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Written Answers

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Arts: Festivals

Question

Asked by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance they provide to book festivals.[HL4230]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): Arts Council England (ACE) distributes Government funding for the arts and makes its decisions independently of Government. ACE support a number of literature festivals. It will award over £5million between 2010-2015. Examples include: Manchester Literature festival; Ilkley Literature festival; Ledbury Poetry festival; and Birmingham Literature festival. ACE also fund organisations and individuals that appear in festival programmes or support their learning and young people’s programmes. DCMS makes a small amount of funding available to the Poet Laureate some of whose activities support festivals nurturing young poets.

Benefits

Questions

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Freud on 16 December 2013 (HL Deb, col 1022), whether the review of the operation of the sanctions system for jobseeker’s allowance and employment and support allowance claims will look at (1) the effects of the sanctions on the health and wellbeing of those affected, and (2) the behavioural responses to the sanctions. [HL4347]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The Independent review of Sanctions being led by Matthew Oakley will not look at the effect of benefit sanctions on the health and wellbeing of those affected, or on the behavioural response to benefit sanctions.

The review is focused on the operation of benefit sanctions validated by the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013. These are benefit sanctions for Jobseekers Allowance claimants who have failed to participate in a mandatory back to work scheme such as the Work Programme.

The review will particularly focus on the clarity of information given to benefit claimants throughout the sanctions process and their ability to navigate that system. The terms of reference for the review can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/benefit-sanctions-terms-of-reference-for-independent-review

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Lord Freud on 25 January 2012 (HL Deb, col 1061) that decision-making processes relating to civil penalties and the recovery of

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overpayments would continue to be consistent with the Wednesbury principles of public law, what steps have been taken to train and monitor the decision-making of Jobcentre Plus officials.[HL4388]

Lord Freud: Decision makers are already familiar with applying the principles of public law. Specific training for all departmental staff, including those in Jobcentre Plus, involved in civil penalties was introduced in September 2012. Consideration around what may constitute negligence and what may count as a reasonable excuse is subject to guidance and was explored in preparing that material through training with decision makers. This training was incorporated into a wider training requirement when the Department brought in the Overpayment, Decision, Calculation and Appeal (ODCA) process and is designed to ensure that the civil penalty is considered at the same time as an overpayment decision and is a fundamental part of the process.

When a claimant error overpayment occurs, a decision maker will consider the full circumstances of the case, including any further information supplied by the claimant (gathered by telephone, letter or visit) against the civil penalty guidance on what constitutes negligence, reasonable steps or reasonable excuse. Each case is considered individually by the decision maker and the reasons that have led to the error or lack of action.

Following the introduction of the civil penalty in October 2012 the application of the penalty was closely monitored to ensure the penalty was operating as intended. A review of the process and guidance was undertaken, with evidence gathered from live cases and stakeholder feedback helping to inform a refreshed version of the guidance, published in October 2013. Supporting products were also updated where necessary including improving customer notifications. During the first year of operation around a half of all claimant error cases considered for a civil penalty resulted in a civil penalty being applied. This shows that taking into account an individual's reasonable excuse and personal circumstances are key to the decision making process.

The guidance for decision makers is publicly available.

Coram Foundation and Foundling Museum

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Tankerness on 17 December 2013 (WA 177), whether they have specified guidelines in respect of the final disposal of matters relating to the governance of the Foundling Museum; and when they expect the matter to be resolved by the Coram Foundation, the Foundling Museum and the Charity Commission.[HL4317]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): The issues that have arisen between the Coram Foundation and the Foundling Museum are issues in respect of the interpretation of charity law and regulation by the Charity Commission. It is

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not a matter for Government. Any engagement by the Attorney General in respect of the matter is conducted by him independently of Government and in his public interest role as protector of charity.

The Coram Foundation and the Foundling Museum are in on-going discussions with each other about necessary changes to the governance arrangements which may now be required as a result of the Charity Commission's recommendations. The Commission is monitoring those discussions. However, it is not possible to say when those discussions will have concluded.

The Attorney General expects that both charities and the Commission will seek his confirmation that he does not object to any proposed final disposal of the matter so that they may be reassured he will not seek to commence any proceedings in his own name.

Energy: Prices

Question

Asked by Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to ensure that those who get their electricity through key meters do not have to pay more than those who pay by direct debit.[HL4340]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): Since 2010 prepayment meter customers have been offered the same prices by large supply companies as customers who pay quarterly bills on standard credit.

The cost of operating a prepayment meter is higher compared to a standard credit meter as it includes a requirement for suppliers to provide an emergency call out and replacement key/card services. We estimate that the cost difference between prepayment and direct debit customers is around £67 a year for gas, and £43 a year for electricity on average. This is less than 10% of the average total bill. Under the terms of their licence, suppliers are required to ensure that the cost of the different payment methods reflects the cost to the supplier, so they cannot spread the costs of servicing prepayment meters across their customer base.

