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23 Feb 2009 : Column 54W—continued

Departmental Pay

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy that temporary and permanent employees of his Department employed at the same grade receive the same hourly rate of pay. [248422]

Jonathan Shaw: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 27W.

Departmental Pensions

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to advise staff of pension options available to them in relation to added years or additional voluntary contributions. [253262]

Jonathan Shaw: Members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme receive an annual benefit statement showing the pension built up to date, and also a projection of their pension on retirement if they continue in service to scheme pension age. The benefit statement prompts the member to consider boosting their pension and provides details of the civil service pensions website where staff can obtain further information, including options for making additional voluntary contributions and a calculator to work out costs for added pension (previously added years).

New entrants are informed of pension options in the employment offer and are provided with a pension information pack.

Cabinet Office provides leaflets that explain added pension and additional voluntary contributions for members. The information is also available in scheme booklets. These are available on the civil service pensions website or on request from the member’s pensions administrator.

The Department for Work and Pensions regularly communicates with its staff about Civil Service Pension Schemes via the DWP Intranet.

Departmental Pilot Schemes

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the number of people participating in each (a) pilot programme run by his Department and (b) pathfinder area programme in (i) each of the last two years and (ii) each of the next five years. [249192]

Mr. McNulty: The activities of the Department for Work and Pensions cover a very wide range of programmes and services. Pilots and pathfinders are a normal part of departmental business. The information requested is not collected centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Public Appointments

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which of the public appointments for which his Department is responsible are due to be (a) renewed and (b) filled in the next 24 months; what the (i) remit, (ii) salary, (iii) political restriction, (iv) eligibility requirement and (v) timetable for each appointment is; and what records his Department keeps in respect of such appointments. [254244]

Jonathan Shaw: Information on appointments made by the Department is published in the Annual Appointments Plan which can be found on the Department's website at:

More detailed information about individual appointments is set out in the relevant body's Annual Report which is also available through this link.

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Vacancies may be advertised on the Cabinet Office Public Appointments website at:

The process for making a public appointment, including guidance on political activity and eligibility criteria, follows the Cabinet Office publication “Making and Managing Public Appointments”. For appointments regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments, the appointments process also complies with the “Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies”. Copies are in the Libraries of the House.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much capital expenditure has been brought forward in response to the economic downturn by his Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies to (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2010-11; from which years such expenditure has been brought forward; and if he will make a statement. [251402]

Jonathan Shaw: The Department has not brought forward any capital expenditure.

Departmental Telephone Services

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the percentage of telephone calls to his Department's helplines which were answered at the latest period for which information is available. [256368]

Jonathan Shaw: The latest available figures for the percentage of calls answered by DWP's businesses relate to the quarter October to December 2008 and are as follows:


Jobcentre Plus


Pension Disability and Carers Service


Debt Management


The figures represent the percentage of calls answered as a proportion of total calls offered to DWP network or centre. Total calls answered will include those answered by agents/advisers and voice recognition/auto attendant if applicable.

Departmental Temporary Employment

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent by his Department on (a) agency and (b) temporary staff in each financial year since 2005-06. [251359]

Jonathan Shaw: The Department for Work and Pensions utilises both staff employed by agencies and temporary staff employed direct on a casual basis; these costs are shown in the following table:

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£ million

Agency staff Temporary staff Total













Departmental Training

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on digital media training courses provided by the Internet Advertising Bureau in 2008; how many such training sessions were held in 2008; and how many staff in his Department attended at least one such training course. [252240]

Jonathan Shaw: The Department does not hold records on the information requested centrally; individual business units retain records locally and as such this information could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

Disability Living Allowance: Chelmsford

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in West Chelmsford constituency claimed the higher rate care component of disability living allowance in 2007-08. [254673]

Jonathan Shaw: The available information is in the following table.

Disability living allowance higher rate care component—cases in payment in West Chelmsford parliamentary constituency


May 2007


August 2007


November 2007


February 2008


1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Figures show the number of people in receipt of an allowance and exclude people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital
3. These figures are published on the DWP website at:
DWP Information Directorate: work and pensions longitudinal study.

Disability Living Allowance: Sight Impaired

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of visually impaired people who would be classified as having no useful sight for orientation purposes who are not in receipt of disability living allowance higher rate mobility component; what the eligibility criteria for this group are; and how much he estimates it would cost to change the rules so that this group received the component. [258248]

Jonathan Shaw: There is no accepted definition of “no useful sight for orientation purposes”. However, during helpful discussions with the RNIB they have suggested that this could be interpreted as meaning that a visually impaired person would have: no perception of light; perception of light only; perception of hand movement; or a visual acuity of 3/60(1) and either “total”
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or “extensive” loss of visual field. Using these definitions of visual impairment we estimate that, if implemented in 2010-11, we would require additional annual benefit expenditure of around £45 million to extend the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance to this group.

