|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance the Health and Safety Executive has published on clearing pavements, roads and paths of ice and snow; what assessment has it made of the public legal liability implications of members of the public clearing public paths and pavements; and what discussions it has had with the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health on the issue. 
Jonathan Shaw: Guidance on slips, trips and falls in the context of health and safety at work legislation is available on the HSE website. This includes guidance on dealing with the effects of severe weather.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 is a criminal law statute that is aimed at protecting workers and others who may be affected by work activities. It is enforced by HSE, local authorities, the Office of Rail Regulation, and other bodies such as the Crown Prosecution Service who can prosecute for breaches of that legislation.
Civil actions under, for example, the law of negligence are a matter for individuals and their legal advisers and do not concern HSE. It would be inappropriate for
HSE to make an assessment of the public legal liability implications of members of the public clearing public paths and pavements.
"....there is nothing in health and safety legislation to prevent a person taking sensible steps to clear a pathway to improve the situation, or volunteer to do shopping for a neighbour in need. Nor should anybody who volunteers to support their community feel they are in danger of being sued and be put off wanting to help others".
HSE was contacted by IOSH following publication of misleading media reports about the advice IOSH gives to businesses on clearing snow. HSE provided a link from its website to the clarification published on IOSH's site on 11 January.
Mrs. Dean: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate she has made of the average annual cost of implementing the Social Security (Students and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2008; and whether her Department received additional funding from the Exchequer to implement that Regulation; 
Helen Goodman: There was no significant financial impact from these changes over and above the cost of the annual uprating of disregards for books and equipment and travel costs applicable to student income.
Mr. Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps her Department is taking to assist people with autism to obtain support available to them through the benefits system. 
Jonathan Shaw: Jobcentre Plus Advisers support autistic people who are seeking employment, and in their applications for benefits. Where the customer has more complex support needs they can be referred to a disability employment adviser who will have received further levels of skills training appropriate to their customers, including skills practice in interviewing an autistic person. Disability employment advisers can also advise on suitable employment opportunities, approach employers on behalf of customers and arrange for further help to be provided by a work psychologist.
Jobcentre Plus have a number of specialist programmes such as Work Preparation, Residential Training and WORKSTEP (a programme of supported employment) that can help autistic people move into paid work.
The Work Choice programme will be introduced in October 2010 to replace WORKSTEP and Work Preparation. The new programme will be more flexible to respond to the individual needs of disabled people
and their employers. It will be aimed specifically at customers who, by reason of significant disability, cannot be helped by Jobcentre Plus mainstream programmes.
Autistic people going into paid work may be able to get support from Access to Work, which can provide practical advice and support to disabled people and their employers to help them overcome work-related obstacles resulting from disability. It does this through a system of grants towards the cost of providing support, such as a job coach, to settle an autistic customer into work. Access to Work can also support autistic customers by paying for the customer's colleagues to receive awareness training on autism.
Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the 10 largest benefit debts owed to her Department by individuals were at the latest date for which figures are available; and to which principal benefit the debts related in each such case. 
Helen Goodman [holding answer 14 January 2010]: From October 2009 we have set up a special task force to address debtors who owe the Department over £10,000. This will include debtors who have more than one debt.
We try to stop overpayments occurring in the first place. The Department's error reduction strategy will help to achieve this. It is based on preventing new error from entering the system; ensuring that customers and staff comply with benefit rules and identifying and correcting existing errors.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long on average her Department took to investigate alleged instances of benefit overpayment following the death of the claimant in the last 12 months. 
[holding answer 18 January 2010]: Our investigations start when the Department receives details of the grant of probate. Those probate records are then matched against departmental records of deceased income related benefit recipients. In the majority of such cases no discrepancy with the records is identified. In those
cases where further inquiries are required, the average time taken to complete those inquiries is 15 weeks. This is from receipt of the probate, including obtaining information from the executor, and ending with a formal claim on the estate.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions her Department has had with the Law Society on the number of personal estates that are prevented from winding up because of an ongoing investigation into alleged benefit overpayments by her Department. 
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much her Department spent on investigating alleged benefit overpayments to claimants in the last 12 months in cases where the claimant had since deceased. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 18 January 2010]: The information is not available in the format requested, but is available for the last financial year. £3.0 million was spent during the year 2008-09 on investigating potential benefit overpayments in cases where the claimant was deceased, resulting in recoveries of £28.7 million.
Shared Services Debt Manager via Business Objects.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases of alleged benefit overpayments her Department investigated on cases where the claimants had since died in each of the last five years. 
Jim Knight [holding answer 18 January 2010]: Information on the number of investigations of potential benefit overpayments where the customer has since died is based on the volume of probate records that matched with deceased benefit recipients' records. This information is held only for the last two years.
|Number of cases where probate match received||Number of those cases where a claim was made against the estate|
| Source: Shared Services Debt Manager via Business Objects.|
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much money her Department recovered from the estates of recently deceased benefit claimants who had received overpayment of benefit in the last 12 months. 
Shared Services Debt Manager via Business Objects.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many state pension payments were delayed in each month of 2009; what the monetary value of such payments was in each such month; and for what reasons a state pension payment may be delayed. 
Delays in making a payment of benefit may be occasioned by all manner of factors including, but not limited to, customers failing to provide necessary evidence, volumes of work, inadvertent error or oversight and, delays in the banking or postal system. The PDCS do their utmost to ensure that any delays caused by factors within their control are kept to a minimum.
|State pension clearance times|
|Target 2008-09 and 2009-10, to clear 95 per cent. of new claims for state pension within 60 days|
Pension Service Legacy System.
Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners resident in Birmingham are in receipt of winter fuel allowance; and how much her Department paid to such pensioners in winter fuel allowance in 2009. 
1. Payment figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Expenditure figures are rounded to the nearest £0.1 million.
Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the number of claimants of winter fuel payment in (a) Dunfermline and West Fife constituency and (b) Scotland who have had their claim wrongly refused because of administrative error. 
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many medical assessments were carried out in respect of claims for (a) incapacity benefit and (b) employment and support allowance in (i) the UK, (ii) England and (iii) Milton Keynes in each of the last five years; and what proportion of those assessed were deemed eligible for those benefits on (A) initial assessment and (B) appeal. 
Jonathan Shaw: Information on the number of medical assessments completed is not available for Milton Keynes. Additionally, the DWP is not responsible for the administration of incapacity benefit and employment and support allowance in Northern Ireland. Information is available for Great Britain and England. This is provided in the following tables.
|Total number of incapacity benefit scrutiny and completed examinations|
DWP medical services contract management information
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|