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Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how long on average it took to process a claim for jobseekers allowance in each (a) region and (b) Jobcentre Plus district in each month since November 2008; and if he will make a statement; 
The Secretary of State has asked me to respond to your questions asking how long on average it took to process a claim for Jobseekers Allowance in each (a) region and (b) Jobcentre Plus district in each month since November 2008 and if he will make a statement; and how many unprocessed Jobseekers Allowance claims have been made in (a) total and (b) each region in each month since November 2008 and if he will make a statement. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Acting Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The target for Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) Average Actual Clearance Time (AACT) is 11.5 days. This is calculated from the customers initial date of contact to the date a decision is made on their claim. Our benefit processing system calculates the AACT by taking the clearance time of each individual claim, using the dates as described, and calculates an average across the volume of claims processed. We no longer gather data at a district level but at Benefit Delivery Centre (BDC) level. Information on AACT since November 2008, in month, per region and BDC has been placed in the-Library.
Jobcentre Plus calculates the number of unprocessed JSA claims on a monthly basis by carrying out a count across the benefit processing system on the last working day of the month. On any given day a small number of claims will be in transit between offices, so the count will slightly understate the total number of unprocessed claims. Information on the number of outstanding claims since November 2008, in month, the total for Jobcentre Plus and per region has been placed in the Library.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 13 May 2009, Official Report, columns 860-1W, on jobseeker's allowance, what the equivalent planning assumption is in respect of income-based jobseeker's allowance. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 19 May 2009]: The Department does not publish an official forecast for claimant unemployment, whether in total or separately for the contributory, income-based and credits-only sections of the caseload.
The Budget report published HM Treasury's planning assumption for the UK claimant count, which is used for public finance projections. This is based on an average of around 30 forecasts by academic and City institutions, and is audited by the National Audit Office, but does not constitute an official Government forecast. The numbers within this assumption which are assumed to be income-based cases in Great Britain are shown in the following table.
|Financial year||Number of claimants of income-based jobseeker's allowance|
1. The figures quoted above relate to jobseeker's allowance claimants in Great Britain. Information regarding Northern Ireland is a matter for the Northern Ireland Office. They are rounded to the nearest thousand claimants, and include the impact of welfare reform measures, which will bring additional claimants onto jobseeker's allowance from other benefits.
2. The figures for 2009-10 are lower than the total claimant count published by the Office for National Statistics since those figures related to the United Kingdom, and include people who only receive contributory jobseeker's allowance or national insurance credits without any benefit being in payment. Similarly, both figures quoted are lower than the claimant count assumption published in the Budget report.
3. The figures presented above include 31,000 claimants in 2009-10 and 38,000 claimants in 2010-11 who are also claimants of contributory jobseeker's allowance. These are claimants who receive an income-based top up to their contributory allowance.
4. These figures are the average number of claimants over the financial years shown.
5. The figures quoted in the Budget and pre-Budget reports are for seasonally adjusted claimant unemployment in the UK. This is a cautious assumption based on the average of external forecasts and is not the Treasury's economic forecast.
6. The Budget report 2009 can be found at
The latest assumption can be found on page 221 (boxC1).
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for how long on average claimants resident in (a) Fife and (b) North East Fife constituency received jobseeker's allowance in each of the last five years. 
|Jobseeker's allowance off-flows by median (weeks) duration in the last five years|
|Fife local authority||North East Fife parliamentary constituency|
1. Median durations are rounded to one decimal place. 2. This information is published on the Nomis website at www.nomisweb.co.uk 3. The information in the table relates to Jobseeker's Allowance claims completed in the relevant year, and does not include claimants still receiving jobseeker's allowance at the end of the year. Source: Count of unemployment-related benefits, Jobcentre Plus computer systems (computer held cases only).
These figures are affected by changes in the overall composition of claimant unemployment, which during periods of rising or falling unemployment can dominate any changes in the average length of time that individuals can expect to remain on the count. Recent changes in the median duration of jobseeker's allowance off-flows will have been influenced by increases in claimant unemployment that have mainly reflected higher inflows to jobseeker's allowance. This has had the effect of reducing the median duration of the stock of jobseeker's allowance claimants and of the off-flows from that stock.
