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Health Services: Staffordshire

Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many non-clinical NHS staff in Staffordshire were paid over (a) £50,000, (b) £66,000, (c) £100,000 and (d) £150,000 in the last four years for which figures are available. [176923]

Dr Poulter: Information on the number of non-clinical national health service staff working in organisations in the Staffordshire area with total earnings over the specified amounts for 2009-10 to 2012-13 is shown in the following table:

 July to June each year
Total earnings in period2009-102010-112011-122012-13

Over £50,000

460

511

543

504

Of which:

    

over £66,000

157

185

194

166

over £100,000

23

29

33

40

over £150,000

4

5

6

9

Notes: 1. Non-clinical staff have been defined as all non-primary care staff except hospital and community health service doctors, qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff, qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff and qualified ambulance service staff. 2. Organisations included in this response which are classified as being in the Staffordshire area are: Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust, Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (FT), Mid Staffordshire NHS FT, University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS FT, North Staffordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), South Staffordshire PCT, and Stoke on Trent PCT. 3. Total earnings per person is the amount paid to an individual in the specified 12-month period, regardless of the contracted full-time equivalent. It includes all payments made to the individual, not just basic pay. 4. The most recently published earnings information available is for June 2013, so annual average estimates have been provided as at June for the years 2010 to 2013. 5. Figures in the table are provisional and experimental NHS staff earnings estimates, therefore figures shown are those individuals that have met the publication validations. 6. These figures represent staff paid using the electronic staff record system to NHS staff who are employed and directly paid by NHS organisations. 7. Figures are based on staff with contracted hours more than zero. Bank and locum staff who typically have no contracted hours are not included in these figures. Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre NHS Staff Earnings Estimates

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Heart Diseases and Cancer

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many officials and advisers in his Department are currently working on research, policy and spending relating to (a) cancers, (b) coronary heart disease and (c) chronic health conditions. [176932]

Jane Ellison: There are no disease specific teams in the Department working on research, policy and spending relating to cancers, coronary heart disease and chronic health conditions.

As of 1 April 2013, NHS England has responsibility for cancer, coronary heart disease and chronic health conditions.

Teams within the Department are working on policy areas including premature mortality and health inequalities, which relate to these conditions.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what meetings with interested parties he has held to discuss (a) cancers and (b) coronary heart disease in the last 12 months. [176933]

Jane Ellison: In the last 12 months there have been no meetings with interested parties about coronary heart disease. The following meetings have taken place with interested parties he has held to discuss cancers.

DateMinisterMeeting

27 November 2012

Former Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Public Health, Anna Soubry

Cancer Stakeholder roundtable meeting with the following attendees: Antony Nolan, Cancer Research UK, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Teenage Cancer Trust, Beating Bowel Cancer Bowel Cancer UK, Breast Cancer UK, MacMillan Cancer Support, Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, Target Ovarian Cancer, Ovarian Cancer Action, Eve Appeal, Ovacome, Pancreatic Cancer UK, Rarer Cancer, Foundation, CLIC Sargent Prostate Cancer Charity, Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, Skcin, Breast Cancer Care, Breast Cancer Campaign, Pancreatic Cancer Action, Samantha Dixon Brain Tumour Trust

   

7 February 2013

Anna Soubry and The Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt

Cancer Research UK

   

26 February 2013

Anna Soubry

The Member for Wythenshawe and Sale East (Paul Goggins) to discuss blood cancer

   

7 March 2013

Anna Soubry

Target Ovarian Cancer

   

11 April 2013

Anna Soubry

Beating Bowel Cancer

   

27 Nov 2013 : Column 351W

12 September 2013

Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Earl Howe

Cancer Research UK

   

12 November 2013

Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Public Health, Jane Ellison

Macmillan Cancer Support: Cancer Voices

In addition to meetings, Ministers have attended a large number of parliamentary events at which these matters were discussed.

In terms of meetings with the World Health Organisation, while there have been several discussions on non-communicable diseases in general, there have been none that were specifically about cancers or coronary heart disease.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what meetings he and officials in his Department have had with the World Health Organisation to discuss (a) cancers and (b) coronary heart disease. [176935]

Jane Ellison: Although there have been several discussions with the World Health Organization on non-communicable diseases in general, there have been none that were specifically about cancers or coronary heart disease.

