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12 Jan 2009 : Column 22Wcontinued
Table 1 provides the available information on old scheme cases, by quarter from May 1999, information prior to this date is not available. Table 2.1 provides the information requested for current and old scheme cases but not including cases cleared clerically, from March 2003 when the current scheme was introduced.
Under its three year Operational Improvement Plan, the Agency committed to reduce the number of current scheme applications to 90,000 by the end of March 2009. As of September 2008 the Agency had reduced the number of uncleared current scheme cases by 66% from 220,100 cases in March 2006 to 75,700 including cases cleared clerically.
I hope you find this answer helpful.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many letters requesting payment of child maintenance arrears have been sent to non-resident parents by the Child Support Agency in each month in the last three years; 
(2) how many requests for full settlement of outstanding arrears of child maintenance have been sent to non-resident parents by the Child Support Agency in each month in the last three years. 
Kitty Ussher: I have consulted with the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission who have confirmed that the information requested is not available.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance his Department provides to its managers on the right of employees of the Department to request flexible working; and what estimate his Department has made of the extent to which its staff in offices across the country have taken up this right. 
Jonathan Shaw: Departmental guidance supports managers by covering both the legislative requirement and the Departments application of its legislative requirement for employees to change the hours they work, the times they are required to be at work and also the ability to work from home.
At the end of October 2008, 35 per cent. (39,440) of employees in DWP were on part-time flexible working contracts. In addition there are employees who job share or work from home, either contractually or on an ad hoc basis.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many contracts his Department and its executive agencies have made with the training provider Inspire2Independence; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what steps Jobcentre Plus has taken to encourage the involvement of football clubs in Inspire2Independence's welfare to work programme; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the performance of Inspire2Independence's football-related contracts with his Department and its agencies in (a) involving people outside the working population and (b) helping such people into work. 
Jonathan Shaw: Inspire2Independence currently hold three DWP contracts for the delivery of welfare to work provision. The organisation plays a valuable role both in terms of delivering a range of welfare to work services and in helping develop activity to improve performance of welfare to work commercial services generally.
Jobcentre Plus has played no role in encouraging the involvement of football clubs in provision delivered by Inspire2Independence, though they are responsible for managing the referral of customers to provision. The Coaching Academy model developed by Inspire2Independence does make use of a number of football club facilities to deliver its services.
Inspire2Independence were given a challenging implementation plan and their performance against this is improving month by month. Their performance in November was in the top 25 per cent. of DWP welfare to work providers and overall they are achieving mid range performance.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether responsibility for data security is assigned at a senior level and included within relevant job descriptions in his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department's Information Security Committee (a sub-committee of the Department's Executive Team) is responsible for information security issues across the Department. Operational responsibility for security is assigned to respective chief executives and heads of businesses. Other senior staff in the Department's agencies have specific responsibilities for promoting data security and report to their respective chief executives. Following the publication of the Cabinet Office's Review of Data Handling Procedures in Government, specific senior civil servants across the Department have been designated as information asset owners who provide assurance to the Department's senior information risk owner that data assets are properly protected.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what independent assurance he has obtained on the adequacy of data security and information governance arrangements across his Department and its associated agencies. 
Jonathan Shaw: Independent assurance on the adequacy of the Department's controls is provided from a range of sources including internal audit reviews conducted in accordance with governance arrangements that are overseen by the Departmental Audit Committee, comprising an independent chair and independent members.
In addition, new procedures introduced as part of Cabinet Office's review of data-handling procedures in Government, have led to the designation of information asset ownerssenior staffwho provide assurance to the Department's senior information risk owner on the adequacy of the arrangements for the management of information assets. The departmental security officer, who is independent of the operational management chain, also provides an annual assessment on the prevailing level of security, and the consequent assurance that can be obtained across the broad range of security risks, including those relating to information.
These assurances, along with other information, will be used to inform the statement of internal control which will be published in the Department's resource account for the year ending 31 March 2009.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what formal data owners there are for each dataset held by his Department and its agencies; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: In accordance with the Cabinet Office's report on Guidance on Mandatory Roles: AO, SIRO, IAO (accounting officer, senior information risk owner and information asset owner) published in April 2008, the Department has appointed a senior information risk owner and information asset owners who will have responsibility for meeting the requirements of the Cabinet Office data handling report.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the adequacy of (a) staff recruitment and management practices, (b) administrative processes and (c) technical controls in maintaining data security in his Department and its agencies. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department takes its responsibilities for data security very seriously. In the last year, the Department has made substantial and extensive improvements to its handling arrangements for such data including the implementation of the recommendations of the Cabinet Office review of data handling procedures in Government.
In respect of the specific information sought, the following measures have been introduced:
(a) Staff recruitment: the Department has introduced additional background checks on new recruits, including the checking of identity and criminal records.