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of young people in (a) Hemel Hempstead and (b) Hertfordshire claimed jobseeker's allowance in each of the last 10 years. 
|Proportion of young people aged 18 - 24 in Hertfordshire claiming jobseeker's allowance in the last 10 years|
| Notes: 1. Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. 2. Data are published at https://www.nomisweb.co.uk. 3. Data excludes clerical cases. 4. Percentages are calculated using ONS mid year population statistics for the relevant year except for 2008 and 2009 which are based on mid-2007 estimates. Source: 100 per cent. count of claimants of unemployment related benefits, Jobcentre Plus Computer Systems.|
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the code of conduct relating to Pathways to Work programmes for (a) prime contractors and (b) sub-contractors; and how many complaints his Department
has received from sub-contractors relating to breaches of the code. 
Mr. McNulty [holding answer 20 April 2009]: The Code of Conduct is an integral part of the Department for Work and Pensions Commissioning Strategy which was published in February 2008. Although both the Strategy and supporting Code were published by the time Pathways contracts were implemented, the procurement process did not include formal compliance with the Code, as was subsequently the case with the flexible New Deal.
Flexible New Deal will be the first provision commissioned fully under the Commissioning Strategy. Wherever possible, the Department has been working to the standards set out in the Strategy in advance of flexible New Deal implementation. Although the Code of Conduct formally forms part of the flexible New Deal contracts, the principles of the Code apply to all our supply chains.
Effective working arrangements between prime contractors and their sub-contractors are important to the Department in the delivery of Provider Led Pathways. All providers and their sub-contractors have a routeway for any complaints via the Department for Work Pensions website direct to the supplier inquiry team. We currently do not classify complaints by whether they are from providers or subcontractors but deal with them on an individual basis.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many benefit payments were paid (a) by direct debit into bank accounts and (b) via the Post Office network through the Post Office card account in each of the last three years. 
Mr. McNulty: The following table shows the number of benefit payment transactions paid (a) by direct payment into bank accounts and (b) via the Post Office network through the Post Office card account in each of the last three years.
|Bank account||Post Office card account|
| Note: Child benefit and war pensions are no longer administered by DWP and have therefore been excluded. Source: DWP, Corporate Banking and Method of Payment (COBAP).|
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recipients of benefits were paid (a) by direct debit into bank accounts and (b) via the Post Office network through the Post Office card account in each of the last three years. 
The following table shows the number of benefit accounts paid (a) by direct payment into bank accounts and (b) via the Post Office network through the Post Office card account in each of the last three years for which figures are available.
|Bank account||Post Office card account|
| Notes: 1. Figures are rounded and refer to GB benefit payment accounts live and in payment as at June of each year. Customers with more than one benefit account will be counted for each account. 2. Child benefit and war pensions are no longer administered by DWP and have therefore been excluded. Source: DWP, Information Directorate.|
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases of potential fraud were investigated where the Department considered there to be a high probability of prosecution in each of the last five years for which information is available; how many cases of potential fraud were taken to court; and how many cases achieved a conviction.  [Official Report, 17 June 2009, Vol. 494, c. 1MC.]
|Number of cases referred for prosecution||Number prosecuted||Number of convictions||Number of cases taken to court that accepted an alternative sanction|
|n/a = Not available|
1. All cases for criminal investigation are taken forward as having the potential to result in prosecution; alternative sanctions of caution and administrative penalty are only offered on the basis that, if refused, prosecution remains an option for the Department. Decisions on whether a sanction and which type is appropriate are, rightly, only made when an investigation has been completed.
2. The number of cases prosecuted each year may exceed the number of cases referred for prosecution due to the length of time that can occur between referral and an available court date.
1. Prosecution and conviction data for England and Wales from DWP/DH Legal Group.
2. Number of cases taken to court that accepted an alternative sanction (England and Wales only) from DWP/DH Legal Group.
3. Prosecution and conviction data for Scotland from FIBS and FRAIMS
4. No of cased referred for prosecution, administrative penalties and cautions data from FIBS and FRAIMS.
The decision to prosecute is taken by the appropriate local authority.
Local authority housing benefit administrative returns.
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