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Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of collection of unpaid child support maintenance by private companies to which the work has been outsourced. 
Mr. Plaskitt [holding answer 28 February 2008]: Since August 2006, the Agency has referred over 63,000 cases to debt collection agencies with a total debt of £335.9 million. By the end of December 2007, £9.3 million had been collected from 15,619 cases, of which 3,092 had paid in full. Additionally, in the same period, the seven-day warning letter sent by the Agency to inform clients that their debt is being transferred to the debt collection agencies has resulted in an additional £4.7 million being collected by the Agency.
Mr. Timms: The joint Department for Children, Schools and Families/Department for Work and Pensions Child Poverty Unit is working closely with the devolved administrations to take forward common priorities, co-ordinate approaches and share best practice in developing policy on child poverty.
Our policies are not designed only for those who fall just below the poverty threshold. We have pledged to eradicate child poverty by 2020; this requires us to tackle child poverty, whatever its depth, in all countries of the UK.
The most common and internationally recognised threshold to measure relative poverty is income below 60 per cent. of median. Specific information regarding low income for the United Kingdom including the number of children living in households with income below 50 per cent. of the median, is available in Households Below Average Income 1994-95 to 2005-06. The figures in this publication show that children in Scotland are no more at risk of being in poverty than they are in England.
In fact, the Public Service Agreement target to reduce child poverty by a quarter by 2004-05 was more than met in Scotland. Between 1998-99 and 2004-05, the number of children living in relative low income households in Scotland reduced by 90,000 (from 300,000 to 210,000).
Work, for those who can, remains the most sustainable route out of poverty. The Government are supporting families to escape poverty by increasing employment and raising incomes for those who can work. But we recognise that we need to do more to help those who are out of work or in low paid work. And we are looking again at what more the Government could do to ensure that children in these families are not at a disadvantage.
Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the chief executive of the Child Support Agency to reply to the letter dated 21 September 2007 from the hon. Member for Hyndburn on Miss Angela Feeley. 
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when he expects the Chief Executive of the Child Support Agency to reply to the letter dated 21st September 2007 from the Hon. Member for Hyndburn on Miss Angela Feeley. 
As details about individual cases are confidential I have written to you separately about this case.
I hope you find this answer helpful.
Roger Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what conclusions his Department has reached in fulfilment of the duty under section 3.111 of the statutory code of practice of the disability equality duty. 
Mrs. McGuire: The conclusions reached by DWP in fulfilment of the duty can be found in the Department for Work and Pensions Disability, Gender and Race Equality Schemes Annual Progress Report 2007 which includes an update on its disability equality scheme action plan. This was published on both its internal and external websites on 30 November 2007.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff of his Department were (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted for fraud against the Department in each of the last 10 years; and what the value of such fraud was in each year. 
The figures shown in the following table relate to all types of identified fraud against DWP committed by staff. It includes fraud relating to all the benefits administered by DWP, theft of assets and financial irregularities.
|Number of staff convicted||Value of fraud (£)|
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Wikipedia entries have been (a) created and (b) amended (i) by (A) special advisers, (B) Ministers and (C) communications officials and (ii) from IP addresses of (X) special advisers, (Y) Ministers and (Z) communications officials in (aa) his Department and (bb) its agencies since August 2005. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions does not have a policy of creating, monitoring or amending Wikipedia entries and no records exist of any entries being created and/ or amended by special advisers, Ministers and communications officials.
The Department for Work and Pensions accesses the world wide web via the Government Secure Intranet. The internal IP address is changed on the route out.
This means that when someone logs in to their PC, they are given an IP address from a central pool, which means, in practice, it is not possible to trace back to the individual who accessed the web. Sites such as Wikipedia see a centralised GSI gateway address rather than the address for a specific individual.
Mrs. McGuire: The civil service statistics are collected by the Office for National Statistics from the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (formerly Mandate) and the latest published figures are for 30 September 2006.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) value and (b) start date was of each private finance initiative project approved by his Department in each of the last three financial years. 
Mrs. McGuire: The information requested is not available. The Department for Work and Pensions does not separately record information about the type of illness or illnesses that result in retirement on grounds of ill health.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of working days lost by his Department's staff was attributed to stress-related conditions in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Mrs. McGuire: DWP, in common with other Government Departments, records sickness absences against a list of standard definitions. Stress-related conditions would fall under the category depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. The percentage of working days lost attributed to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues in 2007 was calculated as 26.4 per cent. of total absences.
Mrs. McGuire: The Department works very closely with its estate partner (Land Securities Trillium) and its catering service partner (Compass Group) as part of our commitment to the sustainable food procurement initiative. The Department is committed to supporting Fairtrade and over 60 per cent. of its tea and coffee purchases are Fairtrade certified products.
Fairtrade Fortnight 2008 is being promoted to staff on the Departments intranet site. In addition, Compass is highlighting Fairtrade Fortnight 2008 using posters, leaflets and other promotional material.
The Department is working with Compass to expand on the range of Fairtrade products purchased and recently met jointly with Compass and the Fairtrade Foundation to build on this work for Fairtrade Fortnight 2009.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will allocate new national insurance numbers to those children whose data was included on the discs lost by HM Revenue and Customs in October 2007. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals received a consolatory payment from the Health and Safety Commission and Executive in each year since 1997; what the average value of payment was in each year; and how much was paid in total in consolatory payments in each year. 
Mrs. McGuire: The reply is provided in the following tables. The Health and Safety Commission made no payments containing a consolatory element. The figures for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) exclude all forms of compensatory payment that were made in the normal course of litigation. The figures up to and including 2006-07 relate to compensation/ex-gratia payments to individuals which may have included an element for consolatory payment but which was not recorded separately. The figure for 2007-08 relates to consolatory payments only and reflects the latest position at 20 February 2008.
|Number of individuals who received compensation/ex-gratia payments from HSE which may have contained a consolatory element||Average value of such payments( 1) (£)||Total value of such payments (£)|
|(1) Rounded to the nearest pound.|
|Number of individuals who received a consolatory payment from HSE||Average value of such payments (£)||Total value of such payments (£)|
|(1) Latest position.|
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in what circumstances a consolatory payment would be made by the Health and Safety Commission and Executive; and what guidance is provided by his Department on the payment of a conciliatory payment to a customer of the Health and Safety Commission and Executive; and if he will place a copy of that guidance in the Library. 
Mrs. McGuire: A consolatory payment is made by the Health and Safety Commission/Executive (HSC/E) where, in very exceptional circumstances, maladministration has had an adverse effect on a persons life, irrespective of whether a measurable financial loss has occurred. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) provides guidance on conciliatory (special) payments in its Departmental Losses Framework document which HSC/E follows in relation to all those with whom it has dealings. Additionally, HSC/Es Framework Management Statement and its Financial Memorandum, together, set out the broad policy, governance/risk-management arrangements and financial framework within which HSC/E and its sponsoring Department, DWP, operate, including delegated financial authorities for such conciliatory payments.
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