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Number of liability orders granted and Child Support Orders registered for the past five years ending March 2007
April 2002 to March 2003 April 2003 to March 2004 April 2004 to March 2005 April 2005 to March 2006 April 2006 to March 2007

Liability Orders granted






Order for Recoveries registered (county court orders)




Third Party Debt Orders secured




Charging Orders Secured




Child Support Orders registered






1. A liability order is a document obtained from the court showing that they legally recognise that the debt is owed. This is the same in both England and Wales and Scotland. This is required before the Agency can use litigation powers (Diligence in Scotland).
2. The figures marked with an asterix* are sourced from the Agency’s Quarterly Summary Statistics. Prior to April 2004, the figures given were clerically collated and are actual figures, not subject to rounding.
3. Figures sourced from the Agency’s Quarterly Summary Statistics are rounded to the nearest five.
4. The Liability Order figures for 2006-07 are from February 2006 to January 2007 and these are the latest figures are published available.
5. The registration of the liability order as a county court judgment in the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines (for England and Wales) is the responsibility of the County Courts. The data provided therefore is the number of orders for recovery obtained and the number of Child Support orders registered by the Agency in the Register of Judgments Orders and Fines.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what projections he has made of the level of disregard for child maintenance necessary to lift 100,000 children out of poverty. [150782]

Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 19 July 2007]: Around 80,000 children could be lifted out of poverty by extending the £10 disregard to existing old scheme cases, increasing the flat rate from £5 per week to £7 per week and increasing the proportion of parents with care who are in receipt of maintenance. These measures were outlined in the child maintenance White Paper ‘A new system of child maintenance’.

The level of the disregard has not yet been decided. In the regulatory impact assessment which accompanied the publication of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill, we published a prudent estimate, based on the assumption of a £20 disregard, that the reforms would lift an additional 100,000 children out of poverty. Clearly, a higher disregard would lead to a greater number of children being lifted out of poverty.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 17 July 2007, Official Report, column 206W, on children: maintenance, if he will investigate the Chief Executive of the Child Support Agency’s claims (a) that he encourages the use of the telephone as the primary means of communication between offices and (b) that the same administrative and procedural rules apply to all offices of the agency. [152804]

Mr. Plaskitt: I can reassure the hon. Member for North Durham that the Agency actively encourages the use of the telephone as the primary means of communication between offices to update or discuss particulars on a case. There is a local service level agreement with CSA Bolton that, in the specific circumstance of dealing with a complaint on a clerical case, we initiate communication in writing to ensure all the necessary information to progress and resolve the client’s concerns is to hand.

I can also reassure the hon. Member that all Child Support Agency offices, including CSA Bolton, are subject to the same legislative and procedural rules when administering a case.

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will assess the effectiveness of the policy of naming and shaming non-resident parents on his Department's website for not meeting Child Support Agency payments. [153472]

Mr. Plaskitt: We have carefully considered both the responses to our ‘naming and shaming’ policy and the initial impact that this policy has had since the first set of names were posted on the Child Support Agency website last month.

We have also listened carefully to the concerns raised by stakeholders and others around the potential impact of the current policy. The interests of children are paramount in everything we do.

Initial consideration of the impact of the first names being published has shown that the number of visits on the relevant section of the website peaked on the day the policy was launched. However it quickly returned to previous levels—suggesting low levels of patronage of this part of the website and therefore questioning its potential effectiveness.

In light of this we will not publish further names at this time whilst we would keep under consideration whether this policy has a role to play in the future. In the mean time the CSA will be focusing its expanded debt and enforcement team on a wider range of initiatives that are intended to help improve compliance. These methods include making more use of credit reference agencies and HMRC data and introducing more flexible payment methods. In the future the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission will be building on this, introducing further enforcement measures to maximise compliance.

