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16 Apr 2007 : Column 232Wcontinued
John Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what date he expects all old cases of the Child Support Agency to have been brought under the new system; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to my hon. Friend with the information requested.
Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 16 April 2007:
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, on what date he expects all old cases of the Child Support Agency to have been brought under the new system; and if he will make a statement. 
The problems encountered by the Agency following the launch of the Reforms in 2003 are well documented and were widely publicised at the time. As a result of these problems the decision to bulk migrate and convert the caseload was deferred, although from the launch of the Reforms in March 2003 new rules applications to child support have continued to trigger the reactive migration of old rules cases from CSCS and following migration relevant cases have been reactively converted from old to new rules.
The child maintenance White Paper A new system of child maintenance sets out radical and far-reaching proposals for the wholesale reform of the child maintenance system. Box 3.1 on page 54, details the expected timetable for transition to the new system.
I hope you find this response helpful.
Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate how many children would be lifted out of poverty if a 70 per cent. employment rate for lone parents whose youngest child is aged 11 years or over was to be achieved. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: An accurate estimate of the impact on child poverty cannot be given. This is because the employment rate for lone parents with a youngest child aged 11 years or over is currently 69 per cent. The relatively small change involved in raising this to 70 per cent. creates problems of sampling error, preventing accurate estimates of impact.
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners living in the Carlisle City Council area are in receipt of council tax benefit. 
Mr. Plaskitt: As at August 2006, there were 4,310 council tax benefit recipients aged 60 and over in Carlisle local authority.
1. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.
2. The case load figure is rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Figures exclude any second adult rebate cases.
4. Aged 60 and over is defined as benefit units where the claimant and/or partner are aged 60 and over. Therefore figures will contain some claimants aged under 60 where there is a partner aged over 60 years.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly 100 per cent. case load stock-count taken in August 2006.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which fixed assets his Department sold for more than £10,000 in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06; and what the (i) sale value, (ii) purchaser and (iii) date of sale was of each asset. 
Mrs. McGuire: Fixed assets the Department has sold for more than £10,000 are as follows:
|(a) in 2004-05|
|Asset description||Asset category||(i) Sale value (£)||(ii) Purchaser||(iii) Date of sale|
|(b) in 2005-06|
|Asset description||Asset category||(i) Sale value (£)||(ii) Purchaser||(iii) Date of sale|
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what area of office space his Department and its agencies used in central London in (a) 2004 and (b) 2006; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions does not own any land or property as DWP has an outsourced estate via a PFI contract known as PRIME. The majority of the DWP estate has been sold (freehold, feuhold and long leasehold interests) or transferred (short leasehold interests) to Land Securities Trillium. The proceeds were released to HM Treasury in April 1998 (for the original DSS estate) and further in December 2003 when PRIME was expanded to include the former ES estate.
While DWP does not own any land/property the Department does occupy a number of buildings in Central London :
(a) During 2004 the NIA (net internal area) occupied was 75,688 sq m
(b) By December 2006 the NIA occupied was 66,068 sq m.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the percentage change in (a) staff and (b) staff with disabilities in his Department has been since 1 April 2002; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what the change in the proportion of his Department's staff with disabilities has been since 1 April 2002; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what steps he is taking to seek to reverse the decline in the proportion of his Department's employees who are disabled. 
Mrs. McGuire: There has been an 8.53 per cent. reduction in staff headcount(1) between 31 March 2002 and 30 November 2006. There has been a 13.53 per cent. reduction in the number of disabled staff in the same period.
The proportion of staff with disabilities has reduced from 5.45 per cent. to 5.36 per cent. between 31 March 2002 and 30 November 2006, a reduction of 0.09 per cent.
Current figures are based on the proportion of staff who have voluntarily declared themselves as being disabled. However, we are aware that not all disabled staff declare their disability for departmental records, and the true figure may be higher than the figures shown. For example, the 2006 DWP Staff Survey (which is completed anonymously) showed that 13 per cent. of respondents considered themselves to have a long-standing health condition or disability.
