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I hope this is helpful.
Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which staff in his Department are seconded from organisations with charitable status; and which have (a) costs and (b) salaries met (i) in part and (ii) in whole (A) from public funds and (B) by the charity from which they are seconded. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 4 December 2006]: Looking at claims by occupation (usual and sought) shows that in October 2006 there were 220 people in the north-east on jobseekers allowance (JSA) whose occupation is electrician/electrical fitter.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many local areas he has worked with to draw up a local full employment plan addressing all barriers to full employment in their local area. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: Full employment plan is not a term that is commonly used. Jobcentre Plus is fully involved in the employment strands of the 87 Local Area Agreements already signed, and the remaining 63 currently under negotiation in England. This involvement includes contributing to local employment plans as and where they are being developed. Through its membership of Local Strategic Partnerships in England, Community First Partnerships in Wales and Local Economic Fora in Scotland, Jobcentre Plus works to ensure that employment is high on the agenda.
Mr. Plaskitt: The Advisory Committee on Freedom of Movement for Workers is composed of six members for each member state, two of whom represent the Government, two the trade unions and two the employers associations. No other qualifications are required.
The Committee is set up under Articles 24 and 25 of Regulation (EEC) No. 1612/68, on freedom of movement of workers within the European Community. Its role is to assist the European Commission in the examination of any questions arising from the application of the Treaty in matters concerning the freedom of movement of workers and their employment.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that private organisations contracted to work (a) in his Department and (b) for non-departmental public bodies and Executive agencies for which his Department is responsible are aware of their duties under gender equality legislation when exercising public functions on behalf of public bodies. 
Mrs. McGuire: The discrimination provisions in the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 apply to both the public and private sectors. Gender equality considerations can be built into contracts between public authorities and their private sector contractors where they are relevant to the function or service being carried out.
From 6 April 2007, private sector organisations, when carrying out functions of a public nature on behalf of public authorities, will be required to comply with the general gender equality duty which is to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination and harassment and promote equality of opportunity between women and men.
To assist us, our non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies in ensuring that private sector
contractors providing goods, works or services on our behalf, are aware of their obligations under the general gender equality duty we will refer to the Equal Opportunities Commissions (EOC) Code of Practice of the Gender Equality Duty and any further EOC guidance when available.
Mrs. McGuire: From April 2007, my Department will carry out gender impact assessments of major policy developments and new legislation in line with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (Public Authorities)(Statutory Duties) Order 2006 (No. 2930). We shall refer to Equal Opportunities Commissions (EOC) Code of Practice on the Gender Equality Duty and their specific guidance when available.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost of cutting the withdrawal rate of housing benefit from 65 per cent. to (a) 60, (b) 55, (c) 50, (d) 45 and (e) 40 per cent.; and if he will make a statement. 
|Estimated cost of cutting the withdrawal rate of housing benefit|
|Changing the housing benefit withdrawal rate from 65 per cent. to:||Estimated annual cost in annually managed expenditure (£ million)|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest £10 million or 10,000 beneficiaries and are for Great Britain.
2. The impact is estimated using the Departments Policy Simulation Model for 2006-07, using data from the 2004-05 Family Resources Survey up-rated to 2006-07 prices, benefit rates and earnings levels, and is calibrated to latest published forecasts and policies.
3. Results are subject to sampling and reporting errors and estimation assumptions, and are therefore indicative only. No behavioural changes are assumed.
Mr. Plaskitt: The level of housing benefit fraud and error in Great Britain has been continuously measured since 2002-03. The latest estimates are for the year from October 2004 to September 2005. The percentage of expenditure overpaid due to fraud is estimated to have dropped by 38 per cent. since 2002-03. Estimates of both the percentage and amount of housing benefit expenditure overpaid due to fraud in England are presented in the following table. When comparing levels of fraud in different years it is more appropriate to look at percentages, as the amount overpaid is also affected by changes in rents and caseload.
|The level of fraud in housing benefit in England since April 2002|
|Period||Estimated percentage overpaid||Estimated amount overpaid (£ million)|
1. These estimates are based on a sample of housing benefit cases, so are subject to a large degree of uncertainty.
2. Around 15 per cent. of housing benefit cases lie outside the scope of this sample, so the estimates do not cover the whole of HB expenditure.
3. Further information on housing benefit fraud and error is available from National Statistics reports at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd2/fraud_hb/fraud_hb.asp
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claiming industrial injuries benefit were (a) in work, (b) out of work and of working age and (c) retired in the last period for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
|Cases where industrial injuries disablement benefit/reduced earning allowance was in payment at March 2006|
1. Figures have been rounded to the nearest five.
2. Table shows all cases; industrial injuries disablement benefit and reduced earnings allowance.
3. State pension age has been defined as females 60 and over and males 65 and over.
4. It is not possible to distinguish between people in work and out of work.
Information Directorate, Industrial Injuries Computer System, 100 per cent. data.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department takes to ensure that Jobcentre Plus staff do not advise couples that they would be better off financially if they separated; and what action is taken if Jobcentre Plus staff are found to be advising couples to separate for financial reasons. 
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 asking what steps are taken to ensure that Jobcentre Plus do not advise couples that they would be better off financially if they separated; and what action is taken if Jobcentre Plus staff are
found to be advising couples to separate for financial reasons. This is something, which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
I can assure you that Jobcentre Plus does not encourage couples to separate in order to receive more benefits. Our focus is to ensure that people/families receive the benefit for which they are entitled and the support required to enable them to compete effectively in the labour market. This support extends to partners of people claiming benefits.
All cases are dealt with on an individual basis according to their circumstances. There are different rules for different benefits which will be explained to customers. Our staff are fully trained to understand what is required of them. Where these standards are not met action may be taken under our performance management procedures.
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 asking what targets are set for Jobcentre Plus Contact Centre telephone operators. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus Contact Centre operators individual performance is measured against a set of internal benchmarks. These benchmarks contribute to internal Contact Centre Key Performance Indicators, which support Jobcentre Plus Key Management Indicators and Jobcentre Plus Targets, and are kept under close review.
The enclosed table details the benchmarks that operators are currently being measured against for each of the services delivered by our contact centres.
I hope this is helpful.
|Jobcentre Plus contact centre operators internal benchmarks|
First Contact average call handling time (length of phone call with customer)12 minutes (BT sites); eight minutes (EDS sites). (The service offered to customers is identical but the technology accounts for time differently. This will be resolved in 2007.)
Employer Directto spend an average of 70 per cent. of the time on the call with 30 per cent. for wrap up time. Wrap up time allows agents to deal with the admin work associated to the service they are delivering.
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