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7 Jan 2010 : Column 531W—continued


The DWP disposed of the majority of its vehicle fleet in August 2007. The Department's IS/IT and telephony requirements were outsourced to EDS (now part of Hewlett Packard) and BT in 2005.

Leasehold improvements to Jobcentre Plus sites are classed as assets but cannot be disposed of independently so the impact on value is negligible, as the assets themselves (the buildings) are not owned by the Department.


7 Jan 2010 : Column 532W

Departmental Conferences

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) away days and (b) conferences that took place outside her Department's building attended by civil servants in her Department there have been since 2005; and what the cost was of each. [307513]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not collated centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent by her Department and its agencies on conferences they organised which were subsequently cancelled in each of the last three years; and what the title was of each such conference. [308837]

Jim Knight: The information requested is not available centrally and could be collected only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Consultants

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many external consultants work for her Department. [303243]

Jim Knight: Where DWP contracts for consultancy support it does so primarily by reference to the outcomes or services to be delivered and not by reference to a given number of consultants. Accordingly, the Department does not hold centralised information on the number of consultants being employed on such contracts at any point in time.

Departmental Electronic Equipment

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many plasma screen televisions her Department has purchased since 2001; and what the cost has been of purchasing and installing such screens in each such year. [306068]

Jim Knight: The number of plasma screen televisions purchased on behalf of the Department, including related costs, are as set out in the following table:

Number Cost (£)

2006-07

3

2,264

2007-08

9

4,725

2008-09

5

2,344

2009-10

9

2,770


Information prior to 2006-07 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Information and Communications Technology

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what pay band her Department's Chief Information Officer (CIO) is employed; whether the CIO is employed on a fixed-term or permanent contract; and what the size is of the budget for which the CIO is responsible in the period 2009-10. [307555]


7 Jan 2010 : Column 533W

Jim Knight: The Department's chief information officer is employed within the senior civil service pay band 3 on a permanent contract. He is responsible for a budget of £1,191 million in 2009-10.

Departmental Information Officers

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many full-time equivalent press officers (a) are employed by and (b) work for her Department. [303610]

Jim Knight: The number of press officers employed by the Department in its national press office and across the English regions, Scotland and Wales for the last accounting year 2008-09 is 38. In addition to their responsibilities to the Department for Work and Pensions, they provide services for Jobcentre Plus and The Pension, Disability and Carers Service.

Departmental Legislation

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criminal offences have been (a) abolished and (b) created by primary legislation sponsored by her Department since 1 May 2008. [303259]

Jim Knight: The information is as follows:

The Pensions Act 2008 created the following offences:

(i) a wilful failure by an employer to comply with the duties to automatically enrol or re-enrol their employees into pension saving, or allow them to opt into pension saving. These enrolment and opt in duties are set out in sections 3(2), 5(2) and 7(3) of the Pensions Act 2008 and the offence is at section 45 of the Act;

(ii) an existing offence of providing false or misleading information (Pensions Act 2004) was amended. It now includes information which must be provided to the Pensions Regulator by employers about action they have taken or intend to take for the purposes of their duties under the Pensions Act enrolment provisions.

The Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 created the following offences:

Sections 32D and 32K of the Child Support Act 1991 (as inserted by sections 22 and 23 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008) create the offences of failure to comply with the requirements of an order made under sections 32A (regular deduction order), 32E (interim lump sum deduction order) and 32F (final lump sum deduction order), these sections also contain a power to designate any regulations made under sections 32C and 32J as falling within the scope of the offence.

Section 36 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2008 created a regulation making power to impose a duty of failing to notify a change of address on a person liable to make payments of child support maintenance. The power when exercised would set the duty out in the Child Support Information Regulations 2008. The offence is inserted into section 14A of the Child Support Act 1991.


7 Jan 2010 : Column 534W

The Welfare Reform Act 2009 created the following offences:

Section 55 of the Welfare Reform Act 2009 substitutes the provision made by section 36 of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Act 2009 extending the duty and the scope of the offence to include failure to notify any other change of circumstances.

