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Rail Journeys (Staff)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make it his policy that rail journeys undertaken by staff in his Department should ordinarily be on standard class tickets. [40449]

Mr. McCartney: DWP staff are advised to use the most efficient and economic means of travel having regard to the management benefit and the needs of disabled people. The guidance issued has regard to these principles outlined in section 8 of the Civil Service Management Code.

Within DWP the use of public transport is encouraged as part of our environmental programme and rail travel is ordinarily standard class. However, senior executive officer grades and above who are a minority of the total number of staff undertaking business journeys in DWP are entitled to travel first or executive class as one of their 'Terms and Conditions' of Employment. This is approved on the basis that the additional space and less crowding

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enables these people to work while they are travelling as well as affording greater privacy for the handling of sensitive papers. For long distance peak-time services the additional cost involved is more than offset by the work produced and time saved. All staff are expected to travel standard class when the length of the journey is insufficient to enable them to work productively.

Entertainment Costs

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent by departmental special advisers on food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks for official entertainment purposes in each of the last five years. [46850]

Mr. McCartney [holding answer 9 April 2002]: Nothing. Special advisers are not permitted to authorise such expenditure.

New Deal

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance he issues on the proportion of money allocated to training under the new deal to be spent on (a) administration and (b) training delivery. [53744]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: No guidance is issued on the proportion of money allocated to new deal training which may be spent on administration and delivery.

Contracting staff in Jobcentre Plus follow guidance on how to evaluate and approve bids from organisations interested in delivering new deal provision. The guidance contains criteria against which the quality of how a provider intends to deliver their services are measured. This guidance, the Approved Provider Procurement and Contracting Guidance, is commercial in confidence. However, organisations wishing to contract with Jobcentre Plus are provided with supporting information at both stage 1 and stage 2 of the contracting process. This includes a high level overview of both the evidence required to support the application to gain 'approved' status and the evaluation criteria used within the competitive bidding round.

The providers who win the contracts are monitored during the life of the contract to ensure that they deliver to the standards they proposed in their bids and to support continuous improvement in the quality of their delivery.

In addition, new deal provider guidance supplements the delivery, quality and administrative requirements which are set out in provider contracts by detailing the records providers need to retain to support audit trail requirements.

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Battersea constituency found permanent employment as a result of New Deal for (a) long-term unemployed 25 plus, (b) lone parents, (c) disabled people and (d) 50 plus in each of the years since they were introduced. [55802]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The available information is in the table.

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Total number of people entering sustained employment(32) in Battersea, up to the end of January 2002

New Deal 25 plus(33)New Deal for Lone Parents(34)New Deal 50 plus(34)

(32) Sustained employment is defined as employment lasting more than 13 weeks.

(33) In April 2001 New Deal 25 plus was extended and enhanced, to provide a flexible, more individually-tailored service to help more people get jobs and remain in them.

(34) Figures for sustained employment are not available for the New Deal for Lone Parents and the New Deal 50 plus. The figures given are therefore the total number of jobs gained.

(35) Figures not available as the New Deal 50 plus was only introduced nationally from April 2000.


Information on the New Deal for Disabled People is not available at constituency level.


New Deal Evaluation Database

Martin Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Battersea constituency have benefited from the New Deal. [55801]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Our New Deal programmes have helped nearly 1,000 people into work in Battersea. Detailed information is in the table which follows. As well as those who have been helped to jobs, many more have benefited from the programmes in other ways. The New Deals give people the skills, experience and confidence to improve their prospects of getting a job in the future.

ProgrammeTotal number of participants up to the end of January 2002Total number of people entering jobs up to the end of January 2002
New Deal for Young People(36)1,274467
New Deal 25 plus(36)1,243284
New Deal for Lone Parents508188
New Deal 50 plus3434

(36) A number of these participants will have remained on the programmes beyond January, and of these many will enter jobs as a result of their participation.


Information on the New Deal for Disabled People and the New Deal for Partners is not available at constituency level.


New Deal Evaluation Database

Benefit Administration Costs

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the (a) total cost and (b) cost per claimant of administering (i) retirement pension, (ii) winter fuel payments, (iii) free television licences for the over 75s, (iv) minimum income guarantee, (v) child benefit, (vi) family credit and (vii) housing benefit. [50989]

Mr. McCartney: Information is not held in the format requested. The Department accounts for its administrative, and programme, expenditure in accordance with its key objectives, which are published in the Department's Public Service Agreement (PSA), and the individual Requests for Resources (RfRs), which are published in the Department's Main Estimate.

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Advisory Commission Mandate

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the mandate of the Audit Board of the Administrative Commission on social security for migrant workers is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [55236]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Audit Board works under the authority of the Administrative Commission on Social Security for Migrant Workers, which has issued Decisions defining its composition and working methods as specified in Article 101 of Regulation (EEC) 574–72. The functions of the Audit Board are set out in Article 102 of that Regulation. Its duties in practice relate exclusively to health care costs. Specifically, it is tasked to collect the data and perform the calculations required by Title V of Regulation 574–72, to give the Administrative Commission details of the implementation of Regulations (EEC) 1408–71 and 574–72 particularly as they relate to health care finance, to submit to the Administrative Commission proposals on the calculation of annual average healthcare costs in respect of each member state, to lay before the Administrative Commission each year a statement of the healthcare costs claims position between the member states, and to carry out such other work as may be referred by the Administrative Commission.

The Audit Board normally meets twice a year in Brussels. It is chaired by the presidency of the day, and UK representation is normally two or three officials from the Department of Health. Costs to UK public funds are limited to expenses of approximately £550 per person for a one-day visit and £700 for a two-day visit, less any reimbursement provided by the European Commission.

The next meeting of the Audit Board will last one day and will consider the annual average cost papers submitted by seven member states together with work on the annual statement of claims. Any proposals made by the Audit Board to the Administrative Commission would, if subsequently adopted by the European Commission, then be subject to UK parliamentary scrutiny.

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