Departments: Common Purpose

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department paid to Common Purpose in each of the last five years; for what purpose; and what the outcome of the expenditure was. [147601]

Mrs. McGuire: A number of DWP senior managers have attended leadership courses run by Common Purpose in the last five years. The total expenditure for each of the last five years is listed in the following table. The courses have helped improve leadership skills. Given the nature of these courses, they have also helped foster valuable partnerships in the local community which can be used to improve the service offered to our customers.

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Total Spend( 1)











(1) Rounded to nearest £1

Departments: Flint Bishop Solicitors

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have made payments to Flint Bishop solicitors since 1997. [151377]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions have no records of making any payments to a company called Flint Bishop Solicitors. However it has made payments to a company called Flint Bishop and Barnett. The information shown in the following table is for payments made to Flint Bishop and Barnett solicitors.

Payments made to Flint Bishop and Barnett solicitors since 1997 to date








8,591 .04







Departments: Legislation

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which Bills introduced by his Department in the last five years did not contain sunset clauses; and if he will make a statement. [152490]

Mrs. McGuire: The Bills introduced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in the last five years which did not contain sunset clauses were the Bills for the State Pension Credit Act 2002, the Age-Related Payments Act 2004, the Pensions Act 2004, the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and the Child Benefit Act 2005— and also the Child Maintenance and other Payments Bill and the Pensions Bill which are currently before Parliament.

The Bill for the Welfare Reform Act 2007 did contain such a clause: see section 31(3).

The appropriateness of a sunset clause for the whole or part of any proposed legislation is considered on a case-by-case basis. It is also addressed when a regulatory impact assessment relating to legislation is being prepared.

Departments: Ministerial Red Boxes

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many ministerial red boxes his Department bought in each of the last five years; what
26 July 2007 : Column 1492W
the cost of each was; who the suppliers were; and what tendering process was used in selecting them. [150406]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department has bought a total of 12 boxes in the last five years, as detailed in the following table.

Number of Boxes Cost of each box (£)



1 @ 565

5 @ 585





1 @ (1)385

1 @ 510

1 @ 515



2 @ 529



1 @ 730

(1) Cost reduced as supplier was able to use salvaged lock in new box.

The boxes are ordered from Banner Business Supplies (formerly the Stationery Office).

The Department has not been involved in any tendering process for the supply of boxes.

Departments: Sick Leave

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the expenditure by his Department on managing and rehabilitating sick employees of his Department in the last 12 months. [152157]

Mrs. McGuire: Managing and rehabilitating employees is carried out in conjunction with the Department's Occupational Health provider. In the period July 2006 to June 2007 the Department spent a total of £3.147million on occupational health services.

Departments: Visits Abroad

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much each of the agencies of his Department spent on foreign travel in each of the last five years. [150041]

Mrs. McGuire: Details of the total departmental spend on foreign travel, including travel to European Union countries, in the 12 months since June 2006 is provided as follows. Information prior to this date or by agency is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate costs.


Overseas hotels


Overseas air


Overseas rail





Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will assess the implications for employment policy of the report by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research at Sheffield Hallam University on the real level of unemployment. [147942]

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Mrs. McGuire: This report understates the improvement in the labour market over the last 10 years. Since 1997, the number of people in work has increased by over 2.5 million and the numbers claiming out of work benefits is down by over 900,000.

The Government have re-affirmed its commitment to employment opportunity for all—the modern definition of full employment. The long-term aim is an employment rate equivalent to 80 per cent. of the working age population.

This means that, while the 45 per cent. fall in the number claiming Jobseeker's Allowance since 1997 is an important achievement, the focus of the Government's effort to help people re-engage with work extends much more widely—particularly lone parents, those on incapacity benefits and others at a disadvantage in the labour market.

These policies are bearing fruit. Since 1997 there has been a significant improvement in reduction of unemployment, especially long-term unemployment. Over the same period the number claiming lone parent benefits is down by over 230,000 and the number on incapacity benefits, which is falling for the first time in decades, has reached a seven year low.

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