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Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what conclusions his Department has reached in fulfilment of its duty under section 3.111 of the statutory code of practice of the disability equality duty. 
Jonathan Shaw: The conclusions reached by DWP in fulfilment of the duty can be found in the Department for Work and Pensions Race, Disability and Gender Equality Schemes 2008-2011 which includes an update on the actions that were published in its disability equality scheme in December 2006 and its annual progress report in November 2007. To align with its annual planning and reporting cycles the Department published its revised schemes and progress reports on 29 May 2008, on both its internal and external websites, and we will continue to publish to this timetable in the future.
In addition, the Department published its report on progress towards disability equality made by public authorities in policy sectors led by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on 1 December 2008. The actions identified in that report will be incorporated into the next progress reports scheduled for May 2009.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff in his Department undertook courses funded by the Department for (a) undergraduate degrees, (b) postgraduate degrees or diplomas, (c) Masters degrees, (d) MBA degrees and (e) PhD degrees in the last 12 months, broken down by pay band. 
Jonathan Shaw: Under existing contractual arrangements, EDS provides the Department with IT desk top service integration and management applications maintenance and support and hosting services. BT provides network and telephony services. In addition, the Department sources other IT services from a number of other suppliers.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what policies and procedures his Department has relating to (a) change management, (b) problem management, (c) incident management, (d) release management and (e) configuration management in respect of departmental computer systems. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department works with its suppliers to apply comprehensive policies and procedures governing these functions, consistent with the standards established by Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL is the industry standard discipline for managing IT operations.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what plans his Department has to replace the computer system infrastructure of (a) his Department and (b) its agencies; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Departments plans for renewing its computer infrastructure have been pursued since 2005 through its IT Transformation Programme, which has equipped the Department with more resilient and sustainable IT delivering services at lower cost.
Realigned contracts with its IT Service providers, EDS and BT, have delivered data centre rationalisation, server modernisation, new desktops and encrypted laptops for staff and an advanced high capacity data network combining voice and data transmission.
The Department has announced its intention to hold a series of competitions to replace these existing contracts between 2010-11 and 2015. This will provide a basis for continued modernisation of its computer infrastructure aligned to its strategic IT vision.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department takes to register (a) risks and (b) other issues relating to the operation of departmental computer systems. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department has an established process for managing risk and issues relating to its computer systems implemented at various functional levels. This risk management framework incorporates internal and external good practice from both the public and private sectors and is fully consistent with the HMT guidelines. The Risk Management Framework formally describes the Departments approach to risk management and is based on a set of core elements which are mandated across all business units, programmes and projects.
Jonathan Shaw: The Department has Business Continuity Plans, which are flexible and proven, to ensure that its customers receive their payments on time. Every departmental business area has its own Business Continuity Plans in place to support this top priority and these plans are comprehensively rehearsed at regular intervals. These plans are supported by resilience built into the Departments IT systems design and alternative clerical process to deliver key services to customers where practicable.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent surveys (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have undertaken of satisfaction levels of users of departmental computer systems. 
Jonathan Shaw: The DWP Staff Survey, conducted annually, contains a question on whether IT provides effective support for the job staff do. In addition, the annual IT & Telephony Satisfaction Survey, of a sample of staff across the Department, asks over 100 questions on a range of IT systems, services and equipment. The answers are used to identify priorities for improvement.
Jonathan Shaw: The Department does not categorise changes to computer systems according to data distinctions: changes often affect the storage of both financial and non-financial data and its deployment.
The Departments computer systems are constantly reviewed to support policy and business modernisation and to improve efficiency and value for money. The Department currently has a schedule of over 1,200 IT system changes in the next 12 months. Many of these will arise from its current portfolio of about 200 modernisation projects.
19 of these are major business change programmes supported by IT. They are listed in appendix 1 of the report of the National Audit Office to the Work and Pensions Committee (Department for Work and Pensions: Information Technology Programmes), a copy of which is in the Library. They include programmes which will improve the deployment of financial information, for example the Central Payment System, and programmes
to deliver efficient and effective services to the Departments customers, for example the Department for Work and Pensions Change Programme.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of each of his Department's (a) initiation documents, (b) business cases, (c) cost/benefit analyses, (d) communication plans, (e) project plans, (f) risks and issues logs, (g) technical and functional specifications, (h) user acceptance criteria and (i) stakeholder analyses for planned IT projects. 
