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Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether any (a) employee of his Department, (b) person engaged by his Department as a consultant and (c) paid adviser to his Department is a member of the House of Lords; and if he will make a statement. 
The rules on political activities that Departments are required to enforce are set out in chapter 4.4 of the Civil Service Management Code. This does not directly state that Members of the House of Lords cannot be employees of the civil service.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) EU foreign nationals and (b) non-EU foreign nationals have been employed in his Department in each of the last five years; what vetting procedures are in place for each category of staff; and whether these include liaison with foreign law enforcement agencies. 
All new recruits to the Department are required to provide their nationality on the application form to check eligibility for employment within the civil service. If an EU or non-EU foreign national applies for a specific post that requires vetting action over and above the standard pre appointment enquiries, either a security check or a developed vetting checks would be undertaken (depending on the nature of the individual post).
|Number of investigations||Number upheld|
|(1) Cases are ongoing|
Initial complaints are considered by line managers (or their manager if the complaint is about the line manager) to decide the appropriate course of action. A number will either be resolved without any further action or by Line Managers enquiry where the potential for minor misconduct is identified.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff in his Department have had (a) five or more, (b) four, (c) three and (d) two periods of sick leave of less than five days in each of the last three years. 
|Table 1: DWP staff sick under 5 days in the 12 months ended 31 March 2004|
|Number of periods||Number of staff|
|Table 2: DWP staff sick under 5 days in the 12 months ended 31 March 2005|
|Number of periods||Number of staff|
|Table 3: DWP staff sick under 5 days in the 12 months ended 31 March 2006|
|Number of periods||Number of staff|
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of his staff in each of the last 3 years; and what the total cost was. 
|Number of Non-pensionable bonuses paid to staff in DWP||Cash Sum (£)||As percentage of the total pay bill|
The Department for Work and Pensions has reviewed the duties placed upon it under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to make
reasonable adjustments to its premises to improve access to the public and for its staff.
The Department, through its property management and services partner LandSecurities Trillium, commissioned a survey of all its occupied buildings (approximately 1,500) to identify the need for public access improvement works. The resultant programme of works commenced in 2004 and was completed in March 2005 with the exception of approximately 55 Jobcentre Plus refurbishments projects that are due for completion by July 2006.
Access improvements for members of staff are conducted on an ongoing basis as and when the need arises or is identified upon recruitment, transfer or when an existing condition deteriorates and further measures are required.
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001 bringing together the former Department of Social Security and the Employment Service. Information on the number of staff taking voluntary early retirement and voluntary early severance in each year since the Department's formation is shown in the table.
|Year ending March:||Number of staff|
| Notes: 1. Figures are full-time equivalent (rounded).|
2. The above figures include those who have retired voluntarily with an actuarially reduced pension, those who have retired with benefits under the civil service compensation scheme and those who have retired on ill-health grounds.
The Department for Work and Pensions conducts equal pay audits as a minimum every three years. The last one was completed in 2005 and a further review is planned for later this year. The review completed in 2005 did not show any significant differences in pay arrangements for men and women. Some recommendations were made about the need to
understand how policies are applied in practice and we are currently working on an action plan to address these recommendations. We conduct full impact assessments for every new policy we introduce.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in his Department have been enabled to work from home in each of the last 3 years; and if he will make a statement. 
(a) Permanently, on a contractual basis; and
(b) On an ad-hoc basis.
A DWP wide home working policy becomes effective from 19 June 2006, but existing employees may already apply to become a permanent home worker under their legacy terms of employment as a former employee of the DSS or one of its agencies, or the Employment Service.
The parents of children aged under six (18 if the child is disabled) also have a statutory right to apply to become a home worker under the terms of The Flexible Working (Procedural Requirements) Regulations 2002.
The total staffing figures for DWP for the years 2004, 2005 and 2006, and therefore the number of employees who might apply to become permanent home workers, and the specific number who have contracted as permanent home workers are as follows:
|As at March each year:||Permanent employees||Contracted home workers|
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the decade in which the Government estimates a fall of one million claimants drawing incapacity benefits has already begun. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Green Paper sets out our aspiration to see a million fewer claimants of incapacity benefits, over the course of a decade, through the combined efforts of the Government, employers, local authorities and health professionals. We are still at an early stage and will establish precise measures, including a baseline year, in due course.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the proportion of the expected fall in incapacity benefit claimants of one million in the next decade which will be brought about by the death or retirement of current claimants. 
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 23 May 2006]: While it is difficult to model the precise impact of our proposed measures at this stage, the Green Paper sets out our aspiration to see a million fewer claimants of incapacity benefits over the course of a decade, through the combined efforts of the Government, employers, local authorities and health professionals. More precise measures will be established in due course.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) land and (b) property his Department (i) leases and (ii) leased in (A) 1979, (B) 1983, (C) 1987, (D) 1992 and (E) 1997 in (1) the Southend, West constituency, (2) Essex, (3) Hertfordshire and (4) the Metropolitan Police area of London. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions was formed in June 2001. The Department does not lease any property or land in Southend, West Constituency, Essex, Hertfordshire or the Metropolitan Police area of London. The Departments estate in these areas has been sold or transferred under a PFI partnership deal to Land Securities Trillium (LST) and in return for the payment of a unitary charge, LST is responsible for providing a full facilities management service across the estate. A list of all the estate sold or transferred to LST by Government Office Region was placed in the Library with PQ33250 on 16 February 2006, Official Report, column 2430W.
This response excludes The Health and Safety Executive, an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body and The Rent Service, an Executive Agency, as their records are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
The Department is not able to provide information about land and property leased in the years 1979, 1983, 1987, 1992 and 1997 in the areas, as the information is not available in the format requested.
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