Memorandum from the Department for Work
1. The Department for Work and Pensions
is providing this written memorandum, in response to the Committee's
request for evidence on preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable
Development to be held in Johannesburg in August.
2. Supporting documents referred to in the
text will be supplied separately by electronic mail.
What input has your department had to the UK preparations
for the World Summit on Sustainable Development?
3. DWP input into MISC 18 is co-ordinated
in the Joint International Unit of DWP and DfES, which has an
overview of departmental policies and related international affairs.
4. At a ministerial level, MISC 18 is the
key route by which DWP is contributing to the UK preparations
for WSSD. Preparatory meetings are attended by officials as necessary.
5. Involvement in additional preparations
for the Summit came about principally as part of ongoing work
with UN bodies and agencies that have an interest in WSSD.
6. MISC 18 has commissioned a paper on "Education
and Capacity Building", which will be completed jointly by
DWP and DfID later in the Spring.
7. DWP is actively contributing to overall
government communication strategy, for which DEFRA has the lead
8. Information on the World Summit on Sustainable
Development has been included on the Sustainable Development site
on the DWP intranet which in turn links to the Government official
site for the summit. It is intended to increase the amount of
publicity for the summit. The principle method of communication
to staff will be through the dedicated departmental sustainable
development publication and the Intranet site.
Please set out which UK sustainable development
indicators your department has lead responsibility for and which
other indicators the department's policies impact upon?
9. The Department for Work and Pensions
makes a significant contribution to make towards improvements
in the social and economic dimensions of sustainable development,
in line with Agenda 21 and the 2nd UK Strategy for Sustainable
Development. DWP has responsibility for two headline indicators
for sustainable development:
H4: Indicators of success in tackling poverty
and social exclusion.
10. There are a number of further indicators
that are directly affected by the policies of DWP. These are:
C5: Proportion of people of working age in
C6: Proportion of people of working age out
of work for more than two years.
C7: Proportion of lone parents, long term
ill and disabled people who are economically active.
11. In addition DWP also recognises that
many of its policies have an impact on other indicators for which
it does not have lead responsibility. Some examples, drawn from
the list of headline indicators, are:
H5: Qualifications at age 19.
H6: Expected years of healthy life.
H7: Homes judged unfit to live in.
H9: Emissions of greenhouse gases.
This list is not exhaustive and is offered as
evidence that DWP acknowledges that the impacts of its policies
can affect other sustainability issues and works proactively with
other departments .
What systems does your department have in place
to monitor progress on how far the department's policies are contributing
to the UK progress on sustainable development and the issues that
were mapped out in Agenda 21 after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992?
12. DWP has taken action to ensure that
sustainable development, in line with the current UK Strategy,
Agenda 21 and the requirements of Green Ministers, is built into
the work of the Department, and to monitor and report on progress.
Whilst work is advanced in delivering improvement in operational
performance, DWP has laid the groundwork for, and is currently
developing, new systems that will enable all three elements of
sustainable development to be built into all the decision making
processes, including policy development.
13. A dedicated Sustainable Development
Team (SDT) is in place.
SDT have responsibility for integrating
sustainable development across DWP and its agencies.
They work closely with all relevant
stakeholders to deliver the progress demanded by the DWP Sustainable
Development Improvement Programme (copy attached) which covers
the main areas of sustainable development within DWP.
It contains targets that cover:
environmental improvements in
All targets are "owned"
by accountable officials.
It is reviewed on an annual basis
and progress is reported not only through the annual Green Ministers
report but also now in the annual DWP Sustainable Development
Report (copy attached).
The SDT are also involved in co-ordinating
the DWP contribution to the Governments Annual Sustainable Development
Report, detailing progress against the main indicators of the
UK Strategy for Sustainable Development, highlighted above.
14. DWP believes that it makes a significant
contribution to the environmental aims of sustainable development
by improving performance in the delivery of its business. There
have been some noticeable successes in improving our environmental
impacts reported in our own annual report and the overarching
Greening Government Report. As an example currently 26.9 per cent
of our energy consumption now comes from a renewable source, contributing
to the aim of reducing CO2 emissions.
15. A Sustainable Development Steering Group
has been formed from representatives from all the business areas
of the department. They are responsible for ensuring that sustainable
development is incorporated into all major decision making processes,
including policy development, and for raising awareness of sustainable
development. This group has received specific DWP focused, sustainable
development training from the Civil Service College. The SDT team
are currently identifying further training requirements with their
Steering Group colleagues. They are also developing systems to
fully integrate all aspects of sustainable development into the
decision making process and whether the Integrated Policy Appraisal
toolkit could be best used to assist this and the reporting aspect
of sustainability issues.
16. The steering group is supported by a
Sustainable Development Network Group, that takes responsibility
for the targets on the Improvement Programme and provides an effective
means of ensuring that progress moves forward consistentlyin
decision making and operational areasacross the whole department.
17. DWP is currently undergoing an intense
period of change, due to the wide-ranging reform of the welfare
state (which will make a significant contribution to sustainable
development). As part of the development of all the change initiatives
that this will require, all project managers must consider the
sustainable development, and particularly the environmental impacts,
of their projects. Completion of a checklist helps to identify
negative impacts (which can then be mitigated) or positive impacts
(which can be enhanced). Guidance is available for project managers
on what issues should be considered. DWP is currently engaged
in a programme to migrate a significant proportion of our customers
to receiving payments via ACT. We have identified that this will
not only offer improvements in terms of social exclusion, but
also reduce the amount of paper that is generated by traditional
methods of payment.
18. DWP believes that its whole modernisation
programme will lead to efficiency savings and make a significant
contribution towards achieving the targets set in the Improvement