Heart Pacemakers

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the potential of new artificial pacemakers made from titanium to give a better quality of life to patients. [176962]

Jane Ellison: No assessment has been made of artificial pacemakers made from titanium.

Malaria

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with medical organisations about side effects of the anti-malaria drug mefloquine. [176960]

Norman Lamb: Mefloquine (brand name Lariam) is one of several drugs licensed for the prevention (chemoprophylaxis) or treatment of malaria. As with any medicine, mefloquine may cause side effects in some people and the potential risks should be balanced against the expected benefits of therapy. Information on possible side effects is available to the medical profession via the Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC), and to patients via the Patient Information Leaflet.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has recently strengthened the warnings in the mefloquine SmPC, particularly regarding the well-established risk of neuropsychiatric side effects. The licence holder also issued a letter to health-care professionals at the end of October 2013 to increase awareness of these possible risks, alongside a prescriber checklist and patient alert card to aid compliance with the warnings. In November 2013, the MHRA issued a further communication to health-care professionals on

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the risks of mefloquine via its Drug Safety Update bulletin, which is available at:

www.mhra.gov.uk/Safetyinformation/DrugSafetyUpdate/CON336723

Official national guidance on the appropriate use of anti-malarial medicines also summarises possible risks, and such guidance should be considered when prescribing mefloquine. This includes guidance from the Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention (ACMP), which includes experts from the medical profession. The ACMP approach to chemoprophylaxis is firmly based on risk assessment taking into account the risk of exposure to the potentially fatal malaria parasite, a person's medical history, and the known side-effects of the various anti-malarial drugs. These factors must all be taken into consideration by those prescribing anti-malarials.

As with all medicines, the MHRA will keep the safety of mefloquine under continual review.

Mental Health Services

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the written statement of 10 September 2013, Official Report, column 45WS, on NHS winter planning, how much of the additional £500 million will be allocated to mental health services. [177485]

Norman Lamb: Decisions on where to concentrate the £500 million of additional money provided to the national health service for the upcoming winter were made by NHS England, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority working together.

These 53 areas have already received their allocations. It was for local partners to agree the best use of this money to support the delivery of the accident and emergency standard for their patients, and in many cases this includes initiatives to support and enhance mental health services.

In addition, NHS England has now announced a further £150 million to ensure the NHS is able to maintain the current high level of patient care during winter.

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many non-clinical NHS staff in the Mid or Essex Hospital Trust area were paid over (a) £50,000, (b) £66,000, (c) £100,000 and (d) £150,000 in each of the last four years for which figures are available. [177466]

Dr Poulter: Information on the number of non-clinical national health service staff in the Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust area with total earnings over the specified amounts for 2009-10 to 2012-13 is shown in the following table.

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust non-clinical staff paid £50,000 and over, 2010-13
 As at 31 March each year
Basic salary2010201120122013

£50,000-£65,999

16

16

15

18

£66,000-£99,999

13

14

12

11

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£100,000-£149,999

4

5

5

6

£150,000 and over

1

1

1

1

Source: NHS Trust Development Authority/Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

Modafinil

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with medical organisations about the side-effects and after-effects of the use of Modafinil. [176961]

Norman Lamb: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) continuously monitors the safety of all medicines on the market in the United Kingdom. In 2010 during a UK-led Europe-wide review of the benefits and risks of modafinil-containing medicines, expert advice was sought from the Commission on Human Medicines together with additional medical experts in the use of modafinil. As a result of this review, the authorised use of modafinil was restricted to the treatment of excessive sleepiness in adults with narcolepsy, with or without cataplexy.

This restriction to the use of modafinil was communicated to health care professionals and medical organisations by the MHRA through an article in the agency's Drug Safety Update bulletin. In this communication, the authorised use of modafinil was emphasised and information was also provided to support safe use, including criteria for stopping treatment and

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for patient monitoring in order to minimise certain serious adverse reactions, including skin, hypersensitivity, cardiovascular and psychiatric adverse effects. A further reminder of the key safety messages was issued in Drug Safety Update in 2011.

Obesity: Children

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the health body Safefood on steps to reduce obesity in children. [176936]

Jane Ellison: The Secretary of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), has not had any discussions with Safefood.

An official from the Department’s Obesity and Food Policy Branch gave a presentation about Front of Pack labelling at a conference organised by Safefood in 2012.

