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18 Mar 2004 : Column 410Wcontinued
Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were receiving funding from the Carers Grant (a) in England and (b) broken down by local authority in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
The Carers Grant, which was introduced in 19992000, gives money to local councils to support them in providing short breaks for carers. Data are not available for the first year of the grant. Figures for 200001, 200102, and 200203 have been placed in the Library.
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Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases of computer misuse there were in his Department (a) in 1997 and (b) since 200203, broken down by each category of misuse; and how many of those cases resulted in disciplinary action. 
Mr. Browne: The Department treats very seriously any suspicion of misuse of computer systems by staff and takes firm action in any cases that arise. All such cases, if proven, result in disciplinary action being taken against the offender leading to either a disciplinary penalty or dismissal.
Tables provided as follows detail the number of cases formally investigated and proven by category for 200203 and 200304. All these cases have resulted in, or are in the process of having disciplinary action taken.
|Unauthorised access to computer systems||29|
|Use of unauthorised software||3|
|Manipulation of computer systems||2|
|Unauthorised access to computer systems||31|
|Use of unauthorised software||8|
|Manipulation of computer systems||0|
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress he has made on reducing his Department's sickness absence rate; what baseline figure was used to assess his Department's compliance with its Public Service Agreement target on reducing sickness rates; what the rate was in each of the last seven years; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: The Department for Work and Pensions has a Service Delivery Agreement for reducing sickness absence. This is nine days over the year to December 2004 and 8.5 days over the year to December 2005, as interim targets towards the key indicator of eight days to 2006. The Department is committed to increasing its level of attendance to meet this challenge.
To secure improvements the Department has launched a managing attendance strategy that combines a policy drawn from recognised best practice, with initiatives targeting specific areas. The initiatives include the following:
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|Department||Year||Average number of working days lost|
1. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) was created in June 2001. Due to the migration of businesses into and out of the newly forming Department, and differences in calculation methods, figures for the Department as a whole are only available from April 2002.
2. The information in Table 1 covers the years April 1999 to March 2002 relating to the former Department of Social Security (DSS), the main predecessor Department in place prior to the formation of DWP, and for DWP for April 2002 to March 2003.
3. Figures have been provided for DSS and DWP for each full operational year since 1999. Sickness absence information for the current year, April 2003 to March 2004, will be available in spring 2004.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list information technology contracts in his Department with a value of above £20 million in each of the last 10 years; what the inception date for each system was; when it became fully functional; when it became fully debugged; and what the cost of over-runs has been. 
Mr. Browne: This question covers periods prior to the establishment in June 2001 of the Department for Work and Pensions, formed from the Employment Service (ES) and the Department for Social Security (DSS).
On the question of de-bugging, the view is that no system is completely free of "bugs". However, the Department deals with these according to priority, working in partnership with private sector providers to eradicate on an on-going basis.
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|Contract||Description||Inception date||Date fully functional||Cost over-runs|
|IT Partnership Agreement||Employment Service outsourced its IT work through a partnership agreement with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) This agreement was revised to reflect major new investment in IT and telephony to improve services for jobless people and employers in the Modernising Employment Service (MES) Project. This project was further revised from August 2003, and re-named Digital Office Infrastructure CompletionDOI(C), bringing former ES staff a desktop PC consistent with the rest of the DWP estate.||August 1998(original outsourcing) October 2000(MES) August 2003(DOI (C)||August 1998 DOI-C estimated to be complete by May 2004||None|
|ACCORD Strategic Outsourcing Business Allocation||The DSS awarded a contract to outsource its IT provision. This contract also encompasses business outsourced previously in 1995 under FOCUS 95 arrangements and is concerned with the maintenance, development and operation of the Department's existing IT systems.||August 2000||September 2000||None|
|Child Support Reforms||The DSS awarded the contract to provide new IT systems in support of the Child Support Agency. The system became functional on 27 January 2003, for new child support claims processed under old scheme rules. Processing claims under new rules began on March 2003. Further work is still required before the system will be fully functional. Within the terms of the PFI based contract, the primary responsibility for the quality of the computer service lies with EDS.They have pledged to bear the costs of completing their obligations and bringing the service to an agreed level. The Department is currently retaining around 15 per cent. of each monthly payment due to the service provider.||August 2000||Functional from January 2003||The amount DWP will pay is currently forecast to rise by 7 per cent. over the term of the contract.|
|New Tax Credits NTC||This contract is for the delivery of new and amended DWP IT to enable joint working with the Inland Revenue and their Tax Credits system and to reflect the changes in benefit rules resulting from the introduction of NTC.||December 2000||April 2003||None|
|Pensions Forecasting||This contract is for the delivery of a new pensions forecasting system, providing individuals with clear and accurate information about their retirement pension and raising awareness of the importance of making adequate provision for retirement.||June 2002||September 2004||Unable to identify any cost over- run at this stage as the project is not yet complete.|
|Pensions Credit Front End||This contract is for the delivery of a tele-application to support the processingand administrationof claims to Pensions Credit.||April 2003||October 2003||None|
|Corporate Curam Licences||This contract relates to the use of a perpetual software licence and provision for support, initially for arrangements for the Customer Management System, but will be extended to other projects over time.||May 2003||N/Athis is a licensing contract.||None|
|Customer Management System Release 1||This contract represents a front-end information gathering system for working age customers. Support arrangements are to be provided under the Corporate Curam Licence contract.||December 2002||September 2003||None|
|Customer Management System Release 2||As above.||August 2003||This release is still under development.||Unable to identify any cost over-run at this stage as the project is not yet complete.|
|Digital Office Infrastructure (DOI) (formerly known as Early Office Infrastructure(EOI))||These are a series of contracts to replace the desktops and associated equipment for the Department's employees and eventually, the support arrangements for that kit||These are IT service contracts and not development. There have been a number of contract changes to build volumes and functionality.||Unable to identify any cost over-run at this stage as the project is not yet complete.|
|(i) Mobilisation contract to build the infrastructure for the support;||January 2001|
|(ii) Roll out contracts to manage the implementation of the kit and associated equipment;||July 2001|
|(iii) Distribution, Implementation and Disposal Services.||July 2001|
|FOCUS Lots B, C and D||These are outsourcing contracts let for the support and implementation of Office Services to SEMA Group UK Ltd (Lots B and C) and International Computers Ltd. (Lot D).||June 1995 Contracts transferred to Arcway in August 2000 under the ACCORD framework.||June 1995; these are IT service contracts.||None|
|Stand Alone Support Applications||This contract was let for the development, implementation, and support of the former DSS stand-alone support application systems.||August 1997||Development has been undertaken on a system-by- system basis, as and when required. Support arrangements are on-going for the duration of the contract.||None|
|Network and Office Service ProvisionWide Area Network||This contract has been let to replace the Wide Area Network across the former DSS estate. There have been a number of contract changes to meet additional requirements.||November 2000||Estimated to be June 2004.||Unable to identify any cost over-run at this stage as the project is not complete.|
|Advanced Telephony||This is a contract with BT plc for contact centre services, encompassing the provision, installation, support and maintenance of telephony and associated IT infrastructure.||March 2003||Some of the services are operational; others are in the implementation phase||None|
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A list of IT contracts current at the time of FOCUS 95 outsourcing has been placed in the Library. It is not possible to provide information prior to 1995, as this could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
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