|Members IT equipment and support|
Desk top IT equipment has a life expectancy of around four years. The spend profile will reflect major upgrade and replacement programmes; for example, the 2005 general election gave rise to the higher spend on Members IT equipment in 2005-06.
Mr. Straw: Since the general election of 2005, Dell holds the contract for the supply and support of desktop hardware and peripherals for hon. Members. The Parliamentary ICT Service (PICT) provides support for centrally provided software packages and first line support for centrally provided hardware.
Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect on his Departments expenditure on social security benefits of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellences decision to withdraw eligibility of those suffering from the early stages of Alzheimers disease to have the drugs (a) Donepezil, (b) Rivastigmine and (c) Galantamine prescribed on the NHS. 
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in each constituency in Scotland were in receipt of (a) housing benefit, (b) disability living allowance and (c) council tax benefit in each year since 1997; and how much was claimed of each benefit in each constituency in each year. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the total costs of administering the Christmas bonus for pensionersin each year since 1980-81; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many confirmed security breaches of databases controlled by his Department occurred in each of the last five years; whether the breach resulted from internal or external sources in each case; how many records were compromised on each occasion; and what estimate was made of the total number of records accessible to the individuals concerned. 
Mrs. McGuire: There have been no recorded security incidents of this type from external sources within the period since January 2001. However, as the table shows, 1,142 incidences of staff using legitimate access to databases to browse data for which they had no business requirement are recorded. Neither the number of records accessed on each occasion nor the potential number of records accessible is recorded.
|Number of incidents|
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what telephony equipment intended to protect employees from noise events and acoustic incidents has been procured by his Department's call centres. 
Mrs. McGuire: GN Netcom2100 headsets are in use in all DWP business units. The Child Support Agencys National Helplines and Jobcentre Plus contact centres also use Plantronics Supra mono headsets; and The Pension Service also use GN Netcom2200 duo and mono and GN Netcom cordless headsets. Staff in DCS and Pension Service centres have also been supplied with GN8210 amplifiers.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees in his Departments call centres have reported (a) headset noise interference and (b) acoustic incidents while at work over the last two years; and how many of those employees have had sickness absence exceeding three days as a consequence. 
Mrs. McGuire: As incidents are handled locally only limited information is available centrally and it is not always possible to identify whether reports relate to contact centre staff. The following information is available for the past two years: Jobcentre Plus, ten reports one of which led to sick absence (duration not known); The Pension Service, two reports one of which led to a sick absence of over three days; and the Disability and Carers Service contact centres, ninety six reports one of which led to a sick absence in excess of three days.
Mrs. McGuire: For the financial year 2005-06 the Department for Work and Pensions spent £1,987,000 on television advertising for the Targeting Benefit Fraud campaign. The Department did not run any other television advertisements.
1. The figure refers to media spend only, excluding production, direct mail, public relations and other costs.
2. The figure has been rounded to the nearest thousand.
3. The figure is net of VAT.
Mrs. McGuire: The percentage of mail shipped using private companies is 11 per cent. This is made up of8 per cent. via a courier contract and 3 per cent. via alternative mail providers. The total expenditure over the last 12 months was £7.9 million.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's annual budget is for employing workers on a consultancy basis; and how much of this budget was used in each of the last five years for which records are available. 
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of staff employed in the top five grades of his Department have (a) a graduate qualification in IT and (b) previous employment as an IT specialist. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have received payment from the Financial Assistance Scheme; and how many payments have been made from the scheme in each month for which figures are available. 
James Purnell: As at 17 November 2006, the Financial Assistance Scheme had paid 557 people.44 more people will be paid as soon as they have confirmed their personal details and a further 133 have been assessed and will be paid when they reach age 65.
|Number of paymentsDecember 2005 to October 2006|
|New payments||Cumulative total|
|(1) Up to 17th.|
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Work and Pensions whether he has made an assessment of the effect of the recent Social Security Commissioners' ruling on housing benefit on registered social landlord tenants with learning difficulties. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Social Security Commissioner's ruling concerned the rules for specialist accommodation for which the pre-1996 rent restriction scheme has been preserved. The commissioner decided that the rent restriction scheme introduced in 1996 should be used in certain cases as the accommodation did not fall intothe pre-1996 exempt categories.
The commissioner decided on the plain interpretation of the regulations as advocated by DWP, and so the housing benefit rules for registered social landlord tenants with learning difficulties have not changed.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how international pension officers overseas are recruited; where the positions are advertised; and what qualifications and experience are required for an overseas posting. 
Posts are advertised and filled using the relevant Department or mission's normal recruitment methods. There are no formal qualifications for these posts, but demonstration of a range of competencies including communication and written skills, analytical abilities and working with others is required.
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