Out-patients: Attendance

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of hospital appointments have been missed in (a) Gillingham and Rainham constituency, (b) Kent, (c) South East of England and (d) the UK in each of the last five years. [177074]

Jane Ellison: Missed hospital appointments are only collected centrally for out-patient attendances and are known as did not attends (DNAs). DNA rates for all specialties for both national health service and independent sector providers in the Gillingham and Rainham constituency (Medway NHS Foundation Trust), Kent, South East of England and England for each of the last five years is included in the following tables. Information relating to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are matters for the devolved Administrations.

Did not attend rates for consultant-led first and follow-up outpatient appointments
Percentage
 DNA
 2008-092009-102010-11
NameFirst attendancesSubsequent attendancesFirst attendancesSubsequent attendancesFirst attendancesSubsequent attendances

Medway NHS Foundation Trust

8.1

11.6

8.3

11.3

8.5

9.7

Kent

7.6

10.9

7.7

10.6

8.0

9.6

South East Coast Strategic Health Authority (SHA)

7.1

9.8

7.1

9.6

7.4

8.7

England

8.8

11.5

8.8

11.1

8.7

10.5

Percentage
 DNA
 2011-122012-13
NameFirst attendancesSubsequent attendancesFirst attendancesSubsequent attendances

Medway NHS Foundation Trust

7.7

8.9

7.8

9.5

Kent

7.4

8.4

7.3

8.4

South East Coast Strategic Health Authority (SHA)

6.9

7.7

6.8

7.7

England

8.4

9.8

8.5

9.7

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27 Nov 2013 : Column 356W

Notes: 1. Medway NHS Foundation Trust is the main NHS provider for the Gillingham and Rainham constituency. 2. The Kent figure is a weighted average of did not attends in all Kent providers. These providers are not the same across all five years and include NHS and independent sector providers. 3. South East Coast Strategic Health Authority total has been provided for the South East of England. Source: NHS England Quarterly Activity Return

Sepsis

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) cases of and (b) deaths from sepsis there were in each region and constituent part of the UK in each of the last five years. [176937]

Dr Poulter: The information requested is shown in the following tables:

Total count of provider spells1 with a mention of sepsis2 in any episode in the last five years of patients admitted to hospital in England by region of residence
CodeRegion2008-092009-102010-112010-122012-133
 

Total

69,731

71,662

79,792

87,257

98,775

A

North East

4,504

4,406

4,861

5,288

5,766

B

North West

9,868

10,842

12,154

12,953

14,123

D

Yorkshire and Humber

7,487

7,491

8,631

8,941

9,689

E

East Midlands

6,970

6,458

6,614

7,487

9,411

F

West Midlands

6,143

6,002

6,823

7,298

9,574

G

East of England

7,195

8,045

8,648

9,516

10,899

H

London

9,955

10,881

11,886

12,481

12,953

J

South East

10,451

10,297

12,003

14,189

15,588

K

South West

6,344

6,567

7,275

8,113

9,660

S

Scotland

60

38

41

36

52

U

No fixed abode

122

60

48

73

79

W

Wales

163

169

219

241

335

X

Foreign including Channel Isles and Isle of Man

191

174

218

275

259

Y

Not known

274

214

358

349

369

Z

N. Ireland

4

18

13

17

18

1 The term ‘spell’ applies to one or more episode of care under a particular consultant. 2 Admissions with a diagnostic mention of the following: A39.2 (Acute meningococcaemia), A39.3 (Chronic meningococcaemia), A39.4 (Meningococcaemia, unspecified), A40 (Streptococcal sepsis), A41 (Other sepsis). 3 Figures for 2012-13 are provisional. Source. Hospital Episode Statistics

The increase in reported provider spells of admissions related to sepsis could be as a result of the information campaign on the ‘sepsis six' care bundle which may have contributed to improved recognition of sepsis by clinical staff.

On 1 April 2012 the NHS moved to using ICD-10 4th Edition in which all references to “Septicaemia” have been replaced with “Sepsis”. The NHS White Paper committed the NHS to this change. This may have raised awareness of sepsis and contributed to improved recording of the condition by consultants.

