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9 Oct 2007 : Column 462W—continued


David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many people in Northern Ireland previously convicted of (a) rape and (b) other sexual assault have subsequently committed other sexual offences in each of the last five years. [154011]

Paul Goggins: Re-offending data are not available and reconviction data are only available for those released from prison in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

It is not possible to break reconviction data into individual sexual offence types. The following table gives the numbers that were released from prison for sexual offences who were subsequently reconvicted for other sexual offences within a two year period. Data are collated on the principal offence rule; thus only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Reconviction rates for those who were discharged from custody after serving sentences for sexual offences (2001-03) and who were reconvicted for sexual offences within a two year period
Number discharged from prison for sexual offences Number reconvicted for sexual offences within a two year period

2001

51

0

2002

52

1

2003

39

1


9 Oct 2007 : Column 463W

Work and Pensions

Children: Day Care

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what financial implications in terms of (a) rewards for fulfilment and (b) penalties for failure will be introduced on local authorities following the introduction in April 2008 of the duty to secure sufficient childcare for working parents. [154312]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 8 October 2007]: I have been asked to reply.

We are determined that local authorities should have the resources they need to fulfil the statutory duty to secure, so far as is reasonably practicable, sufficient childcare to meet the needs of working parents. Accordingly, from April 2008 the Sure Start, Early Years and Childcare Grant will include an appropriate allocation. Successive sufficiency assessments conducted by local authorities will indicate their success in closing gaps in provision; and the Government offices for the regions will also monitor authorities’ progress in securing sufficiency. It will be open to anyone who believes they have been the victim of maladministration by local authorities in relation to the sufficiency duty to seek redress through various means, including the Local Government Ombudsman.

The Government do not consider that it would be appropriate to introduce a system of financial rewards and penalties in relation to fulfilment of this statutory duty.

Children: Maintenance

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the reason is for the further delay in dealing with the case of Mr. and Mrs. Beardsmore of Paignton and responding to the hon. Member for Totnes' letter of 4 July and subsequent letter of 13 August to the chief executive of the Child Support Agency. [155458]

Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 17 September 2007]: The administration of the Child Support Agency is the matter for the chief executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.


9 Oct 2007 : Column 464W

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 9 October 2007:

Departments: Disabled

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of people employed by (a) his Department and (b) its agencies are disabled. [153581]

Mrs. McGuire: The latest figures based on the position at 31 March 2007 are that 6,854 staff across the department have declared that they are disabled. As a proportion of staff who have declared a disability status of 115,525, this equates to 5.93 per cent. of staff. Individual agency figures are contained in the following table.

The figures are based on the proportion of staff who have voluntarily declared themselves as being disabled. However, we are aware that not all disabled staff declare their disability for departmental records, and the true figure may be higher than the figures shown. For example, the 2006 DWP Staff Survey (which is completed anonymously), showed that 13 per cent. of respondents considered themselves to have a long standing health condition or disability.

The roll out of a new computer system by the end of April has meant a more accurate assessment of the numbers of disabled people working within the Department. As we roll out we are asking each member of staff to check the personal information we hold about them and to declare whether they consider themselves to be disabled. A further joint communications exercise with departmental trade unions to highlight the importance of individuals providing this information is also planned.

Organisation Total headcount Total staff who have made a declaration Actuals non disabled Actuals disabled Percentage disabled staff

Jobcentre Plus

75,906

71,606

66,893

4,713

6.58

The Pension Service

13,888

13,888

13,203

685

4.93

Disability and Carers Service

6,731

6,731

6,298

433

6.43

CSA

12,614

12,614

12,145

469

3.72

Corporate Centre

10,686

10,686

10,132

554

5.18

Total DWP

119,825

115,525

108,671

6,854

5.93


Departments: Manpower

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been appointed to his Department outside civil service grades in the last 30 days. [153179]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department engaged 36 non-civil service contractors to fill interim posts during this period.