The Department for Work and Pensions currently has a portfolio of over 200 projects with varying degrees of IT input. Project documentation is constantly updated and often contains both commercially sensitive and other information which may be prejudicial to the security of the Department's IT systems. The additional cost of removing such sensitive information to permit publication would be prohibitive. The Department regularly publishes information on major current modernisation projects in its annual plans and reports which are held in the Library of the House.
Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 4 November 2008, Official Report, columns 336-37W, on Government departments: information and communications technology, which IP addresses are used by (a) his Department and (b) computers in the offices of its (i) Ministers, (ii) communications officials and (iii) special advisers. 
Jonathan Shaw: To help defend against electronic attack, it is standard good information security practice for corporate IT systems, not to publish internal IP addresses. When accessing internet websites, the IP addresses of all of the computers on The Department for Work and Pensions internal office IT system are hidden behind the following IP addresses which are publicly available188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206. These IP addresses are shared with other Government Departments that use the Government secure intranet.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what records his Department maintains of its expenditure on (a) official hospitality and (b) alcohol for official hospitality. 
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on Ministerial hospitality in (a) 2004-05, (b) 2005-06, (c) 2006-07 and (d) 2007-08, expressed in current prices. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department for Work and Pensions does not have a separate or identifiable account code in departmental finance records to distinguish ministerial hospitality from other forms of hospitality. To try and identify any such expenditure would incur a disproportionate amount of time and cost.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Taunton of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1966-67W, on departmental public opinion, whether the outturn costs of the focus groups were within budget. 
Jonathan Shaw: As referred to in my previous answer to the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Browne), 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1966-67W, the costs of focus groups are often included within campaign development and evaluation costs. Specific budget allocations and costs for focus group elements are therefore not held separately.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Taunton of 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1966-67W, on departmental public opinion, what plans his Department has to hold further focus groups. 
Jonathan Shaw: As referred to in my previous answer to the hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. Browne), 26 November 2008, Official Report, columns 1966-67W, focus group research is an integral part of the development of communications campaigns, as well as being used to inform some of the Departments larger evaluation exercises. The Department will undoubtedly use focus group research in the future but detailed plans are not yet established
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many individuals have worked in his Department on (a) paid and (b) unpaid work experience or internships in each of the last three years; on average how many hours a week were worked by such people in each year; what types of work each was involved in; what proportion were in full-time education; what proportion did not complete their set period of work
experience; and how much those who received remuneration were paid on average per week in each year. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Pension, Disability and Carers Service collects data for disability living allowance and attendance allowance that provides management information on customers (such as age, location, types of disability, benefits received), characteristics of claims, composition and levels of workloads, speed and accuracy of processing, telephone and other contact statistics, customer satisfaction, complaints and other inquiries, costs and related physical resource information.
This information is typically used to assess performance against published and other internal targets and benchmarks, including to identify and monitor variations in performance between operational units and in some cases teams.
We have no plans to review the qualifying periods for disability living allowance and attendance allowance. The qualifying periods help establish that disability and the resulting care, supervision or
mobility needs are of a long standing nature, and ensure that the benefit goes only to those for whom it is intended.
Disabled people do not always have to wait until the qualifying period is over before they become entitled to benefit. The decision maker will always look at whether, and for how long, the person has required the necessary level of help or has had the necessary degree of walking difficulties before the date of their claim, and consider whether some or all of the qualifying period has already been completed. In addition, special rules can apply to people who are terminally ill and who would not reasonably be expected to live beyond six months. These people do not have to satisfy the qualifying period and are automatically awarded the higher rate of attendance allowance or the highest rate care component of disability living allowance without having to meet the normal conditions of entitlement.
Jonathan Shaw [holding answer 10 December 2008]: Directgov has traditionally employed contract staff to fill short-term posts and those posts requiring specialist skills which cannot be recruited from within the civil service. This policy will continue as there is always likely to be a small number of contractors employed. All contractor posts are subject to competition and in order to ensure value for money, all new posts are to be market tested by carrying out a recruitment exercise to ascertain whether suitable resources can be recruited as permanent staff. There is likely to remain a requirement for critical posts to be staffed by a contractor on an interim basis while the recruitment exercise is being carried out.
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