Number of deaths where septicaemia was the underlying cause of death where the death was registered in England and Wales, 2008 to 20121, 2, 3, 4
Region20082009201020112012

North East

166

172

151

154

138

North West

268

300

307

294

281

Yorkshire and Humber

218

198

171

194

180

East Midlands

198

210

202

180

141

West Midlands

246

241

237

242

290

East of England

204

193

214

177

209

London

212

196

177

187

153

South East

285

314

263

296

257

South West

228

249

264

221

191

Wales

178

198

189

198

185

England and Wales

2,203

2,271

2,175

2,143

2,025

1 Deaths were coded using International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10), codes A39.2 (acute meningococcaemia), A39.3 (chronic meningococcaemia), A39.4 meningococcaemia, unspecified), A40 (streptococcal septicaemia), A41 (other septicaemia). 2 Excludes deaths of non-residents. 3 Deaths registered in each calendar year. 4 Boundaries as of August 2013. Source: Office for National Statistics

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Skin Cancer

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the NHS and the British Medical Association on new drugs to deal with skin cancer; and when such drugs will be available for prescription on the NHS. [176939]

Norman Lamb: Ministers have had no recent discussions with the national health service and British Medical Association about new drugs to deal with skin cancer.

Tobacco: Packaging

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products as a matter of urgency. [176964]

Jane Ellison: The Government are actively considering this policy.

Leader of the House

Ministers’ Private Offices

Mr Jenkin: To ask the Leader of the House whether he (a) has appointed or (b) intends to appoint an enlarged ministerial office. [177521]

Mr Lansley: The information requested is as follows:

(a) no; and

(b) no.

Education

Academies: Oxfordshire

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether his Department has set a target for the number of academies to be established in Oxfordshire. [177262]

Mr Timpson: The Department does not set targets for academy conversion. The Department discusses the possibility of conversion to academy status with any school that approaches the Department. Where schools underperform, the Department will discuss with individual schools whether a sponsored solution would be appropriate. There are currently 51 open academies in Oxfordshire (41 converter; 10 sponsored) and 20 in the pipeline (17 converter; three sponsored).

Children’s Centres

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the effect of a reduction in the number of Sure Start centres on long-term learning achievements of young people. [177439]

Elizabeth Truss: The Government know that evidence- based early intervention is key to securing the best outcomes for some of the most vulnerable children and families within our communities. The National Evaluation of Sure Start concluded that children's centres need to focus more directly on support shown to have a direct positive impact on children's learning—for example, on

27 Nov 2013 : Column 358W

language development—but confirmed that they are well placed to support the most vulnerable families. The Department for Education published revised statutory guidance for children's centres in April 2013 to ensure they were focused on the families most in need of services.

The Department commissioned a new Evaluation of Children's Centres in England (ECCE), to be undertaken by the National Centre for Social Research and the University of Oxford and Frontier Economics. The study, which began in 2010, evaluates the range of children's centres, looks at services being provided, costs, usage, impact, and how outcomes vary by user and type of centre. The first report from this evaluation was published in July 2012 and showed that a high proportion of children's centres now use outcome data to monitor their own impact.

The Department will continue to consider the findings of the ECCE research.

Flexible Working

Mr Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many officials in his Department make use of compressed hours arrangements as part of the Civil Service's flexible working hours scheme (a) above and (b) below director level. [177393]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department for Education's flexible working policy provides the provision for staff to compress their hours. Existing central reporting tools are, however, unable to identify the number of staff above and below director level who make use of compressed hours arrangements.

Headteachers

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what data his Department holds on rates of turnover of headteachers in each region between 2003 and 2010. [177464]

Mr Laws: The information requested is not available.

Kings Science Academy

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether the funding agreement with the Kings Science Academy in Bradford prohibits the sponsor or the chair of governors from making a financial gain from either the establishment or continuing operation of the school. [177239]

Mr Timpson: The Funding Agreement requires the Trust to abide by the requirements of the Academies Financial Handbook (AFH). Paragraph 2.5.2 of the AFH requires trusts to:

“ensure that no trustee, governor, employee or related party gains from their position by receiving payment under terms that are preferential to those that would be offered to an individual with no connection to the trust”.

Paragraphs 6.2 to 6.9 of the Articles of Association of KIFSA, the Kings Science Academy Trust, set out the conditions covering financial arrangements between the Trust and its members and governors. These include

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receiving rent for premises. The Funding Agreement and Articles of Association are available on the Department's website at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/cgi-bin/schools/performance/school.pl?urn=137277

Pupils

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what data his Department holds on relative levels of pupil turnover in each region. [177462]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department for Education holds information on where each pupil attends school at the time of each School Census. Linking information from different censuses makes some analysis of pupil movement possible.

