agency. It was established during the service delivery planning process that many were unsuitable due to the fabric of the building, location or both. These factors influenced the shaping of the future network. For these reasons a total of 206 offices have closed since 1st April 2005. A further 113 offices are scheduled to close in 2006/07 and 8 during 2007/08. In addition there are a number which are scheduled to close but for which final closure dates are subject to further planning and stakeholder consultation.
Secondly, as a result of a decision in September 2004 to centralise the processing of benefits, 35 offices have been identified for closure once processing work has migrated out of those locations. Four have closed during 2005/06. The closure dates for the remaining offices is subject to more detailed planning but the assumption is that a further 10 will be closed during 2006/07 and the remaining 21 sites during 2007/08.
We continue to evaluate our services and the network of offices from which they are delivered to ensure efficiency. Any site identified as a potential closure, as part of this process, is referred to the Minister of State for consideration. To date 12 offices have been agreed for closure. The actual dates for these closures are currently being finalised but the expectation is that they will occur during 2006/07.
Mr. Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Manchester, Withington constituency and (b) the City of Manchester have found employment as a result of the Manchester Action Team. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: During the period April 2004 to March 2006 the Manchester Central and Manchester South Action Teams helped 538 people from the Manchester Withington constituency into work. Information is not available prior to this period because of changes to ward boundaries.
James Purnell: The Pension Service has written to every pensioner household to tell them about pension credit. In the last eight months the Pension Service has carried out a number of campaign initiatives such as the You're Missing Out direct mailings targeted at 1.5 million people most likely to be entitled. Full page adverts have also been taken out in the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, Sun, News of the World, Daily Record, and the People.
Writing again to everyone we believe may have an entitlement to pension credit, encouraging them to apply and advising how the Pension Service can help them do so over two million mailings are planned.
Offering face-to-face visits and a full benefit entitlement check to the most highly eligible and vulnerable pensionerswith plans to undertake over one million successful home visits.
Handling over 1.3 million calls from customers and making telephone calls to around 250,000 customers to encourage and help them to apply for pension credit and council tax benefit and housing benefitat one time and with one call.
Continuing to issue an invitation to claim the state pension approximately four months prior to customers reaching their state pension age.
|Number of recipients|
| Notes: 1. These figures are early estimates. The preferred data source for figures supplied by DWP is the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS). However, the figures provided are the latest available figures which are taken from the GMS scan at 17 February 2006. These are adjusted using the historical relationship between WPLS and GMS data to give an estimate of the final WPLS figure. Average amounts are displayed as at the scan reference data of 17 February 2006. 2. Caseloads are rounded to the nearest ten. 3. Parliamentary constituencies are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant postcode directory. 4. Individual beneficiaries comprise claimants and partners and may include partners who are aged less than 60. Source: DWP: 100 per cent. data from the Generalised Matching Service (GMS). Pension credit scan taken as at 17 February 2006.|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the cost of uprating the basic state pension at (a) earnings growth and (b) 5 per cent. per annum in each year from 2006 to 2030, assuming price indexation as the benchmark. 
|Net costs (£ billion)|
|(a) Earnings growth||(b) 5 per cent. per annum|
| Notes: 1. Figures are in 2006-07 price terms in £billions rounded to the nearest £100 million. 2. Costs are measured against current policy with basic state pension linked to prices. 3. The costs are net of income related benefits. 4. Figures are for Great Britain and overseas expenditure. Source: The figures are based on departmental expenditure forecasts and simulation models.|
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will post on his departmental website his response to the report of the Parliamentary Ombudsman on occupational pensions; 
(3) what factors he took into account when deciding not to follow the Parliamentary Ombudsmans recommendation to consider her report Trusting in the Pensions Promise for a period of two months before responding. 