In addition, my Department publishes information annually on appointments to the public bodies for which it is responsible. Data for 2006-07 are available at:


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Departments: Pension Service

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what systems are in place to ensue accurate information-sharing between his Department and the Pension Service; and if he will make a statement. [156659]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Pension Service is part of the Department for Work and Pensions and accordingly there is a free flow of information and data across the organisation. The exchange of information takes place both clerically and via interfacing IT systems.

One of the major features of the Department’s IT is a core system (customer information system), which holds a record for each national insurance number holder and a comprehensive range of personal details as a minimum. By linking all of the main benefit application services (e.g. income support computer system, pensions Strategy computer system) to CIS, the Department is able to keep customer records fully updated and is able to provide immediate notification of change of circumstances when they occur.

The IT systems links across DWP, including the Pension Service through CIS, and include the transition from working age to pensions.

Employment: Lone Parents

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how may work-focused interviews have been booked with lone parents whose youngest child is aged 11 or over in the last 12 months; how many lone parents whose youngest child is 11 or over (a) moved into work and (b) came off benefits in each of the last 12 months; how many sanctions for failing to attend a work-focused interview were applied to lone parents whose youngest child is aged 11 or over in each of the last 12 months. [155938]

Caroline Flint: 374,000 work-focused interviews were booked for lone parents with a youngest child aged 11 or over between April 2006 and March 2007.

The remaining available information is in the following table.


9 Oct 2007 : Column 466W
Lone parents with youngest child aged 11 and over
Month Into work Off benefits Sanctions

2006

April

1,940

3,580

840

May

2,300

3,640

1,060

June

2,100

3,500

1,060

July

2,020

3,440

1,040

August

1,860

3,340

1,080

September

2,880

4,040

760

October

2,960

4,640

920

November

2,520

3,340

940

December

1,400

3,220

820

2007

January

2,020

3,340

980

February

1,720

3,220

980

March

1,660

3,740

1,160

Notes:
1. Employment data relate to lone parents who had claimed income support and were recorded as entering work during the period. Data may include some lone parents who continued their income support claim after finding work.
2. Employment data under-represents lone parents entering work during the period as it excludes some job entries e.g. people with earnings below the tax threshold and those entering self-employment.
3. Data for people moving off benefits in the period are for people who stopped claiming income support and did not continue claiming any other benefit. Those who ended their income support claim, but were in receipt of a different benefit immediately after ending their claim, are not included.
4. Sanctions data only include those who were in receipt of or entitled to income support.
5. Latest available data for all requested information are to March 2007.
Sources:
National Benefits Database and Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

Pensioners: Poverty

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the impact on pensioner poverty of raising the level of the basic state pension to the level of the guarantee credit; and what assumptions he has used about the take-up of income-related benefits in coming to this estimate. [155947]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: We have made good progress in tackling pensioner poverty. Since 1997 the number of pensioners living in relative poverty, based on a threshold of 60 per cent. Of contemporary median income after housing costs, has fallen by 1.1 million, from 2.9 million to 1.8 million in 2005-06.

Raising the level of the basic state pension to the level of the guarantee credit is estimated to reduce the number of pensioners below 60 per cent. median income after housing costs by around 200,000 based on 2007-08 benefit rates.

This figure is based on the Department’s policy simulation model. Take-up of income related benefits are modelled and lie within the range of published National Statistics estimates.

Pensions: Females

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many married women aged (a) 60, (b) 61, (c) 62, (d) 63, (e) 64, (f) 65, (g) 66, (h) 67, (i) 68 and (j) 69 are (i) one year, (ii) two years, (iii) three years, (iv) four years, (v) five years, (vi) six years, (vii) seven years, (viii) eight years and (ix) nine or more years short of the number of qualifying years that would be necessary to exceed the 25 per cent. threshold for entitlement to any payment of basic state pension. [155042]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 10 September 2007]: The information is not available for married women only. The information that is available is in the following table.

It shows the number of UK women aged between 60 and 69 in 2003-04 who did not satisfy the ‘25 per cent. rule’ for entitlement to a basic state pension on their
9 Oct 2007 : Column 467W
own contribution records. It also shows the number of additional qualifying years that would be necessary to satisfy this rule.


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