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Mrs. McGuire: Over the 12 months to the end of May 2007, the Department for Work and Pensions launched 18 formal consultation exercises, of which seven were full public consultations, in order to inform the Departments policy development. Information on the cost of each consultation, and the total cost of all consultations, could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mrs. McGuire: In the last 12 months, the Department for Work and Pensions has directly procured printing services from Remploy and also New Deal for Disabled People job broking services at a total cost of £3,002,559.
Through third party main contractors, Remploy also provides the Department with secure disposal and recycling of IT equipment; distribution and order fulfilment of printed matter; contact centre staff for print and leaflet ordering and recruitment services for catering and cleaning staff.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what average number of days per year was taken by staff in his Department as sick leave in each of the last five years for which records are available. 
Official figures on the level of sickness absence in the Civil Service are reported by the Cabinet Office annually in a report titled 'Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service'. The last report is for the year 2005. Data for 2006 are being compiled currently and the report will be published later this year.
|Average working days absence per staff-year|
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many sick days were taken by staff of his Department and its executive agencies in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the average number of sick days taken by staff members was. 
Mrs. McGuire: The available information is in the table. Official figures on the level of sickness absence in the Civil Service are reported by the Cabinet Office annually in a report titled 'Analysis of Sickness Absence in the Civil Service'. The latest report is for the year 2005. Data for 2006 are being compiled currently and will be published later this year.
|Business||Sickness days in 2005||Average days per staff year|
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions does not have a category for recording stress- related sick leave. Sick leave related to a range of metal health conditions is recorded. This includes stress-related absences, but also other mental health problems such as schizophrenia and depression.
|Percentage of employees who were absent in the years 2005 to 2007 due to anxiety, depression and other mental health issues|
|Year ending||Percentage absent|
Mrs. McGuire: Two DWP-wide staff surveys have been conducted in the last 12 months: a survey of all staff in November 2006 and a sampled survey in May 2007. Smaller Pulse surveys of 1,000 people are carried out monthly between the main surveys. Overall cost is £150,000 project cost and £130,000 annual staff salary cost. This represents a unit cost of approximately £2.25 per DWP staff member per annum.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2007, Official Report, column 26W, on disability living allowance, in what format the information referred to is recorded. 
Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will extend the mobility component of the disability living allowance to parents of children below the age of three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 15 June 2007]: In April 2001 as a result of medical evidence, we reduced the age limit for entitlement from five to three years as the earliest point at which it can be reasonably determined whether a childs inability, or virtual inability, to walk is the result of physical disability.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the ability of the new personal capability assessment contained within the Welform Reform Bill (a) to assess accurately patients with long-term, fluctuating conditions and (b) to ensure that such patients receive the support necessary to get back into employment; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The review of the Personal Capability Assessment (PCA) will ensure that it continues to be a fair, robust and accurate assessment of limited capability for work which takes account of all conditions, including those that are long-term and the fluctuate. Testing and development of the PCA is still progressing, and a report by the technical working group undertaking this work is expected to be published in the summer. Currently, the health care professionals who undertake the PCA are trained to consider the position of customers with any condition, including long-term fluctuating conditions, and this approach will be carried forward into the revised PCA when it is introduced for the purposes of employment and support allowance in 2008.
The revised PCA will bring structured help to support and encourage a return to work by exploring a persons ability to engage with back to work support provided by the Pathways to Work programme and the various health or workplace interventions.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance he provides to employers on procedures for checking the authenticity of qualifications claimed by job applicants. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: The Department does not provide guidance to employers on checking qualifications of job applicants. Information on checking references and qualifications of job applicants is available from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much of the additional £6 billion to be paid into the Financial Assistance Scheme he estimates will be spent annually over the next five years. 
James Purnell [holding answer 27 March 2007]: The following table sets out the estimates of the additional and total cost of providing FAS at the level announced by the Chancellor on 21 March 2007. The total figure does not take into account 2007-08.
|Annual cash costs to 2012-13|
|Current FAS allocation||Additional cost of Budget extension||Total cost of the Budget extension|
|(1) Figures may not sum to the total because of rounding.|
Annual cost figures are rounded to the nearest £1 million.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on (a) administration and (b) legal fees for the Financial Assistance Scheme in each month since its inception; and if he will make a statement. 
James Purnell: The Financial Assistance Scheme was announced in May 2004. Information on monthly expenditure is not available in comparative terms covering the period 2004-05 and 2005-06. However, total expenditure on administration in 2004-05 was £1.06 million, in 2005-06 £4.73 million and in 2006-07 £3.988 million. One-off legal fees of £2,089 arose in March 2005.
|Financial year 2006-07||Monthly expenditure (£)|
|Financial year 2007-08||Expenditure (£)|
Mr. Jim Murphy:
We have set ourselves a long-term aim of achieving a UK employment rate equivalent to
80 per cent. of the working age population. Good progress has been made in Scotland, which currently has an employment rate of 76.5 per cent.; above the UK average of 74.3 per cent. The Department will continue to work closely with all agencies in Scotland to extend employment opportunity even more widely.
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