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Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when his Departments year ends for the purpose of assessing staff performance; and when staff receive performance bonuses. 
Performance bonuses are one element of the annual pay award, which is effective from 1 July. This year,
owing to protracted pay negotiations with trade unions, performance bonuses were paid with the pay award in November.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on the future of the (a) Trefforest, (b) Brynaman and (c) Ystradgynlais Remploy factories. 
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 4 December 2007]: The Secretary of State discussed those Remploy factories with a number of Welsh Assembly Government Ministers, including the First Minister, the Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing and the Deputy Minister for Regeneration.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will list the organisations which provide advice on the making of decisions on applications to the social fund; 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions relating to the operation of the discretionary Social Fund scheme. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus is solely responsible for administering the Social Fund, including making initial decisions on applications for loans and Community Care Grants and providing the first tier of review for applicants dissatisfied with their original decision. Decision makers must adhere to the Directions issued by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and take account of guidance he has given. They should also have regard to the state of the budget in the Social Fund unit they are attached to. Decision makers are fully trained in the principles of decision making and the rules relating to the Social Fund.
Social Fund Inspectors working at the Independent Review Service for the Social Fund (an independent statutory body) provide the second tier of the review for customers dissatisfied with the review decision made by the decision maker in Jobcentre Plus. Customers who are still dissatisfied may apply for Judicial Review.
Inspector's decisions are returned to Jobcentre Plus and are used as a learning resource for decision makers. The Social Fund Commissioner, the head of the Independent Review Service, has provided assistance to Jobcentre Plus by making his staff available to assist us in training our decision makers. Inspector's decisions have always been a useful resource for Jobcentre Plus decision makers. We are now formalising that as part of an enhanced checking regime designed to improve the standard of decision making.
The particulars of each application are recorded on the national Social Fund Computer System. For Budgeting Loans this includes the reasons for the decision and repayment terms. For Community Care Grants and Crisis Loans, in addition to recording the details on the computer system, decision makers are required to complete a written decision which explains in details the reasons why an award has been made or refused.
Jobcentre Plus monitors customer service through the Mystery Shopper Programme, which is an independent measure of the accuracy and comprehensiveness of information given to customers. The scenarios used by the Mystery Shopper include some questions about elements of the Social Fund. Performance against these questions contributes to the wider Customer Service Target.
Social Fund decision makers are advised to alert customers, where appropriate, to charitable sources of funding such as the Family Fund. Decision makers refusing an award from one part of Social Fund will as a matter of routine consider whether an application to another part of the fund might be successful. When a decision is made to refuse a Community Care Grant the decision maker will automatically consider whether a crisis loan can be awarded. Similarly, if a Crisis Loan is refused the decision maker should consider whether the award of a Community Care Grant is appropriate. Where neither is appropriate consideration should be given to issuing a Budgeting Loan application form to the customer as legislation does not permit us to treat an application for a Community Care Grant or Crisis Loan as a Budgeting Loan.
The Community Care Grant scheme operates within the constraints of a cash limited budget and awards are made based on prioritisation of customer need which ensures that available funding goes to those with the highest priority needs. In each case the decision maker considers the nature, extent and urgency of need and whether the priority of the need can be met from the relevant budget allocation.
I hope that this is helpful.
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the value of (a) attendance allowance and (b) disability living allowance payments for people over the retirement age living in Eastbourne was in (i) 1996-97 and (ii) 2006-07. 
|Attendance allowance and disability living allowance expenditure for people over retirement age in the Eastbourne parliamentary constituencycash terms|
|Status||Annual expenditure (£ million)|
|Attendance allowance and disability living allowance expenditure for people over retirement age in the Eastbourne parliamentary constituency2007-08 prices|
|Status||Annual expenditure (£ million)|
1. All figures have been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand pounds.
2. All figures are consistent with the 2007 pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review, as well as expenditure information published on the internet at www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/expenditure.asp
3. The 1997-98 caseloads used in the apportionment of expenditure are based on 5 per cent. samples, which have been calibrated to 100 per cent. data. 100 per cent. data have been used to apportion expenditure for 2006-07.