James Purnell: The Department first received draft recommendations from the Ombudsman on 21 December 2005 and responded provisionally in January 2006 A further draft was provided by the Ombudsman on 13 February which the Department also responded to. The recommendations in the published report are substantially the same as were in these two drafts. Therefore, when the report was published the Department had already had over two months to consider the issues raised. Having decided that it was not able to accept four out of the five recommendations made by the Ombudsman, the Department saw no reason to delay responding to her published report. To do so could have raised expectations in the affected members which would not be met.
In his oral statement on 16 March the Secretary of State informed the House that he would publish a full response to the Ombudsmans report. This response is on the departmental website at www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/dwp/2006/pensions/response-ombudsman.pdf.
Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what total efficiency savings were achieved by his Department in 2004-05; and whether these count towards the agreed efficiency target for his Department set out in the 2004 Spending Review. 
The target for DWP is that we realise annual efficiency gains of at least £960 million by 2007-08 against our spending in 2003-04. As such these early savings do not count towards our agreed efficiency target but are an encouraging indication of DWP's ability to meet the efficiency target set for the Department in the 2004 Spending Review.
Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of the teleclaiming system on claimants (a) with psychosis, (b) with other mental illnesses, (c) on low income and (d) for whom English is a second language. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 26 April 2006]: While no specific research has been undertaken in relation to the impact on people with specific conditions such as psychosis, Jobcentre Plus aims to make access to its services as straightforward as possible.
Initial contact by telephone is our normal and preferred way of taking claims. However, our delivery of services is tailored to meet individual customer requirements taking health conditions, disabilities, and language barriers into consideration. Staff will hold face to face interviews where a customer cannot use telephone based services.
Where a customers first language is not English, Jobcentre Plus will use Language Line which provides a translation service between customer and our staff. We also provide other translation services and specialist equipment for disabled customers.
We recognise that customers on a low income may be concerned about the costs of calls made to the Contact Centre. Jobcentre Plus Contact Centres operate a local BT rate 0845 number although customers using mobile telephones or other landline networks are charged at their network providers normal tariff. Customers can also use warm phones in local Jobcentre Plus offices to make this call free of charge and when asked we can arrange to call them back at any point during their call.
In addition we are currently operating a free phone pilot within two of our Contact Centres, where we are offering a 0800 free phone number to customers using our services from a landline. If the pilot is successful we are considering extending this nationally.
In delivering high quality services to our wide and diverse customer groups, we do recognise that some customers face particular difficulties. For example, we are working in consultation with stakeholder groups such as the Royal National Institute for the Deaf to continuously improve our processes.
The Department has recently established a group to examine best practice in the use of telephony for people who have difficulty accessing services and this group will make recommendations on implementing service changes.
Jobcentre Plus is about to commission a programme of research to look at whether certain groups, such as customers with specific physical and/or learning difficulties have problems making contact. The results of this research will be available by early summer 2007.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Surrey, (b)
Guildford and (c) Waverley have (i) participated in and (ii) completed each of the three Work Based Learning for Adults Scheme stages in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Work Based learning for Adults was launched in 1998, replacing Training for Work. In April 2001, the delivery of Work Based Learning for Adults was transferred from Training and Enterprise Councils in England to the former Employment Service, to ensure greater coherence between the support available to unemployed people, and to make Work Based Learning for Adults even more work-focused.
Information on the numbers of starters and leavers for the various strands of Work Based Learning for Adults in Surrey, Guildford and Waverley is available from April 2001 and is shown in the following table.
From April 2006, voluntary training outside the new deals will no longer be supported. Training in the new deal programmes, including voluntary training, will continue to be funded; this includes new deal for lone parents and new deal for partners programme.
|Surrey local authority county|
|Basic employability training||Longer occupational training||Short job focused training||Self employment|
1. Figures are rounded to nearest 10.
2. Date on programme completers is not available, data on programme leavers, which includes people who did not complete the programme, is shown in the tables.
3. Jobcentre Plus became responsible for the delivery of Work Based Learning for Adults from April 2001.
DWP, Information Division Work Based Learning for Adults Evaluation database.
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