Analysis is readily available on the number and percentage of pupils who have been in the same school throughout years 5 and 6 for key stage 2 or years 10 and 11 for key stage 4 (referred to as “non-mobile pupils” in the Performance Tables). School and local authority level information can be found in the 2012 Performance Tables download data1.

To produce further analysis of pupil movement would incur disproportionate costs.

1http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/performance/download_ data.html

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his policy is on children as young as two attending school. [177475]

Elizabeth Truss: The Government believe that high- quality early education and childcare has a positive impact on a child's later success at school. The evidence shows that starting younger, in teacher-led provision, can have a real and lasting impact on children's development, particularly for those from the most disadvantaged families.

The Department for Education wants to see highly qualified staff supporting young children to learn through age-appropriate activities, including play and discovery, story-telling and music, all delivered with love and care. That is why the Department is giving professionals, including those in school nurseries, the freedom and flexibility to use a range of methods to decide how best to structure children's activities throughout the day. It is also why the Department is making it easier for schools to offer early education delivered through a school-run nursery, or by a school working in partnership with a private, voluntary or independent provider.

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Education with reference to the Ofsted report, Pupils missing out on education, published on 19 November 2013, what assessment his Department has made of the reasons why 10,000 school-aged children in England may be missing out on full-time education. [177482]

Elizabeth Truss: All children of compulsory school age are entitled to full-time education. In the exceptional cases where this is not appropriate because of a child's health needs, provision should be as close to full-time as the pupil's needs allow. The Department for Education issued revised statutory guidance in January 2013 that

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clarified schools' and local authorities' duties in relation to alternative provision. There is no excuse for them not to be met.

Since September 2012, school inspection has placed a greater emphasis on the use of alternative provision. Accountability arrangements have been strengthened further with the introduction of Ofsted's revised framework for inspection of local authority children's services. This includes a specific focus on children who are not in receipt of full-time education.

Schools: Finance

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent progress he has made towards delivering a fairer national funding formula for schools which takes better account of how many pupils are disadvantaged. [177468]

Mr Laws: On 26 June, the Government committed to consult on how best to introduce a national fair funding formula for schools in 2015.

We are now developing proposals for the consultation. A national fair funding formula will mean that pupils with comparable characteristics such as their level of disadvantage attract a comparable level of funding regardless of where they go to school.

Schools: Inspections

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the annual cost to Ofsted is of inspecting local authority school improvement services. [176448]

Mr Laws: This question is a matter for Ofsted. I have asked Her Majesty's chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, to write to the hon. Gentleman. A copy of his reply has been placed in the House Library.

Schools: Standards

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many (a) converter academies and (b) maintained schools received an improved higher Ofsted judgement than in their previous such inspection in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and (iii) 2012-13. [176797]

Mr Timpson: There are now 2,428 open mainstream converter academies, the majority of which are yet to have a full Ofsted inspection since conversion. This is because most converter academies are already highly rated by Ofsted and so are inspected less frequently than other schools.

The number of mainstream converter academies that were rated in a higher Ofsted category than their previous inspection was (i) one school in 2010-11, (ii) 79 schools 2011-12 and (iii) 147 schools in 2012-13.

The number of local authority maintained mainstream schools that were rated in a higher Ofsted category than their previous inspection was (i) 1,703 schools in 2010-11, (ii) 1,448 schools 2011-12 and (iii) 2,386 in 2012-13.

These figures exclude schools previously rated as ‘Outstanding’ since these schools could not receive a higher Ofsted judgment.

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Secondary Education

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what data his Department holds on differences in average annual schooling hours between different types of secondary school. [177463]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department for Education does not collect data on average schooling hours in England.

The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), has encouraged all schools to consider making changes to the length, content and structure of the school day in the interest of pupils and local circumstances, rather than simply following the norm. All schools in England have the freedom to set the duration and content of their school day as they see fit.

Work and Pensions

Child Maintenance

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress he has made on plans to reduce the costs of the child maintenance system. [177137][Official Report, 9 January 2014, Vol. 573, c. 5MC.]

