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Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimates were made for the Henshaw Review of the proportion of parents with care whose cases are with the Child Support Agency who would (a) transfer to the new body, (b) establish private arrangements and (c) have no arrangements. 
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 27 November 2006]: As a result of the reforms which Sir David Henshaw put forward he estimated that the number of children receiving maintenance would increase from 1.1 million to 1.7 million, with an increasing proportion of parents making private arrangements. In steady state Sir David Henshaw estimated the long run administrative savings to be in the region of £200 million, based on a caseload of between 0.8 million and 1.1 million in the new organisation. In making these estimates Sir David identified in his report the need to do further research to support the transition of cases and that there is an element of unpredictability about such transitional flows.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Child Support Agency cases were (a) outstanding and (b) unprocessed in (i) Eastbourne constituency and (ii) East Sussex in each year since 1997. 
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Child Support Agency cases were (a) outstanding and (b) unprocessed in (i) Eastbourne constituency and (ii) East Sussex in each year since 1997.
The Agency begins to process new applications as soon as they are received and continues until they have been cleared. Any applications that have not yet been cleared can be regarded as outstanding. The amount of work required to achieve clearance and the elapsed time it involves varies considerably depending on, amongst other things, the circumstances of the parents and how readily they cooperate with the Agency.
As such, the Agency holds only a negligible number of completely unprocessed cases and it is not possible to allocate these to individual constituencies.
With regard to part (a), the Agency can only provide the information requested for applications (both new and old scheme) operating on the new computer system (CS2). Therefore this is not representative of the overall trend and volumes of the total amount of uncleared applications at the geographical level requested. Please see the attached table.
It should be noted that there are always applications for which the Agency cannot assign a county or a constituency, either because they had been received directly via Jobcentre Plus and had not reached the point in the process at which details on the constituency of the parent with care can be identified, or because the application is on the old computer system from which it is not possible to provide robust estimates at the geographical level requested. In September 2006, there were around 70,000 such applications.
For future reference, it should be noted that information relating to the number of uncleared applications on the new computer system in September 2006 in each parliamentary constituency is publicly available, and can be found in Table 27 of the September 2006 Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary of Statistics, a copy of which is available in the House of Commons Library, or on the internet via the following link:
Although the total volume of uncleared applications nationally across both schemes, 247,500 in September 2006, is the
lowest since comparable records began, the Agency recognises that this remains unacceptably high. The Agency therefore has a 2006/07 target to ensure that, by March 2007, the volume of new scheme uncleared applications outstanding at March 2006 is reduced by 25 per cent. and our challenge, as set down in our Operational Improvement Plan, is that the Agency should not have a backlog in this area by March 2009.
I hope you find this answer helpful.
|Number of uncleared applications in the parliamentary constituency of Eastbourne from September 2003 to September 2006 (both new and old scheme applications on the new computer system only)|
|Number of uncleared applications in East Sussex from September 2003 to September 2006 (both new and old scheme applications on the new computer system only)|
1. According to the Office for National Statistics definition, East Sussex comprises 5 local authority areas: Eastbourne, Rother, Hastings, Lewes and Wealdon.
2. Volumes are rounded to the nearest ten.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many calls were received by the financial assistance scheme operational unit in each quarter of the last three years; and how many calls were answered in each month since April 2006. 
|Quarter end||Number of calls received|
Since April 2006, 2,770 calls have been received and 2,755 were answered. Of these, the 15 not answered were abandoned by the caller in less than two seconds. As requested, the monthly breakdown is as follows:
|2006||Number of calls answered||Total for each quarter|
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much the Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform's blog has cost to administer in each month since its inception; what the budget for the blog is for 2007-08; and how many unique visitors to the blog there have been since May. 
(1 )Unique visitorsIndividuals who visited the site during the report period. If someone visits more than once, they are counted only the first time they visit.
(2 )VisitsNumber of times a visitor came to the site.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when court procedures require his Department to submit its defence papers in respect of the judicial review launched by members of the Pension Action Group; and when he expects to submit those papers. 
James Purnell: The deadline for lodging our grounds for resisting the claim was 35 days from 18 October, the date when the court gave permission for the judicial review, subject to any extension agreed between the parties or by the court. We applied to the court for an extension of the time in this case and this was granted. We sent our grounds to the court on Monday 4 December.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the contract for providers in provider-led pathways to work areas (a) will be cash-limited and (b) includes a ceiling on the number of claimants that each provider will be able to support. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 18 January 2007]: Where providers perform better than outlined in their contract, we would look to fund additional outcome payments using residual money from any under-performing providers.
While we will expect providers to deliver work focused interviews for all those customers referred to us, providers are able to offer the pathways to work service to customers directly. It is therefore for the provider to determine how they focus their resource and how many customers they support in order to achieve the job outcome targets that will have been agreed in the contract.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what his latest estimate is of the monetary value of fraud and error in each of the last five years in (a) income support, (b) incapacity benefit, (c) disability living allowance, (d) jobseeker's allowance, (e) housing benefit, (f) pension credit, (g) council tax benefit, (h) basic state pension, (i) carer's allowance and (j) attendance allowance; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what his estimate is of the fraud and error rate in (a) percentage and (b) cash terms in (i) attendance allowance, (ii) carer's allowance, (iii) basic state pension, (iv) bereavement benefit, (v) industrial injuries benefit, (vi) maternity allowance, (vii) severe disablement allowance, (viii) social fund, (ix) widow's benefit and (x) winter fuel payments in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement; 
(4) what estimate he has made of the amount of overpayments made as a result of official error for each social security benefit paid by his Department in each of the last seven years; and if he will make a statement. 
Our strategies are working. For example, national statistics estimate that fraud and error loss in Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance are now at their lowest everby September 2005, the percentage of expenditure overpaid had reduced by 48 per cent. compared to the 1998 baseline.
Estimates are not available for Attendance Allowance, Industrial Injuries Benefit, Maternity Allowance, the Social Fund and Winter Fuel Payments. In calculating the estimate of overpayments across the whole benefit system for the Department's resource account it is assumed that across these benefits 2.7 per cent. of expenditure is overpaid.
23. Kitty Ussher: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps her Department is taking to promote interfaith forums as a means of tackling religious extremism. 
Mr. Woolas: My Department's overall aim in working with and across faith communities is to increase community cohesion and prevent and reduce extremism from and towards these communities. Inter- faith initiatives play a key role in tackling and isolating violent extremist activity. My Department supports the Interfaith Network which represents the collective voice of all main faith communities and helps regional and local bodies to contribute to community cohesion. In addition, £5 million has been set aside for inter-faith programmes and capacity building within faith communities during 2007. The Local Government White Paper reforms will further engage faith communities in promoting cohesion through their effective representation in local public partnerships.
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