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John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what mechanisms his Department have put in place to ensure that regional contracting arrangements of the Improving Disability Employment Advisory Service programme will work in conjunction with local initiatives. 
Jonathan Shaw: As set out in the White Paper, 'Raising expectations and increasing support: reforming welfare for the future', new specialist disability employment provision will be introduced in 2010. Local stakeholders have been involved in the development of requirements and we will expect bidders to demonstrate how they have taken account of any relevant local initiatives. We will continue to engage with local stakeholders as appropriate throughout the contracting process.
John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether (a) employment and support allowance and (b) jobseekers' allowance claimants who have been referred to the Improving Disability Employment Advisory Service programme will be expected to attend regular meetings with their Pathways to Work, Jobcentre Plus and Flexible New Deal provider; 
(2) whether mandatory activity under (a) the employment and support allowance and (b) jobseekers' allowance will take precedence over the Improving Disability Employment Advisory Service (IDEAS) programme; and whether participation in the IDEAS programme will count as work-related activity. 
Jonathan Shaw: Employment and support allowance and jobseekers allowance claimants who have volunteered to participate in the new specialist disability employment programme will be expected to continue to satisfy the conditions under which they receive these allowances, including attending regular meetings with their Personal Adviser as appropriate.
If the Work Focussed Interview clashes with an Improving Disability Employment Advisory Service session, the adviser may decide to defer the Work Focussed Interview to enable the customer to undertake their work-related activity. This decision should be made by the adviser following discussion between the adviser and customer.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many formal notifications of redundancies were received by Jobcentre Plus from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in (a) each region and (b) the London
borough of Sutton in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many formal notifications of redundancies were received by Jobcentre Plus from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform in (a) each region and (b) the London Borough of Sutton. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Employers have a statutory responsibility to notify the Insolvency Service, part of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, when they propose to make 20 or more people redundant at one establishment within a period of 90 or fewer days. Those notifications are made by organisations to the Insolvency Service using form HR1. The Insolvency Service does not send these formal notifications of redundancies to Jobcentre Plus so therefore we are not able to provide you with the information you have requested.
It is important to note that each Jobcentre Plus region uses a range of information to identify employers who are making, or considering, redundancies. One of these sources is headline information provided by the Insolvency Service concerning employers. Our objective is to ensure that the support of our Rapid Response Service is offered whenever it might be appropriate for the employer and employees concerned.
We launched our enhanced Rapid Response Service on 12 November 2008. Since then, over 1,000 employers have accepted offers of Rapid Response Service support.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the effects of recent Jobcentre Plus closures on the accessibility of Jobcentre Plus branches for people living in rural areas. 
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what recent assessment he has made of the effects of recent Jobcentre Plus closures on the accessibility of Jobcentre Plus branches for people living in rural areas. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus inherited around 1,500 offices from the merger of the Benefits Agency and the Employment Service in 2002. We have modernised our Jobcentre network to improve customer service, rationalising our estate to provide excellent coverage with integrated customer facing offices, at the same time reducing cost to the tax payer. We remain the largest office network in Government with 741 modern Jobcentres. These offices are supported by 31 modern contact centres and 79 main benefit processing centres.
In planning our Jobcentre network the Jobcentre Plus Customer Service Directors regularly review their service delivery plans to ensure optimum provision of service for all customers. They will take into account the networks accessibility, including time taken to travel from rural areas. Where appropriate, we will deliver out reach services, for instance, aimed at lone parents and others who may find travel difficult.
The great majority of our services (in common with most large, modern organisations) are now also delivered through the telephone and internet. For example, to give customers more convenient access, we have more than half a million vacancies on-line at any time (our website receives close to one million job searches every working day), and new claims to benefit are predominantly taken by telephone. Our customer facing services have been brought together in a more coherent and integrated network and I believe Jobcentre Plus is well-placed to respond to the needs of our customers wherever they live.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) jobseekers allowance (JSA) claimants and (b) JSA claimants with children have been subject to benefit sanctions in each quarter since the beginning of 2007. 
Mr. McNulty: The information for all JSA claimants is not available broken down in each quarter. The information is available for each month and is provided in the following table. Information on JSA claimants with children subject to sanctions is not collated centrally, either quarterly or monthly, and is therefore available only at a disproportionate cost.
|Total number of jobseekers allowance claimants who have been subject to benefit sanctions|
|Varied length||Fixed length||Entitlement decision|
1. The figures above are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. The numbers above are the number of referrals that had an adverse decision in each month.
3. Varied length sanctions are where the JSA claimant has their payment temporarily suspended for anything up to 26 weeks.
4. Fixed length sanctions are where the JSA claimant has their payment temporarily suspended for either 2, 4 or 26 weeks.
5. Entitlement decisions are where the JSA claimant has their entitlement to JSA ended.
6. This information is published at the DWP website:
DWP Information Directorate: JSA sanctions and disallowance decisions statistics database.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people claiming jobseekers allowance in each local authority area had been claiming it for a period of (a) up to three months, (b) between three and six months, (c) between six and 12 months, (d) between 12 and 24 months and (e) more than 24 months in each month since September 2008. 
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recipients of local housing allowance in the private rented sector have their benefits paid directly to landlords under (a) the eight week rent arrears procedures and (b) local authority determined vulnerability criteria. 
Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much housing benefit has been paid out by local authorities in each region under (a) local reference rents and (b) local housing allowance in each of the last four years; 
(2) what proportion of the funds distributed by local authorities in each region as (a) local reference rents and (b) local housing allowance in each of the last four years was paid in respect of accommodation in the private rented sector. 
The local housing allowance did not commence national roll-out until April 2008 and outturn expenditure data for 2008-09 is not yet available. We do have expenditure data on local housing allowance in the local authorities which piloted the scheme prior to national roll-out and this is presented in the following table. There were nine pilot authorities in 2004-05, and 18 from 2005-06. There are some differences between the model of local housing allowance that was piloted and the model that was rolled out in April 2008.
|Regional local housing allowance expenditure in pilot areas|
Figures may not sum due to rounding.
Local authority subsidy claims
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