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16 Apr 2007 : Column 241Wcontinued
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cumulative cost to his Department has been of the Restart Programme. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 7 March 2007]: The full information requested is not available.
The total cost of the Restart Programme and associated activities in Jobcentre Plus, over the financial years 2004-05 and 2005-06, is estimated at £70 million.
The data for Restart has been supplied by using Jobcentre Plus Activity Based Information (ABI). No information is available before 2003-04.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many individuals who attended the mandatory jobseekers challenge were placed in employment within (a) one month, (b) three months and (c) six months of undertaking the course since its inception; 
(2) how many unemployed individuals have attended the new Government pilot scheme, the mandatory jobseekers challenge. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Jobseekers Mandatory Activity (JMA) pilot is a two year pilot which started in April 2006 and is operating in 10 Jobcentre Plus districts. In pilot locations, people aged 25 and over who have been in receipt of jobseekers allowance or national insurance credits only for more than six months are required to attend a three day JMA course. The course helps to build confidence, increase motivation and improve job search skills and is followed by three interviews with a Personal Adviser.
Between April 2006 and February 2007, 17,537 people had completed the JMA course. Separate data is not available for those attending but not completing the course.
Information on those entering work one month, three months and six months after participating in JMA can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Results from the pilot will be included in an evaluation which will be published next year.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the planned expenditure is for the Jobcentre Plus Change Programme; what the aims of the Programme are; what the targets are for the
Programme; and how many staff the Programme employs. 
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.
Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 16 April 2007:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what the planned expenditure is for the Jobcentre Plus Change Programme; what the aims of the Programme are; what the targets are for the Programme; and how many staff the Programme employs. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The budget allocated for the Jobcentre Plus Change Programme is £545 million for 2006-7 and £594 million for 2007-8. There are currently 360 staff employed on projects within the programme.
The aims of the Jobcentre Plus Change Programme are to:
deliver strategic change to support the Government's Welfare to Work priorities, including introducing the new Employment and Support Allowance for people with a health condition or disability;
support business efficiency by changes to processes and systems;
test and pilot new approaches to services, for example by implementing additional support for lone parents;
maintain existing systems with a planned schedule of new releases.
Each part of the Jobcentre Plus Change Programme has its own targets which require them to deliver changes to agreed specifications of time, cost and quality. These requirements are captured in individual business cases that are formally approved and regularly reviewed. Change Programme projects comply with standard project and programme management disciplines. The overall programme is reviewed at least monthly to monitor whether it is on track in categories such as schedules, resources, risk, governance, business readiness and benefits.
I hope this is helpful.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what efficiency savings have been made in his Department and agencies as a result of the Gershon review; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: At the time that the Gershon efficiency savings targets were set for the Department for Work and Pensions we already had in excess of 90 projects, programmes and initiatives under way or being considered that contributed to the Departments efficiency through modernisation of the Departments systems and processes.
After the setting of these targets the programme was reviewed in order to ensure that it would deliver the necessary efficiencies. Where appropriate projects, programmes and initiatives were modified to take into account these new targets. Additionally new projects, programmes and initiatives were assessed for their contribution to the efficiency targets.
The Department has not undertaken any project, programme or initiative solely on the basis of delivering the efficiency challenge, but on the basis of delivering value for money to taxpayers while delivering improvements to our customers experience and contributing to the Departments achievement of its efficiency challenge.
Efficiency savings reported up to September 2006 were £874 million.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent by his Department and agencies on achieving Gershon efficiency savings; whether these costs are accounted for and included in the reports of headline efficiency savings; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department for Work and Pensions follows the reporting requirements set for Gershon efficiency savings which do not require that efficiencies be recorded net of upfront investment costs. The efficiencies reported
derive both from core management best practice initiatives and from specific efficiency projects. It is not possible to isolate how much has been spent in order to achieve Gershon efficiency savings without incurring disproportionate cost.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of housing benefit recipients (a) have children and (b) receive a premium for a disabled child. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is in the following table.
|Housing benefit (HB) recipients with dependants/a disabled child premium: Great Britain, May 2003|
1. Case loads are rounded to the nearest thousand and percentages to one decimal place.
2. Figures are based on a 1 per cent. sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling variation.
3. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.
4. Housing benefit figures exclude any extended payment cases.
5. Dependants are defined as children aged under 16 or young adults aged 16 to 18 in full time education.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System, annual 1 per cent. sample, taken in May 2003.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many young housing benefit recipients were subject to the shared room rate restriction in each region in each year since its introduction. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is in the following table:
|Housing benefit recipients subject to the Single Room Rent (SRR) scheme by Government office region: August 1997 to August 2006|
1. The data refers to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.
2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
3. Housing benefit figures exclude any extended payment cases.
4. Figures for any non-responding local authorities have been estimated.
5. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly 100 per cent. caseload stock-count taken in August 1997 to August 2006
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people (a) below and (b) above national retirement age were claiming income support in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2006. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The available information is in the following table:
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