Government Departments: Management Information Reports

Questions

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 17 December relating to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (WA 179-80), whether any performance data are collated on a daily or weekly basis for Ministers or the Permanent Secretary; and, if so, what.[HL4255]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The reporting of performance data to Ministers and the Permanent Secretary is based on risk analysis, is a core management function and is aligned with the governance structure with the Executive Board formally monitoring

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performance monthly. Performance data is reported to Ministers and the Permanent Secretary on Ministerial correspondence and Parliamentary Questions daily, Freedom of Information requests weekly, and public appointments fortnightly. For major projects, key performance data is reported at least a monthly, depending on assessments of priority and risk.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 17 December relating to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (WA 179–80), what key performance indicators are used to review progress against the overall performance targets and objectives of the Department.[HL4256]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The Department reviews progress against its priorities and commitments using performance indicators and reviews performance against its Business Plan objectives.

The Department has 12 performance indicators, split into input and impact indicators, which are used to review the Department’s performance. These performance indicators are published on the DCMS website and regularly updated: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/performance-indicators

Input indicators show what is being ‘bought’ with public money, i.e. the resources being invested into delivering the results that we and our partners are aiming to achieve.

Input Indicators

• Number of premises covered per £ millions of broadband delivery programme expenditure.• Ratio of charitable giving (donations and sponsorship) to Grant-in-Aid for cultural institutions funded by DCMS. (Pence per £1 of Grant-in-Aid). • Public Funding per Eligible Student at Schools Competing in School Games (£ per student)• Progress towards delivery on time and to budget of Olympic and Paralympic Games (ratio of actual spend as percentage of anticipated final cost to percentage of actual progress of Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) programme).

Impact indicators give information on the outcomes of our work. They reflect the quality and effectiveness of the programmes and priorities set out in our business plan and the impact they have on society. They provide a broad picture of performance, with a particular focus on whether fairness is being improved.

Impact Indicators

• Number of people directly employed in tourism in the UK

• Number of overseas visitors to the UK • Total Amount of Creative Employment in the UK• Ofcom's Best in Europe Scorecard• Total amount of charitable giving (donations and sponsorship) to cultural institutions funded by DCMS (£ millions)• Total visits to DCMS sponsored museums and galleries

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• Proportion of children participating in competitive sport (per cent of 5-15 year old children doing some form of competitive sport in the last 12 months)• Percentage of employees within medium and large organisations (over 150 employees) recognised as supporting “Think, Act, Report” on gender equality

The department reviews performance against its Business Plan commitments and reports progress on the Number 10 website: http://transparency.number10. gov.uk/business-plan/17

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 17 December 2013 relating to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (WA 180-1), whether any performance data are collated on a daily or weekly basis for Ministers or the Permanent Secretary; and, if so, what.[HL4295]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): Performance data isn’t currently provided on a daily or weekly basis, but statistical data is collated regularly and can be provided when necessary. Details of DECC's official statistics can be found on the Department's website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-energy-climate-change/about/statistics.

Ministers and the Permanent Secretary regularly meet with individual project teams to discuss performance, and the Department has a range of other mechanisms for managing performance and reporting progress.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 17 December 2013 relating to the Government Equalities Office (WA 181), whether any performance data are collated on a daily or weekly basis for Ministers or the Permanent Secretary; and, if so, what.[HL4369]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The reporting of performance data to Ministers and the Permanent Secretary on both corporate and policy issues is aligned with the Department’s governance structures and on the basis of an analysis of risk. For example, performance data is reported for Ministerial correspondence and Parliamentary Questions daily, for Freedom of Information requests. For major projects, key performance data is reported depending on an assessment of priority and risk.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 17 December 2013 relating to the Government Equalities Office (WA 181), what key performance indicators are used to review progress against the overall performance targets and objectives of the Department.[HL4370]

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Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which includes the GEO, has 12 performance indicators, split into input and impact indicators, which are used to review the Department’s performance. These performance indicators are published on the DCMS website and regularly updated: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/performance-indicators

Input indicators show what is being ‘bought’ with public money, i.e. the resources being invested into delivering the results that we and our partners are aiming to achieve.

Input Indicators

• Number of premises covered per £ millions of broadband delivery programme expenditure.• Ratio of charitable giving (donations and sponsorship) to Grant-in-Aid for cultural institutions funded by DCMS. (Pence per £1 of Grant-in-Aid). • Public Funding per Eligible Student at Schools Competing in School Games (£ per student)• Progress towards delivery on time and to budget of Olympic and Paralympic Games (ratio of actual spend as percentage of anticipated final cost to percentage of actual progress of Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) programme).

Impact indicators give information on the outcomes of our work. They reflect the quality and effectiveness of the programmes and priorities set out in our business plan and the impact they have on society. They provide a broad picture of performance, with a particular focus on whether fairness is being improved.