Disabled: Children

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will bring forward proposals to increase the financial support for mentally and physically disabled children given up for adoption by their parents. [254901]

Jonathan Shaw: We keep the level of all benefits constantly under review. In addition, in the White Paper “Raising Expectations and Increasing Support: Reforming Welfare for the Future” we accepted that there is a need to look closely at the challenges that the current system of benefits presents to carers. We remain committed to looking at carers' benefits in the context of our wider ambitions for the welfare state and to ensuring that the needs of carers are central to the future reform of the benefit system.

Discrimination: Disabled

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what procedures are available to individuals to lodge complaints against (a) a public body and (b) a private organisation in relation to failure to comply with disability discrimination legislation; and if he will make a statement. [257257]

Jonathan Shaw: There is a range of procedures available to individuals who wish to pursue complaints where they consider that an organisation has failed to meet its duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). There is no distinction between the arrangements for complaints brought against private organisations and those brought against public bodies.

An individual who wishes to bring a complaint that an organisation has failed in its duties under the DDA may do so by informal means, such as a direct approach to the organisation, the questions procedure, or conciliation.

The Act provides for formal enforcement through civil proceedings. Where the complainant wishes to bring legal proceedings against the organisation, different legal processes apply according to the nature of the complaint.

For complaints concerning employment and vocational training an application may be made to an employment tribunal.

For complaints concerning post-16 education, access to goods, services, facilities and premises, private clubs, and the functions of public bodies, the complainant may bring legal proceedings in a county court in England and Wales, or in a sheriff court in Scotland. In respect of post-16 education in Scotland the claim must be served on the education service provider.

For complaints involving education in schools in England, claims of unlawful discrimination may be made to the 1st Tier Tribunals (formerly Special Educational
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Needs and Disability Tribunal), and for Wales to the Special Education Needs Tribunal for Wales. The 1st Tier Tribunal in England will also hear appeals on grounds of disability discrimination in relation to fixed-period (temporary) exclusions from all schools and also, admissions to, and permanent exclusions from, all schools other than maintained schools and academies. Appeals on grounds of disability discrimination in respect of a refusal to admit to, and permanent exclusions from, maintained schools and academies are heard by admissions appeals panels or independent appeals panels. Appeals are dealt with in a similar way in Wales. In Scotland, complaints involving education in schools are dealt with in the sheriff court.

Individuals may also instigate judicial review proceedings against a public authority if they believe it has failed to pay due regard to the disability equality duty.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has powers of enforcement in respect of the provisions in the DDA that cover discriminatory job advertisements; instructions and pressure to discriminate in employment and vocational training; and the disability equality duty. An individual may raise their concerns about these issues with the EHRC, but it is for the Commission to determine whether enforcement action should be taken.

Discrimination: Mentally Ill

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy to increase public funding aimed at reducing levels of discrimination on grounds of mental health. [253138]

Jonathan Shaw: We are committed to ending disability discrimination, including on the grounds of mental health, and are targeting resources in a number of areas to ensure that disabled people have the opportunity to benefit from the positive impact on health and well-being that work can bring.

Through the “Employ ability” programme, we are engaging with employers to improve their understanding of disability and their attitudes towards employing disabled people. Employ ability activity is aimed at small to medium-sized employers and is being rolled out to Scotland, Wales and seven English regions between 24 March 2008 and 27 February 2009. The Government have committed £4 million to the campaign.

Access to Work helps around 24,000 disabled people take up or stay in work annually by helping to fund specialist equipment, such as writing support software, reading rulers or a Job Coach who can work with the customer to help them develop strategies for organising their work. The Access to Work budget has been increased from £15 million in 1994-95 to £69 million in 2008-09. In the White Paper, “Raising Expectations and Increasing Support”, we made a commitment to double the budget for Access to Work. This will be a major expansion of the support we can offer to disabled people to help them get and sustain employment. We estimate that this could potentially double the number of people helped annually by 2013-14.

The Government’s response to Dame Carol Black’s review of the health of Britain’s working age population set out our plans to launch a range of initiatives to improve working age health and well-being, including mental health. These include the development of the
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first ever cross-Government National Mental Health and Employment Strategy which will bring employment and health services closer together, support employers and health care professionals and tackle issues such as discrimination and stigma.

We have also improved and strengthened the Disability Discrimination Act to provide disabled people with a full and comprehensive set of enforceable rights in all areas of life, including in employment. The Disability Discrimination Act provides protection from disability discrimination for anyone who meets the Act’s definition of a disabled person. A person with a mental health condition will therefore be covered by the provisions of the Act if the effect of their impairment meets the various elements of the definition.

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