James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she is reviewing the roll-out of neighbourhood management schemes across England; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 21 June 2006]: The Government funded Neighbourhood Management Pathfinder programme was established in July 2001 with the creation of 20 Pathfinders with an additional 15 Pathfinders launched in December 2003. Further Government funding for neighbourhood management schemes is included in the neighbourhood element of the Safer and Stronger Communities Fund of Local Area Agreements, enabling 84 local authorities covering the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods to develop and extend neighbourhood management schemes if they wish.
In addition to the 35 Neighbourhood Management Pathfinders, and new initiatives being developed under the neighbourhood element, there are already over 200 other neighbourhood management initiatives, usually set up by local authorities or Local Strategic Partnerships and mostly funded by the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund.
The numbers of children who have been removed from their parents as a result of an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) being issued by the family courts, in response to applications from local authority social/children services, are shown in the following table. The table shows the number of children who started to be looked after following the making of EPOs during each of the years ending 31 March 1995 to 31 March 2005.
|Children who started to be looked after during the years ending 31 March 1995 to 31 March 2005 by legal status on starting( 1, 2, 3)
|Emergency protection order
|(1) Only the first occasion on which a child started to be looked after in the year has been counted.
(2) Historical data may differ from older publications. This is mainly due to the implementation of amendments and corrections sent by some local authorities after the publication date of previous materials.
(3) To maintain the confidentiality of each individual child, the data are rounded to the nearest 100 if they exceed 1,000 and to the nearest 10 otherwise. Numbers from 1 to 5 inclusive are suppressed and replaced by a hyphen (-). Zero (0) is shown only when the number submitted was zero. As a consequence of our rounding and suppression figures may not sum to the total.
(4) Figures are taken from the SSDA903 return which before 1997-98 and since 2003-04 covered all looked after children.
(5) Figures are derived from the SSDA903 one-third sample survey between 1997-98 and 2002-03.
Mr. Wills: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many meetings officials from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister held with Swindon borough councillors in (a) 2003, (b) 2004 and (c) 2005. 
Mr. Jim Murphy:
The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre
Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question on the progress of the implementation programmes for Benefit Delivery Centres. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The roll out of the Benefit Delivery Centres is expected to be completed by March 2008.
The move to Benefit Delivery Centres involves the development of detailed implementation plans for each site. These include the steps required to move work from the sites currently processing claims to the new Benefit Delivery Centre to ensure the minimum disruption to performance and customer service.
The first site, in Wellingborough, went live as a Benefit Delivery Centre in April 2006. We are considering the lessons learned from the implementation of that site to inform the main phase of delivery, planned to start in the autumn.
In the interim, to ensure we maintain optimum levels of customer service, we are continuing to deliver benefits from our existing network of offices. Our strategy, in advance of full implementation, is to concentrate work at fewer sites where this is possible. In the last two years we have already reduced the number of processing sites by around 50 per cent. This allows us to move more quickly to the model of Benefit Delivery Centres, which builds upon an improved, more consistent level of customer service.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what average time was taken to rate a claim for (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) income support in (i) Peterborough constituency and (ii) the Peterborough city council area in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question regarding the average time taken to rate a claim for (a) Jobseeker's Allowance and (b) Income Support in (i) Peterborough constituency and (ii) the Peterborough city council area in each of the last 10 years. This falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Our measure of the time taken to process a claim is the actual average clearance time. Prior to April 2006 the Jobcentre Plus internal key management indicator for processing claims for Income Support (IS) and Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) was 12 working days. Since April 2006, these key management indicators have become official Jobcentre Plus targets; the IS clearance target is 11 days and the JSA clearance target is 12 days.
I am unable to provide information for the last 10 years as our system only holds data from April 2002 when Jobcentre Plus began operations.
For the period April 2002 to March 2005, information is available for the old Peterborough Jobcentre Plus district, which included the constituency of Peterborough and the Peterborough city council area. From April 2005 information is only available for the whole of Cambridgeshire.
The available information is in the following tables.
|Claim processing times in Peterborough Jobcentre Plus District
|Target in days
|Actual average clearance time in days
|Claim processing times in Cambridgeshire
|Target in days
|Actual average clearance time in days
Jobcentre Plus Management Information System Programme.
Jobcentre Plus is transforming the service it provides by making it available via the telephone, via the internet and through the personal service offered to people in Jobcentre Plus offices. We are also committed to implementing a major efficiency programme to deliver headcount savings.
On 30 January we launched a national action plan designed to reduce clearance times. The plan focuses on providing delivery units with specific tools and best practice guidance to enable them to improve their performance. Senior operational managers provided a formal assurance at the end of February that they were complying with all elements of the national action plan.
The chief operating officer is monitoring performance very closely and is addressing performance variations in benefit clearance times in specific locations and the actions required to clear backlogs. It should be acknowledged that concentrating on backlogs of work may initially cause average clearance times to rise.
I hope this is helpful.
Mrs. McGuire: Carers allowance, formerly known as invalid care allowance, has always been available to carers aged below state pension age. From 1994 it was made available to women aged between 60 and 65, and from 2002 we abolished the upper age limit for making a claim.
People entitled to carers allowance can have the additional amount for carers, currently £26.35 a week, included in the assessment of their pension credit. This applies both to those in receipt of carers allowance and those who cannot be paid because they are receiving at least an equivalent amount from a state pension. It is a basic principle of the social security system that only one benefit at a time can be paid for the same purpose. Even though the circumstances which give rise to
carers allowance and state pension are different, they are both designed to provide a degree of replacement for lost or forgone income. We have no plans to change the current arrangements.
Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the amount of carers allowance for which there was eligibility but no claims in each of the last five years. 
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 26 June 2006]: Entitlement to carers allowance depends on whether the qualifying conditions are satisfied, and this can be reliably established only after a claim has been made. There are no data available from which a reliable estimate might be made of the number of carers who would meet the conditions if they claimed.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what support the benefits system provides for those who become carers of vulnerable people after they themselves have passed retirement age; whether this differs from those who become carers before their age of retirement; what plans he has to change the system to improve the treatment of carers who are over retirement age; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: Carers have equal access to the full range of income maintenance social security benefits, whether they are above or below state pension age. In particular, they are able to apply equally for carers allowance, which is an income maintenance benefit for people who regularly spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a severely disabled person.
Lower-income people of pension age may receive pension credit in addition to their state pension. Pension credit recipients are guaranteed a weekly income of £114.05 for a single person or £174.05 for a couple. Carers entitled to carers allowance have the carers additional amount, currently £26.35 a week, included in the assessment of their pension credit. For both working age and pension age carers entitled to carers allowance, additional help is available through the carer premium, also set at £26.35 a week, in housing benefit and council tax benefit. This premium is available to working age carers in income support and income-based jobseekers allowance.
The overlapping benefits rules, which mean that two income maintenance benefits cannot be paid together, also apply equally to carers below state pension age receiving benefits such as incapacity benefit and to pension age carers receiving basic state pension.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what aggregate amount was paid to senior civil servants in the Child Support Agency in bonus payments related to performance in 2005-06. 
(i) Section (7)(2)(b) adds a rail vehicle accessibility compliance certificate' to the list of relevant documents in section 49(1) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, in respect of which it is already an offence for such a document to be forged, altered etc or for a false statement be made knowingly for the purpose of obtaining such a document. The amendment has yet to be brought into force;