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The Open University
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of the internal guidance used by his Department to assign traffic light gradings to Parliamentary Questions. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of applicants for employment support allowance have successfully passed the Work Capabilities Assessment since it was introduced; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions he has had with the preferred bidders for implementation of the welfare-to-work programme; and when he expects to announce the outcomes of the bidding process. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department has taken to maintain specialist expertise in the (a) procurement and (b) delivery of specialist disability employment services during the current consultation exercise. 
Jonathan Shaw: Following the recommendations made in the Government's White Paper, Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future, DWP has been discussing with specialist providers of employment support and representatives of disabled people how best to implement our decisions. These discussions have included workshops across England, Scotland and Wales covering the design of the new provision and the commercial approach to procuring the programme.
The commissioning and procurement will follow the principles set out in the Commissioning Strategy, Cm 7330, in adopting a prime contracting strategy that will allow niche, specialist providers to play their full part.
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of the budget of (a) the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate, (b) the Office for Civil Nuclear Security and (c) the Health and Safety Executive is allocated for administration costs in 2008-09. 
|Table 1 : 2008-09|
|Nuclear Installations Inspectorate||Office for Civil Nuclear Safety||Health and Safety Executive (including Nil and OCNS)|
|(1) Staffing costs cover permanent staff payroll costs and the cost of staff substitutes such as agency workers.|
(2) Other Administration costs for Nil and OCNS include other general administration expenditure such as the cost of travel, training and consumables but exclude budgets managed centrally such as estate costs, IS/IT and other centrally managed functions. Conversely, the HSE "Other Administration Costs" have no such exclusions.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements are in place to aid those customers unable to use personal identification numbers in relation to their pension payments. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Customers unable to use personal identification numbers (PINs) can be paid into an account that offers alternative access arrangements (for example a chip and signature card or building society passbook). They could also access their money by cashing a personal cheque or, where appropriate, allowing a third party access to their account. Those who are unable to operate an account of any kind are currently paid by cheque.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) guidance and (b) directions he has issued to the Pensions Ombudsman on the exercise of its discretion not to investigate cases. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 9 February 2009, Official Report, column 1644W, on Post Office card account, if he will publish the normal principles of commercial confidentiality applied by his Department. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The normal principles of commercial confidentiality applied by this Department have been published in the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act working assumptions document which is derived from the FOI Act itself. The working assumptions document is available on the Ministry of Justice website under FOI procurement guidance
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has any plans to amend the processing of benefits claims by ending the requirement for documents to be physically moved or sent by fax between benefit offices. 
The Pensions, Disability and Carers Service has just conducted a pilot of an electronic document management system within one of the pension centres whereby all incoming documents are electronically scanned. Subject to evaluation this will be introduced nationally to the other pension centres beginning later this year and consideration is being given to its introduction into disability benefit operations. This system will end the need to physically pass documents between offices as they will be available electronically from a central source.
Jobcentre Plus is about to begin a project looking at the scope for paper reduction across its processes. The ability to transfer and store information electronically will be considered as part of that process.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for each type of benefit claimed through call centres, what the (a) average processing time and (b) number of new benefit claims waiting to be processed was in respect of claims made through each call centre in each of the last 24 months. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 26 January 2009]: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the acting chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Mel Groves. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your questions about the average processing times, and number of new benefit claims waiting to be processed in respect of all Jobcentre Plus call centres over the last 24 months. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
I have placed the available information in the Library.
I hope this is helpful.
Mr. McNulty: We keep the benefit system under continuous review to ensure that it continues to provide effective and appropriate support to people. This includes ongoing consideration of the contributory principle and contribution conditions for individual benefits. For example, we have reviewed the provision of contributory Jobseeker's Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance, as set out in the White Paper Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future. (CM: 7506)
The Welfare Reform Bill, which was introduced on 14 January 2009, contains clauses to give effect to the planned changes. We want to modernise access to contributory benefits, strengthen the link to recent employment and simply the benefits system.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the progression to work pathfinder programmes are to be delivered (a) wholly and (b) partially by (i) Jobcentre Plus, (ii) a private sector provider and (iii) a voluntary sector provider. 
Mr. McNulty: The Progression to Work pathfinders will, subject to the successful passage of the current Welfare Reform Bill, start in late 2010 and cover around 10-15 per cent. of the new employment and support allowance claimants and parents with younger children.
It is likely that employment and support allowance claimants will be supported through a mix of Jobcentre Plus and private and voluntary sector providers, with some further specialist services provided by the national health service and specialist private and voluntary sector providers. This reflects the current balance of activity within the Pathways to Work programme. For parents with younger children, it is likely that the pathfinders will be delivered through a mix of Jobcentre Plus and private and voluntary sector providers, delivering assistance through the Jobcentre Plus Support Contract.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) which of the weather stations used for determining the payment of cold weather payments have recorded temperatures of zero degrees celsius or less on seven consecutive days since 25 December 2008; and how many days each such weather station recorded below freezing temperatures in each interval of cold weather in that period; 
(2) which weather stations used to determine cold weather payments have recorded temperatures below freezing on (a) two, (b) three, (c) four, (d) five, (e) six and (f) seven or more consecutive days since 25 December 2008. 
A cold weather payment is made to an eligible customer when the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, 0°C or below over seven consecutive days at the weather station linked to the customer's postcode. What matters is actually the average temperature over seven consecutive days, rather than the temperatures on seven consecutive days. For example, if the temperatures at a weather station on seven consecutive days were 0, 1, 0, -1, 0, 0, 0, then the average temperature over the seven consecutive days would be 0 and cold weather payments would be made for that week, even though the temperature on one day was actually greater than 0.
|Cold weather payment triggers by weather station in Great Britain so far this season triggers notified to 12 February 2009|
|Weather station||Admin area||Number of triggers|
The admin area gives the location of each weather station, not the area which is linked to the weather station. For example, Heathrow weather station covers almost all of Greater London, but not all of it, and some areas outside Greater London are linked to Heathrow weather station.
Admin areas for weather stations: the Met Office, October 2008
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