Impact Indicators

• Number of people directly employed in tourism in the UK

• Number of overseas visitors to the UK • Total Amount of Creative Employment in the UK• Ofcom's Best in Europe Scorecard• Total amount of charitable giving (donations and sponsorship) to cultural institutions funded by DCMS (£ millions)• Total visits to DCMS sponsored museums and galleries• Proportion of children participating in competitive sport (per cent of 5-15 year old children doing some form of competitive sport in the last 12 months)• Percentage of employees within medium and large organisations (over 150 employees) recognised as supporting “Think, Act, Report” on gender equality

The department also reviews performance against its Business Plan commitments and reports progress on the Number 10 website: http://transparency.number10. gov.uk/business-plan/17

Houses of Parliament: Correspondence

Question

Asked by Lord Norton of Louth

To ask the Chairman of Committees how many items of correspondence were received in the Palace of Westminster in 2013; and, of those, what proportion was received in the House of Lords.[HL4345]

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The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): In total, 2,490,256 items of mail were received in the Palace of Westminster in 2013. Approximately 25 per cent (622,564) of these items were destined for the House of Lords. These figures do not include parcels, courier items or internal mail.

Housing Benefit

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to help those aged under 25 who have lost housing benefits.[HL4396]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The proposal to end entitlement to housing support through the benefit system to people aged under 25 has been the subject of considerable political discussion over recent months.

While this issue is being widely reported in the media it is not current Government policy, but is part of wider debate about possible further reform of the welfare system following next year’s General Election.

Schools: Asbestos

Questions

Asked by Lord Wigley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will clarify who has the overall responsibility for asbestos policy for schools in Wales.[HL4359]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whose responsibility it is to respond to the final report of the Committee on carcinogenicity insofar as schools in Wales are concerned.[HL4360]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are any plans to conduct a review of asbestos policy in Wales; and whose responsibility it would be to undertake such a review.[HL4361]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): The Health and Safety Executive has responsibility for regulations and guidance as it applies to the management and control of asbestos in all workplaces in Great Britain, including schools. However, within this framework, the development of policies for the management and control of asbestos in schools is a matter for the Welsh Government.

The report by the Committee on Carcinogenicity was commissioned by the Department of Education. The report was a statement on the vulnerability of children to asbestos and made no recommendations; however, in England, the Department for Education is undertaking a review of its policy on asbestos management in schools. It is for the Welsh Government to decide whether they wish to review any policies as a result of the report.

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Unemployment: Public Sector

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to help public sector employees who have lost their jobs in recent budget cuts.[HL4394]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Jobcentre Plus offers all unemployed people, including those previously employed in the public sector, tailored help to get into work quickly. Support can include help with finding a job, skills training, guidance on apprenticeships, pre-employment training, and help to set up a business. Help can also be provided prior to a person becoming unemployed if they are being made redundant.

Through the Work Programme those at risk of long-term unemployment are given personalised support to find and stay in work. Jobcentre Plus provides further intensive support to people returning from the Work Programme without a job.

Universal Credit

Questions

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their current working assumptions about the number and proportion of universal credit claimants who are likely to require personal budgeting support. [HL4352]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): All new Universal Credit claimants will be offered personal budgeting support if they require it. The majority of claimants are expected to be able to continue to manage their finances effectively as they do now. Of those that do require assistance, we know that a small proportion will require in-depth budgeting support and we have arrangements in place to ensure that they can receive this. This work will be informed by experience in the live service sites as well as the Direct Payment Demonstration Projects.

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the case of joint claimants of universal credit, both members of a couple will need to demonstrate any of the listed factors in order to qualify for personal budgeting support; and whether a decision as to whether budgeting support is needed will be based on a joint interview.[HL4408]

Lord Freud: The government wishes to place responsibility for budgeting with the household, and believes it is for households to decide how best to manage their money whether in or out of work. In cases of joint claims to Universal Credit, the decision regarding the appropriateness of offering Personal Budgeting Support would be discussed with each party. The decision would be based upon their circumstances and the capability of the household to manage its monthly expenditure.

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Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to announce an agreement with the providers of budgeting or “jam jar” accounts in relation to universal credit claimants.[HL4409]

Lord Freud: We are looking at a wide range of support options and considering the best outcomes for Universal Credit claimants which provide value for the taxpayer. We are continuing to have discussions with providers of financial products and other stakeholders and we will make an announcement once those discussions have concluded.

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in cases where a split payment of universal credit has been made because of domestic violence on what grounds a decision on whether or not to continue that split payment will be made.[HL4411]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether split payments of universal credit might be made in cases other than financial abuse or domestic violence. [HL4412]

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Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether a decision to make a split payment of universal credit will be made on the basis of an interview with both partners together, or separately.[HL4413]

Lord Freud: A split payment will be subject to a periodic review as part of the alternative payment arrangements. A decision to continue with split payment arrangements will be discretionary based on the circumstances at the review.

The provision of a split payment is being considered as part of the alternative payment arrangements to alleviate financial issue arising from domestic violence and/or financial abuse. We are not actively considering their wider use.

The detailed design for split payment arrangements is still in development and will build on arrangements in place for similar situations which arise today with joint claims for jobseekers allowance (JSA). It is envisaged that discussion will be needed with both parties before a decision can be made, and both parties will need to be advised of the decision.