Additionally, in 2002 the proportion of disabled staff was calculated as a proportion of all staff. However, following revised guidance from the Cabinet Office we now exclude staff for whom we have no disability status declaration. The figures for 2006 therefore exclude staff who have chosen not to declare their disability status.
The roll-out of a new computer system by the end of April this year will mean that we have a more accurate assessment of the numbers of disabled people working
within the Department. As we roll out we are asking each member of staff to check the personal information we hold about them. A joint communications exercise with departmental trade unions to highlight the importance of individuals providing this information has also been planned.
The Department for Work and Pensions published its Disability Equality Schemes on 1 December 2006. These set out the Department's approach to the Disability Equality Duty (introduced by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005), including its approach as an employer. In particular, this includes our arrangements for gathering information on the effect of our policies and practices on the recruitment, development and retention of our disabled employees and making use of that information.
When we recruit externally, all advertisements contain the "Positive About Disabled People Two Ticks Symbol", and the Department ensures that all applicants who declare a disability are given reasonable adjustments at each stage of the selection process to ensure they are competing on a level playing field.
When disabled applicants are successful, all relevant adjustments are made, in consultation with the individual and expert advisers where appropriate. Managers keep under review any particular requirements that disabled employees may have, in line with the "Two Ticks" commitments.
Activity to improve the numbers of employees of under-represented groups, including disabled people, within the Senior Civil Service is under wayand further action is planned. In line with other central Government Departments, these are detailed within our 10 Point Plan and include placing adverts and articles in the specialist press and ensuring that panel members have had more training in recruitment best practice, especially diversity and equality.
(1) For reporting consistency Headcount refers to all staff in the permanent and fixed term staff populations. It excludes casual staff and those who are unpaid. The statistics for DWP exclude The Rent Service and Health and Safety Executive.
Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what databases are controlled by his Department and its agencies; and what percentage of the data in each database he estimates is inaccurate or out of date. 
Mrs. McGuire: It is not possible to provide this information without incurring disproportionate costs.
The Department has several hundred IT systems, each of which has a database of some form. The accuracy and currency of the data held within them will vary depending on the purpose of the system.
Systems which are used in the identification and control of customer records should be up to date at the point that a citizen last contacted us to inform us of their circumstance (or change of circumstance). The information is based on what is provided by the citizen and verified where appropriate.
Mr. Dunne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how often his Department's databases are updated with the revised details of individuals who have moved house. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested. The Department for Work and Pensions has updated its records around 18.5 million times as a result of people changing address.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what mechanisms are in place to ensure his Department's economical use of paper. 
Mrs. McGuire: DWP procurement policies require open competition and that these meet the cross-Government sustainable development targets. These policies recognise our responsibility to achieve value for money, make prudent use of natural resources and purchase sustainable goods and services.
The Department competitively tenders for the best value for money on office paper and print products and has mandated the maximum percentage use of recycled office and printing paper. The products we use have levels of waste content that meet targets and are from sustainable and renewable sources.
In addition, DWP staff are encouraged to reduce printing and photocopying, to use the duplexing facilities available on our office printers and photocopiers and to use the recycling facilities available in our offices for waste paper and many other recyclable items.
DWP fully supports the cross-Government sustainable operations targets, launched last year, which include commitments to reduce waste and increase recycling.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of income support entitled lone parent households receive disability living allowance for a child. 
Mr. Plaskitt: As at August 2006, 5.1 per cent. of lone parents in receipt of income support also received disability living allowance for a child. This is the most recent figure available.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of looked-after children are entitled to disability living allowance. 
Mrs. McGuire: The information is not available in the format requested.
As at August 2006, the most recent date for which figures are available, 2.6 per cent. of children under 16 years of age were entitled claimants of disability living allowance.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average age is of first award for under 18-year-olds entitled to disability living allowance. 
Mrs. McGuire: As at August 2006, the most recent available figure, the average age at first award for disability living allowance for those aged under 18 years of age, in Great Britain, is seven years.
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