Steve Webb: A significant amount of work has been undertaken since 2010-11 to reduce the costs of operating the child maintenance systems:

cost per £1 of child maintenance collected and arranged has fallen from 39 pence in 2010-11 to around 35 pence in 2011-12.

The statutory cost of each child benefiting has fallen from £488 in 2010-11 to £425 in 2011-12.

The net cost of administering child support on a comparable basis has fallen from £527 million in 2010-11 to £485 million in 2011-12.

These figures are available in the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission Annual Report and Accounts 2011-12, which can be found via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/221408/cmec-report-and-accounts-11-12.pdf

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of additional costs incurred since 2012 as a result of the time taken to implement a new system of child maintenance. [177138]

Steve Webb: The Child Maintenance Service was opened to all new applicants on 25 November 2013 following a pathfinder that began in December 2012. This controlled implementation approach is expected to support our long-term cost reduction plans by providing assurance that the system is operating effectively.

To date, no additional costs to the Department have been incurred since the start of the pathfinder.

Employment and Support Allowance

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what powers of supersession are held by his Department's decision-makers in relation to applications for employment and support allowance; and in what circumstances and for what purposes such powers are used. [177470]

27 Nov 2013 : Column 362W

Esther McVey: Section 10 of the Social Security Act 1998 provides that a decision awarding employment support allowance may be superseded by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), either on his own initiative or following an application made by the claimant. It further provides that the decision can only be made where prescribed circumstances apply. These are set out in The Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseekers Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Decisions and Appeals) Regulations 2013. They are:

where there is a change of circumstances;

the decision was wrong in law, or was made in ignorance of, or was;

based on a mistake as to some material fact;

where the Secretary of State has received medical evidence from a;

healthcare professional or other person approved by him;

where the Secretary of State makes a determination that the claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work or limited capability for work-related activity.

Farms: Electrical Safety

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department has taken to promote electricity safety networks on farms; and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of those measures. [176946]

Mike Penning: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) produces guidance, ‘Working safely near overhead power lines’ (AIS8), for those working in agriculture. This contains information on avoiding contact with the network of overhead electricity power lines that cross farmland.

Additionally guidance on avoiding the dangers of underground electricity cables on farms and ensuring the safety of the electrical system and portable electrical equipment is contained in HSE's publication ‘Farmwise’.

HSE works closely with industry-led groups in delivering health and safety messages. The Farm Safety Partnership is currently working on guidance to avoid the dangers of contact with overhead power lines targeted at organisations delivering animal feed to farms.

Safety messages on the risks of working near over head power lines are also delivered to farmers as part of agriculture Safety and Health Awareness Days. The effectiveness of these events is routinely evaluated.

HSE also periodically assesses the effectiveness of its guidance. In 2012, ‘Working safely near overhead power lines’ (AIS8) was revised to include references to the longer reach and larger size of modern agricultural machinery and the recommended minimum distance from overhead power lines within which certain higher- risk agricultural operations are carried out was increased.

Jobcentre Plus

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints were made about Jobcentre Plus services in (a) 2008, (b) 2009, (c) 2010, (d) 2011 and (e) 2012. [177447]

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Esther McVey: The number of complaints has increased since the introduction of the new DWP complaints process, which was completed in December 2012. However, this was expected as the correct recording of complaints has been encouraged with the use of new/consistent processes across all businesses.

Complaints data are available for the following years (April—March) and include all Jobcentre Plus services including Work Services Directorate, Contact Centre Services and Benefit Centre Directorate. Escalated complaints data for Jobcentre Plus are available only from April 2011:

 Volume of complaints (excluding escalated complaints)Volume of escalated complaintsTotal volume of complaints received

2007-08

42,670

n/a

42,670

2008-09

41,182

n/a

41,182

2009-10

55,632

n/a

55,632

2010-11

58,865

n/a

58,865

2011-12

59,677

3,432

63,109

2012-13

67,982

1,685

69,667

“n/a” = Not available

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of partnership working between Jobcentre Plus and (a) local authorities, (b) NHS bodies and (c) civil society organisations. [177448]

Esther McVey: There have not been any formal assessments conducted recently of the effectiveness of partnership working with local authorities, NHS bodies or civil society organisations. In essence these relationships are routinely under review as they are all critical to the successful delivery of the welfare reforms and DWP programmes and initiatives. Consequently regular dialogue and strategic discussions are taking place with each of those groups on an ongoing basis at a senior level.