4. Parliamentary constituency data are not available prior to February 1997.
Expenditure has been taken from departmental accounting systems and combined with 100 per cent. statistical data to identify the proportion of expenditure paid to people over retirement age living in Eastbourne parliamentary constituency.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many A8 nationals claimed (a) income support, (b) jobseekers allowance, (c) housing benefit, (d) council tax benefit and (e) pension credit in each quarter since 1 May 2004, broken down by nationality. 
Some information is available in the Accession Monitoring Report; May 2004-September 2007, a joint report by the Border and Immigration Agency, Department for Work and Pensions, HM Revenue and Customs and Department for Communities and Local Government, copies of which have been placed in the Library.
The Accession Monitoring Report only gives the total of applicants for tax funded income related benefits (income based jobseekers allowance , income support and state pension credit) broken down by A8 nation.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions why his Department cancelled its autumn staff survey; what consultations his Department had with the trade union side before deciding to cancel; what costs were incurred in drafting the survey before it was cancelled; and when his Department next plans to survey its staff. 
[holding answer 6 December 2007]: The Department for Work and Pensions postponed its November 2007 staff survey until January 2008. The decision to defer was made following a range of
feedback suggesting that a review of the questionnaire content and overarching strategy was needed. A letter to the DTUS secretary, on 24 October 2007, outlined the rationale and gave advance viewing of a Department-wide announcement on 25 October 2007. The DWP will share the revised content of the survey questionnaire with the DTUS (which it does routinely each year). A total of £14,535 was incurred in external supplier costs in preparation for the postponed survey.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department is responsible for (a) the ministerial salary and (b) the provision of support to the ministerial office of the hon. Member for Stevenage. 
Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 3 December 2007]: The Government Equalities Office will meet the ministerial salary of my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage (Barbara Follett) and will meet most of the costs of her Private Office. The Department for Work and Pensions, the Cabinet Office and the Government Offices for the Regions also provide some support services for the Private Office.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many ex-prisoners have entered Progress 2 work/link up in each year since its inception; and how many of these have found sustained employment. 
|Ex-prisoner( 2) starters on the Progress2work and Progress2work-linkUP programmes in Great Britain|
1. Figures are rounded up to the nearest 10 for data protection reasons; totals may not sum due to rounding.
2. The figures relate to customers who volunteered the information that they had served a custodial sentence; it will necessarily be an under-count as some customers will not wish to disclose this type of information.
3. In the case of earlier years the sustained jobs figure is the number of customers who did not claim benefit again within 13 weeks of their job start. Later information, since September 2006, comes from information provided by contractors in the management information they give to the DWP.
4. Progress2work was rolled out early in 2002, initially in 27 pathfinders. Progress2work provision was available in around 60 Jobcentre Plus districts by June 2003 and was rolled out to the remaining districts by April 2004.
Mrs. McGuire: The only building that the DWP occupies in this constituency is Kentmere house, Kendal. DWP service delivery plans are regularly reviewed and there are currently no plans to move any further offices to the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much his Department and its predecessor spent on (a) business and (b) first class air travel in the last 12 months. 
Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) intends to take by (i) 2012 and (ii) 2020 in relation to adaptation to the effects of climate change as they affect his departmental responsibilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 6 December 2007]: The Climate Change Bill, which was introduced to Parliament on 14 November, will require Government to assess the risks that climate change poses to the UK, and to report to Parliament. The first national risk assessment, which includes energy issues, will be carried out within three years of enactment of the Bill, with subsequent assessments being published at least every five years. In addition, the Bill will also require the Government to publish and regularly update an adaptation programme. This will set out the Governments objectives in relation to adaptation to climate change and their proposals and policies for meeting those objectives. As part of preparations for developing this programme, the Government will be publishing an adaptation policy framework in spring 2008 .
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