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Departmental Pay

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was claimed in reimbursable expenses by Senior Civil Service staff in his Department and its agencies in the last 12 month period for which figures are available. [187549]

Mrs. McGuire: The amount claimed by senior Civil Service staff within the Department for Work and Pensions and its agencies for the 12 month period ended 31 March 2008 was £887,000.

Departmental Risk Assessment

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what risk management measures his Department has put in place in the last three years. [200469]


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Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions has in place a comprehensive set of risk management arrangements. These are subject to ongoing review/revision so that they continue to meet current and future needs. At all times the Department has seen risk management as integral to managing its business and to the successful achievement of its aims, targets and objectives.

Since 2005 the Department has introduced and/or enhanced a number of risk management measures: These are:

This committee was established in September 2005 with board level representation from businesses across the Department and is chaired by the Finance Director General.

At their subsequent meetings, the ET formally review recommendations made by PPRC. Management of strategic risk is also subject to independent review and challenge by the departmental board. Additionally, the departmental Audit Committee is briefed on the Department’s risk management arrangements.

A set of mandatory risk categories was introduced in 2007. These categories support a common language that promotes discussion, identification and analysis of common themes and aggregation of risks that can help identify possible common mitigation actions.

Risk related information has been brought together within a dedicated DWP intranet site that gives details of products and links to further information. These include:

In January 2007 a new Risk Assurance Director was appointed from the banking industry. This external appointment has brought added value and private
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sector expertise into DWP which has led to improvements in internal audit practice and an increased strategic approach to risk management.

Disability Living Allowance: Appeals

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the maximum time is which has elapsed between a claim being made for disability living allowance and a claimant's appeal against a refusal of such an application being upheld since the allowance was introduced; [198700]

(2) what percentage of appeals brought by unsuccessful claimants of disability living allowance have been upheld in each of the last five years. [198701]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 21 April 2008]: The information is not available to answer the hon. Member’ first question.

With regard to the second question such information as is available is given in the following table.

Disability living allowance appeals
Percentage decided in favour of customer Appeals to the Tribunal Service as percentage of DLA live case load

2003-04

50.8

3.2

2004-05

50.0

3.2

2005-06

49.4

3.0

2006-07

47.1

2.7

2007-08

45.3

2.4

Source: DLA Legacy systems.

The table shows the proportion of disability living allowance appeals that have been decided in the customer's favour by the Tribunals Service for the last five years. The numbers include customers who received an increase (including an increase from nil entitlement) in the level of, or period of entitlement to, benefit, compared to the original decision by the Disability and Carers Service.

No information is available differentiating between appellants whose claim was initially disallowed and those whose claim led to some entitlement prior to appeal.

To provide an indication of the incidence of appeals, the table also shows that the number of appeals submitted to the Tribunals Service, as a percentage of the total DLA live case load, has decreased over the last five years.

Health Services

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department provides health or social care services out of public funds, with reference to the Statement by the Minister of State, Department of Health, in the Health and Social Care Bill Committee, of 17 January 2008, Official Report, column 327. [200225]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department for Work and Pensions has no intention of duplicating NHS health or social care services provided for the general public out of public funds.


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Housing Benefit

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what guidance he has given to the Rent Service on determining the extent of broad rental market areas for the purposes of local housing allowance; [201971]

(2) if he will publish the methodology adopted by the Rent Service in determining broad rental market areas. [201972]

Mr. Timms: It is the responsibility of the rent officer, an independent statutory officer, to determine the broad rental market areas for local housing allowance purposes. Guidance for the rent officer in England in that role is provided by The Rent Service, an executive agency of the Department for Work and Pensions.

A copy of the guidance for the rent officer in determining the broad rental market areas has been placed in the Library.

This guidance is also available on The Rent Service website:

Incapacity Benefit

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether there will be any differences in the amount paid to people in receipt of incapacity benefit and those to receive employment support allowance. [199259]

Mrs. McGuire: Employment and Support Allowance is an entirely new benefit with a new rate structure. So there will be differences in the amount paid to people in receipt of incapacity benefits compared to those who receive the new Employment and Support Allowance.

The key Employment and Support Allowance main phase rates are £84.50 a week for those in the Work Related Activity Group and £89.50 a week for those in the Support Group. The poorest among the most severely disabled in the Support Group will also receive an automatic passport to the Enhanced Disability Premium, taking their benefit to £102.10 a week. Main phase rates are awarded to those who satisfy the Work Capability Assessment at the end of the 13-week assessment phase.

Industrial Health and Safety: Public Buildings

Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) regulatory framework and (b) accreditation system is for those offering third party advice on health and safety issues in relation to sites or buildings used by members of the public, with particular reference to risk assessments. [200413]

Mrs. McGuire [holding answer 23 April 2008]: The regulatory framework for those offering third party advice to employers on health and safety at work matters, including on risk assessment in relation to sites or buildings used by members of the public, is provided by Regulation 7 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This Regulation
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requires such advice to be provided by ‘competent’ persons, and regards a person as competent where ‘he has sufficient training and experience or knowledge and other qualities to enable him to properly assist’ the employer.

There is no statutory accreditation system for those offering third party advice on health and safety issues.

Jobseekers Allowance

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the (a) average and (b) target times were for processing (i) on-line and (ii) paper applications for jobseekers allowance in each of the last five years. [200585]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 23 April 2008]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 25 April 2008:

Jobseeker’s allowance average processing times and target times 2003-04 to 2007-08
Days
Reporting year Average processing time Target time

2003-04

11.1

12.0

2004-05

12.1

12.0

2005-06

14.5

12.0

2006-07

14.3

12.0

2007-08

10.6

12.0


Jobseekers Allowance: Internet

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications for jobseekers allowance were made using the on line application form in each of the last five years. [200583]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 23 April 2008]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 25 April 2008:


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Volume of E-claims received

2007/08

163,402

2006/07

34,848


David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent assessment is of the efficiency of the on line application option for jobseekers allowance; and with what regularity such assessments are made. [200584]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 23 April 2008]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. I have asked her to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 25 April 2008:


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