Local authorities are key delivery partners for our welfare reforms. Partnership working is essential and DWP is looking to local authorities, as key partners, to help us to provide targeted local support. The Universal Credit Local Support Services Framework was produced collaboratively with local authorities and provides a comprehensive view of the type of services that may be required at a local level.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will publish job outcome data for Jobcentre Plus, like those published for the Work Programme, alongside the benefit off-flow data currently published. [177501]

Esther McVey: Some information on the reasons given for claimants leaving jobseeker's allowance (JSA) is published on the ONS NOMIS website:

www.nomisweb.co.uk.

This includes those who have reported finding employment. DWP has plans to improve the coverage of our measurement claimant off-flows with the introduction of universal credit. These plans have been published as part of a user consultation exercise conducted in January 2013 and published at:

27 Nov 2013 : Column 364W

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/people-and-households-claiming-universal-credit-personal-independence-payment-and-other-benefits

New Enterprise Allowance: Essex

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many (a) referrals, (b) clients engaged, (c) approved business plans and (d) business starts there have been under the National Enterprise Allowance scheme in (i) Chelmsford constituency and (ii) Essex since the inception of that scheme. [177469]

Esther McVey: The Department routinely publishes Official Statistics on the new enterprise allowance. These statistics show mentoring starts and allowance starts. NEA participants receive the weekly allowance after their business plan has been approved and their business begins trading. The Department does not publish information on referrals.

Get Britain Working August 2013 official statistics

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/230333/RESTRICTED_GBW_Official_Statistics_Release_Aug_2013_final.pdf

Geographical breakdowns of Get Britain Working official statistics

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/230306/gbw-geo-breakdown-_aug-13.xls

Between April 2011 and May 2013 in Essex, 1,110 people have begun working with a business mentor as part of new enterprise allowance, and 500 people have gone on to receive the weekly allowance.

Over this period, there have been 100 business mentor starts and 50 weekly allowance starts in Chelmsford parliamentary constituency.

Post Office Card Account

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Gloucester constituency, (b) Gloucestershire and (c) England receive benefit payments into Post Office card accounts; and what assessment he has made of the suitability of those accounts for universal credit payments. [177494]

Esther McVey: The information we have on the number of payments made by Post Office card account in Gloucester parliamentary constituency, Gloucestershire and England are shown in the following table.

Accounts paid into a Post Office card account (POCA)-January 2013
 All POCA accounts

England

2,676,370

Gloucestershire

24,980

Gloucester parliamentary constituency

5,670

Note: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Figures refer to payment accounts. Claimants with more than one account will be counted for each account. Figures relate only to accounts live and in payment on the specified date. 3. Child benefit is administered by HM Revenue and Customs and war pensions are administered by MOD. These benefits have therefore been excluded. 4. The data for “Pensioner” accounts are for those receiving either state pension or pension credit. Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security Directorate, 100% data

27 Nov 2013 : Column 365W

The majority of universal credit claimants will continue to be paid into a mainstream bank or building society account. A bank account will enable claimants to manage their money and make regular payments for rent and other bills by direct debit.

It will be possible for universal credit to be paid into a Post Office card account, but the Post Office card account was designed to be a basic service for the payment of legacy benefits and pensions only. It does not offer any transactional services like direct debits, so may not be suitable for claimants managing monthly payments of universal credit.

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what consideration he has given to extending his Department's contract with Post Office Limited for the Post Office card account beyond March 2015. [177495]

Esther McVey: DWP's contract with Post Office Ltd to provide Post Office card account (POca) expires in March 2015. DWP, Post Office Ltd and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have begun detailed discussions concerning the future needs of customers beyond March 2015 to ensure that they are not put at risk in terms of having access to their pensions or other welfare benefits. There is an option in the contract to extend for up to two years.

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects to make a decision on the future of the Post Office card account. [177496]

Esther McVey: The Post Office card account (POca) expires in March 2015. DWP, Post Office Ltd and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) have begun detailed discussions concerning the future needs of customers beyond March 2015 to ensure that they are not put at risk in terms of having access to their pensions or other welfare benefits.

A decision on the future of the POca will be made when these collaborative discussions concludes.

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many Post Office card account holders there are in (a) Gloucester, (b) Gloucestershire and (c) England; and how many such account holders are of pensionable age. [177497]

Esther McVey: The information we have on the number of payments made by Post Office card account in Gloucester parliamentary constituency, Gloucestershire and England are shown in the following table.

