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Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of work-focused interviews in the Pathways to Work programme have been given by (a) private sector providers and (b) voluntary sector providers since the programme's inception. 
Caroline Flint: Jobcentre Plus currently delivers Pathways to work in 40 per cent. of the country. Private, voluntary and public sector providers have been invited to bid for contracts in the remaining 60 per cent. of the country, but provision in these areas has not yet commenced. Therefore, since Pathways to Work pilots began in 2003, Jobcentre Plus has delivered all work focused interviews.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the demand for (a) cognitive behavioural therapists and (b) other appropriate therapists in the implementation of the Pathways to Work programme; and what steps he has taken to meet the requirement. 
No specific assessment has been made. The number of cognitive behavioural therapy-trained staff in each area varies according to local needs and how the condition management programme (CMPs) are delivered. Referral to the CMP will not be necessary for all incapacity benefit customers, nor will it be the first option to consider. Referral will only be appropriate if the customer feels that they cannot return to work yet because of their condition. The incapacity benefit personal adviser will discuss the
range of other appropriate therapies and support available to the customer at work focused interviews. Regular contact between the CMP Manager and the Pathways to Work manager is designed to improve the delivery of the programme and enhance the customer experience.
The latest available figure for the overall cost of The Pension Service pension centres is £263 million, which covers the period April 2006 to March 2007. This is made up of £208 million for staff and £55 million for other costs.
The latest available figure for the total number of staff employed in these pension centres at the end of May 2007 was 9,145. Due to various working patterns such as part-year contracts and reduced hours, this figure equates to 8,327 whole time equivalent staff.
Dan Norris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department plans to take further to encourage eligible pensioners to claim the pension credit to which they are entitled. 
In our 2007-08 direct mailing programme, we plan to issue over 1 million letters to encourage and remind potential eligible pensioners to apply for pension credit. This will coincide with press advertising and leaflet inserts in newspapers and magazines, which will be aimed at securing the support of friends and family to encourage take-up of pension credit in areas with relatively high numbers of potentially eligible non-recipients.
To provide a better insight into our customer base, the Pension Service is making use of advanced data analysis techniques to target eligible pensioners to pension credit. The Department sourced data from Experian, a private company who are the UKs largest originators and owners of geo-demographic consumer data, and linked 15 million older peoples accounts to provide better insight into our customer base. This tool will help us reach customer groups with low pension credit take up.
We are continuing to expand our partnership working through Joint Working Partnerships between the Pension Service local service, local authorities and the voluntary sector. The Pension Service currently has 180 operational Joint Working Partnerships with primary tier local authorities with a further 22 agreed or in the implementation stages. These partnerships help us to identify harder-to-reach customers and deliver a full and joined up services to older people.
We are also working in partnership with local authorities and the voluntary sector on our alternative office network. Alternative offices operate through partnership agreements between the Pension Service, local authorities and the voluntary sector. These offices accept applications from people aged 60 or over for social security benefits.
In addition, our local service plan to carry out around 680,000 face to face visits during 2007-08, offering a full entitlement check to the poorest and most needy older people. We will also carry out an extensive outbound telephone campaign to those who fail to respond to written invitations to apply, or who drop-out part way through the pension credit application process.
All of this activity will be supported by information on the Pension Service, DWP and DirectGov (the UK Governments digital service for all public service information and services) websites about our products and services, and continued close working with national and regional press officers to make the most of publicity and media opportunities.
Finally, as part of the transformation of the Pension Service, people can now claim state pension and pension credit over the phone. If a customer is eligible for pension credit we can also take an application for housing benefit, council tax benefit and carers allowance during the same phone call. As part of the future programme of transformation, state pension customers will be encouraged to claim pension credit, if appropriate, when they call to notify key changes of circumstances.
|Average gross income of all pensioner units where the head is aged 65 or over by region ( £ per week, 2005-06 prices)|
|1997-98 to 1999-2000||1998-99 to 2000-01||1999-2000 to 2001-02||2000-01 to 2002-03||2001-02 to 2003-04||2002-03 to 2004-05||2003-04 to 2005-06|
1. Gross income is income from all sources received by the pensioner unit including income from social security benefits, earnings from employment, any private pension, and tax credits.
2. Based on survey data and as such subject to a degree of sampling and non-sampling error. Figures are based on the average of three years' data as single year estimates do not provide a robust guide to year-on-year changes. Users should not read too much into small differences between regions.
3. Figures are for Great Britain.
4. Figures have been rounded to the nearest £.
5. Pensioner units are either pensioner couples or single pensioners.
6. The head of the benefit unit in most cases will be the same as the head of household. Head of household is classified as the highest income householder (person in whose name the property is owned or rented) without regard to gender. For households where the pensioner benefit unit does not include the head of household, the head of benefit unit will be the first person interviewed in the benefit unit.
Pensioners' Income Series 2005-06 (Revised)
Mr. Mike O'Brien: Judging by the recent high profile successes, the regulator has not so far found its powers a barrier to achieving its statutory objectives. The threat of the potential use of its powers has been effective in enabling the regulator to achieve successful outcomesan approach that is in line with its risk-based regulatory approach.
The regulator approach is to use its powers where it judges it is appropriate to do soand it has already made significant use of the wide range of powers available to it. We do, however, keep the regulators powers under review to ensure that it is able to fully discharge its statutory objectives.
Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Regulators Determinations Panel has recently determined to issue a Financial Support Direction (FSD). An appeal has subsequently been made to the Pensions Regulator Tribunal. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the FSD will come into effect from the date of determination of that appeal.
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