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Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the level of (a) sickness and (b) unauthorised absence was in (i) his Department and (ii) each of its agencies in each year since 1996-97; what targets are in place for a reduction in sickness and unauthorised absence; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department for Work and Pensions was created in July 2001. The overall figures prior to this date relate to absence levels in the Department of Social Security (DSS) Group (the main predecessor to the DWP) and the Employment Service. A comprehensive breakdown of DSS agencies figures prior to 2001 is not available.
Prior to April 2007, we are only able to provide figures for unauthorised absences specifically due to industrial action. From April 2007, a new personnel computer system was introduced that records all types of unauthorised absence, including industrial action. Therefore, the 2007-08 figures include all types of unauthorised absence.
|(1 )From 1 April 2008 The Pension Service and Disability and Carers Service combined. Figures for industrial action on 24 April 2008 have been included in the total for the Pension Service.|
Community 5000 enables individuals and teams to give their working time and skills to voluntary and community organisations of relevance to our customers. Our aspiration is to give 5,000 days of the Department's time each year to the Third Sector through our DWP volunteers, improving our people's understanding of customers' needs and encouraging wider involvement in the community.
In addition to Community 5000, the Department has also long encouraged participation in the local community with a provision to apply for paid public and community leave for serving in a voluntary organisation that provides a service to the local community, such as the Lifeboat Service and Special Constabulary.
Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what advice has been given to staff handling disability living allowance appeals about the use of standard letter CAP22a. 
Mrs. McGuire: The Pension, Disability and Carers Service recently established that instructions to staff in connection with appeals and the use of the standard letter CAP22a was incorrect. That guidance was withdrawn and instructions about the correct procedure were issued to all decision makers on 21 April 2008.
The new instructions direct that, where the customer has completed form GL24 to authorise another person to act for them in an appeal and the customer has also signed the form overleaf as the appellant, the appeal is valid and the representative's signature does not also need to be obtained.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much in housing benefit has been paid to tenants of (a) housing associations and (b) local authorities and local authority arms length management organisations since 1997; and what estimate he has made of the effect on the level of payments in each of those years of tenants transferring from council management to registered social landlords as part of stock transfers. 
We have not made an estimate of the cost to public funds of paying the housing benefit of tenants transferred from council tenancies to registered social
landlords since 1997. To determine such a figure would require detailed assumptions about the rents each authority might theoretically have charged had it retained the stock. However, the potential impact on housing benefit where stock is transferred to registered social landlords is considered as part of the overall value-for-money assessment of transfers.
|Housing benefit paid to tenants of local authorities and registered social landlords (RSL)|
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