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Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the companies which were paid consultancy fees by his Department in 2005-06; how much each was paid; and what each of the companies was used to accomplish. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: A list of companies and the total expenditure on consultancy fees paid by the Department in 2005-06 will be available in July 2006. However, the Department is unable to provide details of each individual engagement the company was used for without a clerical examination of all records and this would incur disproportionate costs.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the security of chip and PIN access to his Department's computer systems; and how many breaches of that security there have been since its introduction. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Department does not offer a Chip and PIN service for access to the Department's computer systems. The term Chip and PIN is normally used in the context of high street retail purchases.
Access to internal departmental systems is controlled using a desktop smartcard infrastructure which is a completely separate device to that used to enable citizen payments. The DWP security incident recording database records details of incidents investigated by DWP. There are no incidents recorded where the Chip and PIN security has been compromised.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what help is available to disabled job seekers from disability employment advisers and other Jobcentre Plus staff relating to job application forms. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what help is available to disabled job seekers from disability employment advisers and other Jobcentre Plus staff relating to job application forms. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Any disabled customer having difficulties in filling in an application form can ask their adviser for assistance. If the adviser is unavailable someone else will be found to assist the customer.
If appropriate, advisers can refer customers to New Deal for Disabled People Job Brokers or to Programme Centres which offer help tailored to participants' individual needs. Programme Centre provision is designed to help participants improve their jobsearch skills and increase their chances of finding a job. This can include help with letters of application, application forms, CV preparation, preparation for interviews and mock interviews. Job Brokers can provide similar assistance.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department has spent on the provision of free television licences for over 75-year-olds in each of the last five years. 
|Expenditure (£ million)|
| Notes: 1. These are UK figures. 2. Figures are the amounts paid to the BBC and exclude administration costs. 3. Figures rounded to the nearest million pounds. Source: DWP Resource Account.|
This target was announced in a Written Ministerial Statement on 30 March 2006 and detail of the new Job Outcome Target is contained in the Jobcentre Plus Business Plan which was placed in the House of Commons Library on 30 March 2006.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what audits have been conducted to evaluate the accessibility of JobCentre Plus premises for disabled people at (a) Burslem and (b) Hanley offices; and when such audits were undertaken. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what audits have been conducted to evaluate the accessibility of Jobcentre Plus premises for disabled people at Burslem and Hanley offices; and when such audits were undertaken. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
As part of the process to convert Jobcentres to Jobcentre Plus offices an 'accessibility evaluation' is carried out when we consider the design of the office. When planning a new office or new layout, we take full account of the Disability Discrimination Act and ensure any recommendations, such as ramps or automatic doors, are built into the final design of the office. All of our new, purpose built offices comply with building regulations that cover all access issues.
We carried out audits at Cannon Street, Hanley and Burslem Jobcentres in December 2003 following the creation of Jobcentre Plus, Any adjustments recommended at that time were considered alongside our roll out plans for conversion to Jobcentre Plus offices, taking into account the Disability Discrimination Act requirements. We completed an audit at our office in Stafford Street, Hanley in June 1999 and all resulting recommendations were implemented.
As you know, our office in Stafford Street, Hanley is to become a Benefit Delivery Centre and will not be open to the public. The Jobcentres in Cannon Street, Hanley and Burslem are due to close when our new purpose built Jobcentre Plus office in Huntbach Street, Hanley opens in 2007.
I hope this is helpful.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how Jobcentre Plus handles the requirements of jobseekers who have difficulty in using the telephone. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
As part of our service modernisation we encourage all new claims to be made over the telephone. However we recognise this is not suitable for everyone. We have put alternative arrangements in place, including a face-to-face interview at the local Jobcentre, or a home visit if this is more appropriate.
Additionally, we can arrange for a third party/nominated advocate to represent the customer on the telephone. For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, a Textphone/Minicom service is available, or we can arrange for a British sign language interpreter to be present at a face to face interview.
These alternative arrangements are set out in our leaflet, Jobcentre Plus?Our Service Standards, a copy of which is enclosed.
All Jobcentre Plus staff should receive diversity and equality training and this ensures that they are aware of these options.
