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1 Feb 2006 : Column 595W—continued


Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the 10 largest amounts of damages paid out by his Department in the last year for which figures are available, indicating in each case the nature of the claim. [27733]

Mrs. McGuire: The Department deals with cases involving personal injury, commercial and employment matters. In relation to commercial and personal injury
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matters, no cases have been lost in the last year causing the Department to pay damages. (Personal injury cases in relation to Jobcentre Plus are outsourced and the information about them is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost). In relation to employment matters, four cases were lost at the employment tribunal in 2004 which caused damages to be paid. They all relate to Jobcentre Plus and the details are as follows:
April 2004Unfair dismissal60,000.00
August 2004Constructive dismissal37,850.86
November 2004Constructive dismissal21,372.19
June 2004Public Interest Disclosure Act9,000.00

Departmental Assets

David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the items valued at over £100 that have been reported as stolen from buildings occupied by his Department in the past 12 months. [43444]

Mr. Plaskitt: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Guidance (Evidency/Documentary Access)

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is with regard to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department giving evidence to the (i) Scottish Parliament, (ii) National Assembly for Wales and (iii) Northern Ireland Assembly committees; and to what categories of document he gives (A) full access, (B) restricted access and (C) no access to the (1) Scottish Parliament, (2) National Assembly for Wales, (3) Northern Ireland Assembly and (4) House of Commons Select Committees. [37412]

Mrs. McGuire: Requests for the attendance of Ministers or officials to give evidence to the devolved legislatures will be considered on a case by case basis. This consideration will reflect: the principles set out in the Cabinet Office guidance Departmental Evidence and Response to Select Committees (July 2005); the policy outlined in the Department for Constitutional Affairs' Devolution Guidance Note 12 Attendance of UK Ministers and Officials at Committees of the devolved legislatures; and the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. The principles underlying the provision of information to House of Commons Select Committees are set out in Departmental Evidence and response to Select Committees, particularly sections 4B and 4C.

Departmental Special Advisers

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the special advisers employed by his Department; and what their responsibilities are in each case. [41341]

Mrs. McGuire: The Special Advisers to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions are John Williams and John Woodcock. They work in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers.

Departmental Website

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost of maintaining his main
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departmental website was for the last year for which figures are available; and how many visitors there were to the site in each of the last 12 months. [46311]

Mr. Timms: The production, management and maintenance of the DWP website is carried out by the Department's in-house e-communications team. It is not possible to quantify internal costs for the site but contracted and quantifiable costs have been included.

The departmental site is hosted by our IT contractors. In most cases it is not possible to separate these costs from contracted costs.

The cost for maintaining for the last year for which figures are available (financial year 2004–05) was £101,467.

The number of unique visitors to the site for each of the last 12 months is given in the following table.
2005Unique visitors

Fraudulent Activities (Collaborative Projects)

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what collaborative projects his Department has undertaken with the Merseyside Police Authority to combat fraudulent activities; and if he will make a statement on the outcome of those projects. [44965]

Mr. Plaskitt: Investigators from the Department for Work and Pensions have worked with officers from the Merseyside Police Authority for a number of years in cases where they have had a common interest and where the Department has required police assistance.

An example of collaborative projects has included operation Bromsgrove, a multi-agency investigation into illegal workers some of whom were suspected of benefit fraud. The labour provider at the centre of the operation is currently facing prosecution. A number of people found to be illegally claiming benefits from the Department are currently being considered for benefit sanction.

Industrial Injuries Advisory Council

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what reports have been produced by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council since 1 January 1997; and if he will make a statement. [41461]

Margaret Hodge: The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council has produced 14 reports since 1 January 1997, not including its annual reports. These are listed:
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Command papers (presented to Parliament)

Position papers

Copies of the Command Papers and Position Papers are available in the House of Commons Library.

Lone Parents (Employment)

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) whether the definition of employment used in measuring progress towards the target to help 70 per cent. of lone parents into employment by 2010 includes (a) full-time and (b) part-time employment; and if he will make a statement; [43817]

(2) what progress has been made to date towards meeting the target of helping 70 per cent. of lone parents into employment by 2010. [43818]

Margaret Hodge: The Government have set themselves the ambitious target of increasing the employment rate of lone parents to 70 per cent. by 2010. The target is measured using the labour force survey and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition of employment which includes both full and part-time employment.

Helping lone parents return to the labour market is the most effective way of ensuring their social inclusion and is the best route out of poverty for them and their children. Additionally, the increase in sustainable employment that results from this movement into work increases the productive potential of the economy.

We have already made significant progress in achieving this target. There are now over 1 million lone parents in work, 318,000 more than in 1997; the lone parent employment rate has increased by 11 percentage points since 1997, currently standing at 56.6 per cent. and the number of lone parents claiming income support has fallen by around a quarter since 1997.

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