(b) Administrative processes: new procedures have been introduced that have considerably tightened up the handling of information, including improvements in the way data is transferred across the Department, and exchanged with external partners. Staff have been provided with improved guidance; security and discipline policies are being reviewed and refreshed; and major steps have been taken to improve security awareness.
(c) Technical controls: all the Department's laptop computers have been encrypted, and strict IT controls implemented which prohibit the use of unencrypted media (memory sticks, disks, etc). Wherever possible, data is transferred electronically rather than relying on physical media.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) procedures and (b) staff training programmes his Department has put in place on maintaining data security. 
Jonathan Shaw: A wide range of new procedures has been developed and introduced, including implementation of encryption products for physical media and laptops, restrictions on the transfer of certain categories of information, and better control where paper documents are moved by courier services. All these changes have been supported by improved guidance to staff. In addition all new staff now undertake security awareness training as part of their routine induction. These activities are being supplemented by a concerted and significant campaign of staff awareness.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what records his Department maintains in relation to the classes of data held by his Department and its agencies. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department is registered as a data controller in accordance with the Data Protection Act, and the records maintained in relation to personal data comply with that registration. A very wide range of data records are necessary to deliver the extensive range of services and benefits administered by the Department. Such records as are held will vary according to the particular requirements of the related purpose under the legislation.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on how many occasions (a) information and (b) data was (i) lost and (ii) stolen from his Department in each year since 1997; and what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of recovering such losses. 
Jonathan Shaw: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for Ceredigion (Mark Williams) on 22 October 2008, Official Report, column 408W.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many members of staff in his Department have received gifts valued at £100 or higher in the course of their duties in each of the last three years; what these gifts were; and from whom they were received. 
Mr. McNulty: The following table shows the number of staff within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who received gifts valued at £100 or higher in the course of their duties within the last three years:
|Number of staff||Details of gifts received||Estimated v alue of gifts (£)||From whom the gifts were received|
None of the aforementioned items were kept by the individual recipient but were retained by the Department and used for official purposes.
The rules and guidance on receipt of gifts by civil servants are set out in the Civil Service Management Code, and in departmental staff handbooks.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1960W, on departmental ICT, (1) how many individuals have been disciplined over the loss of the items referred to; 
(2) what steps have been taken to reduce future losses of ICT equipment; 
(3) how much has been spent trying to recover the missing items referred to; 
(4) which of the items of ICT equipment recorded as lost or stolen had software protection installed; and if he will make a statement; 
(5) what assessment he has made of the types of data held on the ICT equipment which has gone missing from his Department since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: The Department takes very seriously its responsibilities to safeguard personal and other sensitive data. In the last 12 months, a number of major changes have been made in the way that data is handled and stored, especially insofar as items of removable equipment (such as laptop computers and memory sticks) are concerned. Significant improvements have been introduced, including the widespread deployment of encryption.
The information about lost and stolen equipment, given in response to the question referred to, was obtained from centrally maintained records of security incidents. Detail is not available from these central records to indicate the nature of disciplinary action that was taken in individual cases. Such information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost, given that the bulk of these incidents occurred a number of years ago. However, the Department is currently reviewing its disciplinary policies to better reflect the importance which it attaches to the security of valuable assets and information.
Following the Cabinet Office Review of Data Handling Procedures in Government, the Department has designated senior staff as information asset owners, who are personally accountable for providing assurance in relation to the information assets within their respective business areas. Additional steps taken to reduce future losses include measures which prevent employees from copying information to removable media, except where this has been encrypted.
Information on the costs of seeking to recover earlier lost or stolen equipment and which of such items had software protection installed is not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what records his Department keeps of computer (a) software failures, (b) viruses, (c) hacking attacks and (d) denial of service attacks. 
Jonathan Shaw: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr. Timms) gave the hon. Member for Hornchurch (James Brokenshire) on 10 March 2008, Official Report, column 17W.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many dedicated Jobcentre Plus (a) special advisers and (b) press officers his Department employs. 
Jonathan Shaw: Jobcentre Plus has no dedicated special advisers or press officers employed by the Department.
Their work is just one of the responsibilities looked after by the special advisers and press officers employed for the Department.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer of 22 July 2008, Official Report, column 1207W, on speeches, how much Mr. Phil Collins has been paid for speech-writing services to his Department to date. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy to ensure that those temporary and permanent employees at the same grade in his Department who are paid at an hourly rate are paid at the same rate. 
Jonathan Shaw: DWP treats temporary and permanent employees in the same way. All employees are paid on the basis of an annual salary and not an hourly rate. The appropriate starting salary is determined by grade and employees are normally recruited onto the minimum of their pay band. Progression up the pay band is based upon the annual pay review. It is possible for employees within a grade to be on different rates of pay but this is normally due to factors such as individual length of service or the effects of pay increases following previous promotion.
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