Section 51 of the Welfare Reform Act 2009 inserts section 39CA into the Child Support Act 1991, to require persons against whom an order disqualifying a person from holding a driving licence or travel authorisation is made to surrender the document within a required period (seven days beginning with the start of the period for which the order has effect) and where there is good reason for not surrendering within that period, as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of that period. A person who fails to comply with this requirement commits an offence.

Departmental Manpower

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff of her Department were in its redeployment pool on 1 (a) January, (b) April, (c) July and (d) October 2009. [306710]

Jim Knight: The Department does not have a redeployment pool. Any members of staff who become surplus unavoidably because of organisational or other changes are managed within normal lines of management.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much (a) her Department and (b) its agencies spent on (i) alcohol and (ii) entertainment in the last 12 months. [305528]

Jim Knight: The information is as follows:

Alcohol

Entertainment

£

Jobcentre Plus

6,970

Pensions, Disability and Carers Service

11,509

Corporate

63,883

Total

82,362


The 2008-09 published accounts show expenditure on hospitality as £116,652. This figure includes expenditure incurred by the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (£5,691) and the Health and Safety Executive (£28,599) which are non-Departmental Public Bodies.


7 Jan 2010 : Column 535W

Employment Schemes: Young People

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria will be used to determine which of those aged 18 to 24 years old will be covered by (a) the young person's guarantee and (b) the flexible New Deal; and if she will estimate the number in each such group in 2010-11. [306356]

Jim Knight: Beginning from January 2010, all jobseekers aged between 18 and 24 will have access to the Young Person's Guarantee. As the Chancellor announced in the pre-Budget report, any young person on Jobseeker's Allowance for six months or more will now be guaranteed an offer of a job, work-focussed training or work experience.

In Flexible New Deal Phase One areas, young people will be offered a place on the Young Person's Guarantee after six months of unemployment, and will be referred to the Flexible New Deal when they reach 12 months of unemployment.

In Flexible New Deal Phase Two areas, the New Deal for Young People will continue to run until the Flexible New Deal goes live in October 2010. In these areas, young people will also be offered a place on the Young Person's Guarantee from six months, the only difference being that if they choose to take up training or a work experience place these will be delivered through the New Deal options.

The information on the number of people who will be participating is not available, as we do not project unemployment figures.

Housing Benefit

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate has been made of the expenditure by local authorities on housing benefit administration in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07, (c) 2007-08 and (d) 2008-09. [309532]

Helen Goodman: The Department does not hold information on local authorities' expenditure on housing benefit administration.

Such information as is available for local authorities in England is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government; in Scotland it is a matter for the Scottish Parliament; and in Wales it is a matter for the National Assembly for Wales.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many and what proportion of jobseeker's allowance claims were not processed (a) within the Jobcentre Plus target time and (b) within the national average time in each (i) Jobcentre Plus district and (ii) region in each of the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement; [302242]

(2) how long on average it took to process a claim for jobseeker's allowance in each (a) region and (b) Jobcentre Plus district in each month since February 2009; how many unprocessed jobseeker's allowance claims there were in (i) total and (ii) each region in each month since February 2009; and if she will make a statement. [302243]


7 Jan 2010 : Column 536W

Jim Knight: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Darra Singh:

Local Housing Allowance

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Meriden of 15 June 2009, Official Report, column 48W, on local housing allowance, what the timetable is for removal of the £15 excess. [309381]


7 Jan 2010 : Column 537W

Helen Goodman: On 7 December 2009 the pre-Budget report announced that the Government had decided not to implement the withdrawal of the £15 excess in April 2010.

The Government are considering all aspects of the local housing allowance alongside its wider strategy for housing benefit reform in its consultation document "Supporting People in to Work: The Next Stage of Housing Benefit Reform". Our proposals will ensure that housing benefit is better able to help people into work, is fairer, more efficiently delivered and represents good value for money for the taxpayer.


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