Accounts paid into a Post Office card account (POCA)-January 2013
 All POCA accountsPensioner POCA accounts

England

2,676,370

1,578,120

Gloucestershire

24,980

16,930

Gloucester parliamentary constituency

5,670

3,280

27 Nov 2013 : Column 366W

Note: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Figures refer to payment accounts. Claimants with more than one account will be counted for each account. Figures relate only to accounts live and in payment on the specified date. 3. Child benefit is administered by HM Revenue and Customs and war pensions are administered by MOD. These benefits have therefore been excluded. 4. The data for “Pensioner” accounts are for those receiving either state pension or pension credit. Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security Directorate, 100% data

Social Security Benefits

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many jobseeker's allowance claimants with dependent children have been subject to a benefits sanction in each month since January 2011; [177180]

(2) how many employment and support allowance claimants with dependent children have been subject to a benefits sanction in each month since January 2011. [177181]

Esther McVey: The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Universal Credit

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether (a) he, (b) his ministerial colleagues, (c) a Parliamentary Private Secretary to any Minister in his Department, (d) any of his Department's special advisers and (e) officials in his Department discussed universal credit with any member of the Committee of Public Accounts between the time that Committee took evidence on universal credit and the time that the Committee's Report was published on 7 November 2013. [177325]

Esther McVey: I can confirm that none of this Department's Ministers, special advisers or the Permanent Secretary have discussed universal credit with any member of the Public Accounts Committee and, to the best of my knowledge, nor have any of its officials.

Winter Fuel Payments

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of sending letters about eligibility for winter fuel payments was in the last two years; how many such letters were sent in both years; and if he will make a statement. [177020]

Steve Webb: The information requested is not available.

There is no central record of the costs for sending out correspondence concerning eligibility for winter fuel payments. Eligibility and payment are generally automatic based on customers receiving an entitling benefit.

Work Programme

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much private sector providers have been paid to run the Work Programme to date. [177127]

27 Nov 2013 : Column 367W

Esther McVey: The total paid to Work programme providers in the UK is £736 million from the start of the programme through to 31 March 2013, the period covered by the 27 June 2013 statistical release. Due to commercial in confidence considerations we are not able to release financial data below the national level at this time.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements he has made to pay back claimants' benefits which have been wrongly sanctioned under the Work Programme; and what the value is of such payments. [177136]

Esther McVey: We have in place a robust system of safeguards that seek to ensure sanctions are applied only to those who wilfully fail to meet their requirements. Advisers tailor requirements to ensure they are reasonable given the claimant's capability and circumstance and claimants are clearly informed of the consequences of failing to comply.

Where claimants do fail to comply, they have the opportunity to explain why they have failed. All evidence is considered by an independent decision maker. Where the claimant had “good reason”, no sanction can be applied. Where a sanction is applied, claimants can ask for the decision to be reconsidered, and can appeal to an independent tribunal.

When a sanction is overturned upon appeal, the Benefit Centre will arrange for any arrears of benefit to be immediately paid into the claimant's account.

Women and Equalities

Abortion

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will hold discussions with the Secretary

27 Nov 2013 : Column 368W

of State for Health on steps to take to end gender-based selective abortions. [177175]

Mrs Grant: Equalities Ministers regularly meet colleagues from the Department of Health to discuss a range of matters.

The chief medical officer wrote to all medical practitioners, and others involved in abortion care on 22 November 2013, reminding them of their duties under the Abortion Act 1967. On gender selection abortion the letter highlights that termination of pregnancy on the grounds of gender alone is illegal.

Further, more detailed guidance will now be developed by the Department of Health in partnership with the General Medical Council, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the CPS.

Visits Abroad

Chris Leslie: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many overseas trips, and at what total cost, her Department made in each year since 2010; and what costs of (a) flights, (b) internal travel, (c) hotel accommodation and (d) subsistence were of each trip. [176259]

Mrs Grant: The Department does not hold information for the Government Equalities Office (which transferred to DCMS in April 2013) in a way that enables it to state the cost of overseas travel for the GEO over this period. The GEO’s transfer between Departments means that the data are not all held in one system and are only accessible through a number of different legacy systems. Further detail could be provided only at disproportionate cost.