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My Department has conducted annual omnibus surveys to monitor public attitudes to the Governments welfare reform programme between 2005-08. In addition, a further piece of research was conducted in 2005 to monitor public awareness of the Department and its responsibilities.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cash equivalent transfer value is of the public sector pensions of the 10 highest paid members of staff in his Department and its executive agencies; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: This information is set out in the remuneration report, which forms part of the Department for Work and Pensions resource accounts. In addition this information is also available within Departments agencies annual reports and accounts.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what consultants have been contracted by his Department to conduct public participation activities in the last three years; and how much expenditure his Department has incurred on each such contract. 
Mrs. McGuire: The consultant contracts that address public participation activities also cover a range of other services and so to provide the specific detail you are requesting would result in disproportionate cost.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what baseline figure is being used to measure performance against each of his Departments 2004 Public Service Agreement targets. 
Mrs. McGuire: The baselines for all the Departments 2004 targets are contained in the Technical Note published as part of the Public Service Agreement and have been reproduced in all performance reports covering the period, most recently in the 2007 DWP Autumn Performance Report, which is available in the Library and on the Departments website.
All official travel in my Department is undertaken strictly in accordance with the rules contained in the Cabinet Office Management Code. All ministerial travel is undertaken fully in accordance with the rules set out in the Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training activity claimants of the Employment and Support allowance may undertake that is (a) work related and (b) not work related. 
Mr. Timms: The arrangements will be exactly the same as currently under incapacity benefits. Claimants on employment and support allowance will be permitted to undertake any unpaid training arrangement made under section 2(1) of the Employment and Training Act 1973 or section 2(3) of the Enterprise and New Towns (Scotland) Act 1990 which will help them return to work. In addition, they are able to participate in training courses for 16 hours or more a week, where the primary purpose is the teaching of occupational or vocational skills.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of existing claimants of housing benefit who have had their benefits reduced as a result of changes by the Rent Service to the localities used to calculate reference rents. 
Housing benefit customers living in the deregulated private rented sector may be affected by the review of localities when their annual referral to the rent officer is made. This process occurs gradually over
the course of a year, depending on when the customer made their original claim for housing benefit. Only those customers who have been in receipt of housing benefit for a continuous period of 52 weeks or more, and who made a claim prior to the introduction of the new locality, will be affected.
The Department for Work and Pensions has estimated that as a result of the localities review, out of a total of 800,000 living in the private rented sector in England, approximately 85,000 customers may see an increase in their entitlement while approximately 30,000 customers may experience a reduction in their benefit entitlement.
Similar analysis by the Scottish Government shows that approximately 2,000 housing benefit customers out of a total of 60,000 living in the private rent sector in Scotland may experience a reduction in benefit entitlement, while approximately 5,000 may see a gain in their entitlement. The vast majority of customers will see their housing benefit entitlement remain unchanged as a result of the review.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants of (a) housing benefit and (b) local housing allowance there are in (i) Ribble Valley constituency, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) England. 
|Housing benefit recipients as at May 2007|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.
3. Housing benefit excludes any extended payment cases.
4. Figures for any non-responding authorities have been estimated.
5. Lancashire includes the following local authorities: Blackburn with Darwen; Blackpool; Burnley; Chorley; Fylde; Hyndburn; Lancaster; Pendle; Preston; Ribble Valley; Rossendale; South Ribble; West Lancashire; and Wyre.
Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Management Information System Quarterly 100 per cent. case load stock-count taken in May 2007.
Mr. Timms: From October 2008 all new employment and support allowance claimants in the Work Related Activity Group will go through Pathways to Work, and existing customers will have access on a voluntary basis. We do not expect the application of the work capability assessment from 2010 to 2013 to existing incapacity benefits recipients to make a significant difference to the numbers coming forward voluntarily for help.
Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost of means-tested benefits for residents of (a) residential and (b) nursing homes in 2008-09. 
1. Forecast expenditure data do not separately identify people in residential and nursing homes, so the most recent available full year data are 2006-07.
2. The system flag used to record if someone is in a care home does not distinguish between residential or nursing homes.
DWP accounting and statistical data.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the largest single consolatory payment to an individual by (a) his Department, (b) the Child Support Agency, (c) Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus, (d) the Disability and Carers Service, (e) the Pension Service, (f) the Rent Service and (g) the Debt Management Service was in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Department is focused on providing high standards of customer service and seeks to provide rapid and satisfactory resolution of any customer complaints. In the event that departmental error or delay may have an adverse effect on a customer, the Department operates a discretionary scheme providing financial redress.
|Largest single consolatory payment to an individual|
1. DWPs customers interact with the Department through its agencies/businesses and any consolatory payments are made at the agency/business level, rather than centrally.
2. DCS only retain readily available information for the previous two years on their special payments database. Information prior to this period is deleted on an ongoing basis. The SPEC forms (the individual special payment decision and authorisation forms) for individual cases are retained for a longer period but are kept at a remote storage centre. To retrieve these and then attempt to provide the information required to answer the PQ could be done only at disproportionate cost.
3. DCS do retain overall category statistics for each month but not the individual case breakdown that is being asked for.
4. The Pension Service figures are only available from 1 November 2003 when the new system was installed. We do not have access to any earlier information.
5. Debt Management is not an executive agency of DWP. A consolatory payment awarded because of error by Debt Management is paid by Jobcentre Plus.
6. The Rent Service (TRS) was formed in October 1999 as an executive agency of the Department of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. TRS became an executive agency of the Department for Work and Pensions in June 2001. The Rent Service has not made any consolatory payments in the period concerned.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements are in place to ensure that all his Departments offices are informed of recorded disability needs of their customers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. McGuire: Wherever possible we try to ensure that the needs of disabled customers are met. For example, in Jobcentre Plus if a customer states that they have a disability or health problem, with their permission, this information is recorded on a computer system. An enhancement to IT systems that support disability living allowance and attendance allowance benefit claims from customers allows Pension, Disability and Carers Service staff to record a customers preferred method of communication. Our current IT systems do not allow recorded information on a customers disability needs to be shared across the different parts of the Department.
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