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.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on recent changes in the financing of the New Deal for 50 Plus scheme; and what assessment he has made of levels of participation in the scheme since the changes were introduced. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Since its introduction in April 2000, the only significant change that has occurred to New Deal 50 plus funding was in April 2003 when the New Deal 50 plus Employment Credit, paid by Jobcentre Plus, was replaced by the 50 plus element of the Working Tax Credit, paid by H.M. Revenue and Customs. Incorporating the in-work incentive for over- 50s into the tax credit system ensured that those households on the lowest income received the most support, rather than flat-rate payments being made regardless of personal circumstances.
Until March 2003, Employment Credit payments formed the bulk of the New Deal 50 plus programme spend, together with the New Deal 50 plus in-work Training Grant. In 2003-04 the programme spend for New Deal 50 plus still included the remaining Employment Credit payments but, by the 2004-05 financial year, all the New Deal 50 plus Employment Credit starts had completed and all that remained was the spend on the training grant.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the potential cost savings which would result from reducing the maximum age of the youngest child entitling lone parents to receive income support to (a) 15, (b) 14, (c) 13, (d) 12 and (e) 11 years in each financial year from 2005-06 to 2009-10. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will reply to Question 63316 from the hon. Member for Portsmouth South, tabled on 29 March 2006, on Post Office Card Accounts. 
Personal adviser caseloads vary according to the advisers knowledge and experience of advisory work and the client group. Therefore decisions about an indicial Advisers caseload can only be decided at local level.
We want to ensure Pathways to Work advisers focus their efforts on helping and supporting people on incapacity benefits into work. Managers in current Pathways to Work pilot areas regularly monitor adviser caseloads to ensure they are manageable and enable customers to maximise their work opportunities. This will continue when Pathways is rolled out nationally.
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 13 June 2006]: The £360 million is to cover a range of welfare reforms as set out in the Green Paper, primarily Pathways to Work. We are committed to rolling out Pathways to Work across the country by 2008. We will also seek to ensure our proposals deliver the service in innovative and more cost-effective ways as we roll out to the rest of the country, learning from the experience of Jobcentre Plus and the private and voluntary sector. We are currently working through the specific detail of the funding plans for Pathways, which we will share more widely in due course.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners he estimates were entitled to pension credit in (a) 2003-04, (b) 2004-05 and (c) 2005-06; how many were receiving the pension credit in each year; how many (i) are entitled to and (ii) are receiving the credit in 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. 
|Table 1: Number of pensioners estimated to be eligible for pension credit|
|Numbers eligible (million)|
| Notes: 1. Estimates of the numbers eligible are given as ranges in order to account for possible biases inherent in estimates from data that is less than perfect. They also take account of the effects of sampling variation. 2. Estimates cover all those aged 60 and over in the private household population of Great Britain. The data source is the Family Resources Survey. 3. As pension credit was introduced mid-way through 2003-04, estimates of the numbers entitled in 2003-04 are only based on six months data, and should therefore be treated with caution. 4. For the purposes of this analysis, the unit of analysis is the benefit unit. This is either a single person aged at least 60 years old or, if a couple, both will be termed pensioners if one is aged at least 60 years old. This is consistent with both the definition used in Income Related Benefits Estimates of Take-up publications, and with the fact any individual aged 60 or over is entitled to pension credit. 5. The data source for eligibility estimates is the Family Resources Survey. Estimates of eligibility for 2005-06 and 2006-07 are based on the Family Resources Survey data for 2003-04 and 2004-05, with incomes and benefits projected forward into the future in order to estimate the eligibility for each pensioner household on the survey. They are calibrated to the 2004-05 National Statistics estimates of non-eligibility to pension credit, which adjust 2004-05 Family Resources Survey data to take account of possible biases in reporting. 6. The latest estimates of the take-up of pension credit can be found in the DWP report entitled Pension Credit Estimates of Take-Up in 2004/2005. Copies of the publication are available in the Library. 7. Estimates have been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand. 8. Projections of eligibility may be adjusted following publication of future editions of the National Statistics take-up estimates.|
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