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|Departmental resource allocations 2007-08|
|Business||Total resource 2007-08|
1. Figures do not include EYF from 2006-07 as carry forward to 2007-08 not yet agreed.
2. Figures include EYF from 2005-06, but the draw down has not been agreed with HMT, therefore may feature in the final allocation.
3. Figures do not include additional funding as agreed by the 2007 Budget.
4. The figure is for total resource and includes Admin, DEL programme and capital.
Period 12 2006-07 Budget Book
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, columns 1828-29W, on departments: training, how many staff in his Department attended (a) self development and (b) self awareness training courses in 2006. 
Mrs. McGuire: Considerable effort and resources would need to be used on interrogating the Staff Information System in order to obtain information that could be used to identify the level of detail required for 2006. Obtaining this level of information could be done only at disproportionate cost.
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 about the number of Jobcentre Plus offices, which have been closed in England in each of the Regions since 2005. This is something, which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Office closures occur for a variety of reasons; first, as we rationalise the old Social Security and Employment Services Estate to create the new Jobcentre Plus Network; second, as a result of centralising benefit processing and our Contact Centre activities; third as a part of our ongoing commitment to ensure that our services are provided in the most efficient manner.
I attach a list showing the total number of closures in England since 2005 resulting from the above activities, broken down by region.
I hope this information is helpful.
|Office closures by English regions since 2005 (as at 16 May 2007)|
Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in Copeland were registered for jobseeker's allowance in the financial year ending (a) March 1997 and (b) March 2007; 
As at March 1997, there were 2,940 people in Copeland claiming jobseekers allowance. As at March 2007, there were 1,110 people in Copeland claiming jobseekers allowance. These figures include those receiving national insurance credits only.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many LinkAge Plus centres have been established in the last 12 months; where they were established; and what budget has been allocated to Link Age Plus. 
James Purnell: Eight LinkAge Plus pilots have been established to expand the principles of joined up working by providing access to a wide range of services for older people, beyond the traditional benefits and care agendas.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of New Deal participants were placed in (a) sustained and (b) unsustained employment in each year since the scheme began, broken down by New Deal provider. 
Mr. Jim Murphy [holding answer 18 May 2007]: Information on the proportion of New Deal participants placed into sustained and unsustained employment in each year since the programme began, broken down by New Deal provider, could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
In August 1998 the Financial Services Regulator announced a further stage of the review covering those not in the priority categories to identify cases where people were badly advised to opt out of, not join, and/or transfer funds from an occupational pension scheme in favour of a personal pension.
From 30 December 2005 new scheme funding requirements require trustees to develop prudent scheme funding strategies, on a scheme specific basis, for meeting their schemes pension commitments.
A series of other Regulations between 2002 and 2005, strengthened the employer debt for schemes in wind-up, resulting in a full buy-out debt for schemes sponsored by solvent and insolvent employers, or where an employer withdraws from a multi-employer scheme.
The Pensions Regulator, which replaced Opra from 6 April 2005 this has a broad range of powers to help fulfil its statutory objectives. These include protecting the benefits of occupational pension scheme members. The Regulators act quickly to anticipate and tackle any risks to the benefits of those members.
The Pension Protection Fund, which provides protection to members of eligible defined benefit occupational pension schemes where the employer becomes insolvent (after 6 April 2005) and leaves the scheme under-funded. The Pension Protection Fund went live on 6 April 2005.
The Financial Assistance Scheme, which provides support to members of defined benefit occupational pension schemes which started to wind up, under funded (between 1 January 1997 and 5 April 2005). The Financial Assistance Scheme began operations on 1 September 2005.
Government legislated to create a new FSA-regulated activity of establishing, operating or winding up a personal pension scheme, with a new rules taking effect from 6 April 2007. This change will extend consumer protection to all aspects of personal pensions as well as open the market up to greater competition.
James Purnell: The Government recognise the importance of pension scheme governance and the vital role of pension scheme trustees. While they have no current plans to introduce further legislation in this area, nor to assess the expertise or training requirements of trustees directly, the strategic priorities of the pensions regulator include improving the governance of work-based pension schemes and the training of trustees.
The regulator has already provided trustees and their advisers with extensive guidance on a range of governance issues such as internal controls and risk management through codes of practice and other guidance. The regulator has also established a free e-learning programme for trustees, the Trustee toolkit, providing easily accessible information which has been well received.
The regulator will build upon this work by implementing the initiatives outlined in its discussion paper on scheme governance published in April 2007. These relate to managing conflicts, the employer covenant, relations with advisers, issues around administration, investment choices and winding-up of schemes.
Mr. Plaskitt: Since 1997, the Department has developed and implemented a comprehensive strategy for reducing fraud. Our strategy is workingthe latest National Statistics report published on 1 February 2007 estimated that, across all benefits, around £0.7 billion (0.6 per cent. of benefit expenditure) was overpaid in 2005-06 due to benefit fraud. This is down from an estimated £2 billion (2.0 per cent. of benefit expenditure) in 2001. We are determined to continue building on this success in the future by, for example, trying new data matching initiatives with credit reference agencies.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many benefits offices provide 0845 numbers for the use of people seeking to contact them; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what the (a) average number of calls before connection and (b) average time taken to get connected, not including connections to automated responses, was for people telephoning benefits offices using 0845 numbers in the last 12 months; 
(4) what his policy is on charging members of the public who telephone Jobcentre Plus or benefits offices who are connected to an automated answering device but not subsequently connected to a member of staff; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions about the use of 0845 numbers for calls to Benefit Delivery Centres and average telephone call costs. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
To date 54 sites have converted to 0845 numbers as part of the programme to centralise benefits, which is due for completion by March 2008. Uniform telephony data on numbers of calls, average length of calls and calls terminated after the automated answering service will not be available until this modernisation programme is complete. When this process is complete the new telephony system will provide more comprehensive management information and this will enable us to more effectively manage the telephone service to our customers.
We do not have data on the length of calls to telephony teams. If the benefit enquiry becomes complicated then the telephony team would make arrangements for a benefit specialist to call the customer back. The cost (set by BT) which begins once the customer has pressed the number on the automated response is between 1p and 3p per minute (from a landline) depending on the time of day. Call charges from mobile telephones vary depending on the service provider.
I hope this is helpful.