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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if the expenditure of £2 million for the training of additional local authority fraud investigators will be made in full in the current financial year. 
Malcolm Wicks: Professionalism in Security (PiNS) was established in August 1998 to plan and implement Government proposals that would lead to the creation of a corps of highly skilled and motivated counter fraud staff in the Benefits Agency and Local Authorities. These fraud specialists would be working within a professional framework to the highest standards of performance and integrity.
PiNS training courses have been scheduled until the end of March 2002. We forecast that 900 local authority investigators will complete their training resulting in expenditure of around £2 million by the end of the current financial year.
Maria Eagle: From 8 April 2002 we are introducing new permitted work rules for people who want to try some paid work while they are getting incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance or income support because of illness or disability. The new arrangements will allow any person claiming benefit, based on incapacity, to try some paid work without the need for prior approval from a doctor.
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There are special arrangements for those disabled people who work in the community with ongoing support or supervision from a professional caseworker (employed or engaged by a public body or voluntary organisation). They will not be subject to time limits. This is intended to help those people whose disability means that their work capacity is limited to less than 16 hours a week, but is more than the few hours covered by the £20 per week option. These are people with conditions that cannot be cured but may be amenable to control or management by medication or therapy. This category will also include people who work in a sheltered workshop or as part of a hospital treatment programme.
Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what account is taken of the impact of (a) income support, (b) housing benefit and (c) council tax benefit thresholds when changes are made to the level of permitted earnings for those with mental health problems. 
Malcolm Wicks: The permitted work rules allow people to try some paid work while they are getting a benefit based on incapacity. The new arrangements from 8 April 2002 will allow any person claiming benefit, based on incapacity, to try some paid work without the need for prior approval from a doctor.
Income-related benefits are intended to help people whose resources are insufficient to meet their day-to-day living expenses. Any income which is available to meet those expenses is normally taken fully into account when working out how much benefit can be paid. Earnings in excess of the appropriate disregard are taken into account against benefit.
The earnings disregard for people with disabilities was increased from £15 to £20 in April 2001. This disregard recognises the additional difficulties and expenses that these people are likely to face in taking up employment.
We have already increased the earnings disregards for disabled people, introduced the disabled persons' tax credit to help make work pay and the disability income guarantee which provides a guaranteed level of income for the most severely disabled people. From next April we are changing the permitted work rules to help more people try out some work without fear of it affecting their
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benefit entitlement. Guidance has recently been issued to Benefits Agency staff to help raise awareness about how they can help customers with mental health problems.
We routinely consult with a wide range of interested organisations and individuals to help inform proposed policy changes. Piloting, with evaluation, is often used to refine services that will make a reality of our aim to promote opportunity and independence for all. The Department is statutorily required to put proposals for amendments to existing benefit regulations to the Social Security Advisory Committee for its consideration before they come before Parliament.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people with a mental health problem as the main reason for a claim to incapacity benefits were given a personal capability assessment last year; and of these, how many (a) were found capable of work and lost entitlement to incapacity benefits, (b) claimed other benefits instead, (c) were not entitled to benefits, (d) obtained employment and for how long, (e) did not obtain employment and (f) returned to a claim for incapacity benefit within a year. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: Between 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001, 279,950 people claiming incapacity benefit because of a mental health disorder were referred for a Personal Capability Assessment. Information for a corresponding period is not available on (a) the number of these people who were found capable of work and were no longer entitled to incapacity benefit; (b) the number who successfully claimed other benefits; (c) the number who subsequently reclaimed incapacity benefit within one year. Such information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) training and (b) guidance examining medical practitioners are given on assessing the effects of mental health problems on day-to-day living and mobility. 
Maria Eagle: All Medical Services doctors undertake mandatory Continuing Professional Education training in the assessment of people with mental health problems, and in relating these, as appropriate, to the functional areas of daily living, completion of tasks, interaction with other people, and ability to cope with work. The assessment includes assessing memory, attention span, and ability to concentrate.
Examining Medical Practitioners assessing day to day living needs in connection with claims for disability living allowance or attendance allowance, and mobility needs in connection with claims for the former, receive additional training in assessment of needs for guidance or supervision on account of mental health problems.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if examining medical practitioners receive (a) training and (b) guidance on the difficulty for mental health service users in communicating their needs to an EMP. 
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Mr. Nicholas Brown: All Medical Services doctors undergo mandatory Continuing Professional Education training in assessment of people with mental health problems, including training in establishing rapport, the use of appropriate interviewing skills and questioning techniques, and assessment of memory, attention and concentration. Doctors are advised to seek additional information from carers or relatives when appropriate.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what was the average (1) change of benefit income per person who last year failed to satisfy the personal capability assessment requirements to continue to receive incapacity benefit; 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: We are committed to helping sick and disabled people back into work where they are able to do so, while providing support for those who cannot work. Through our welfare reforms we have put into place measures to make work possible and to make it pay.
As part of these reforms the Personal Capability Assessment (PCA) was introduced in April 2000 to allow additional information to be gathered about a person's capabilities, to assist a personal adviser in helping them plan a return to work. The PCA is about helping people into work, not making it harder to get benefit.
Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for each of the new Jobcentre Plus pathfinder areas, how many new claims for incapacity benefit have been made since the introduction of the scheme, and of these, how many (a) waivers and (b) deferrals for work-focused interviews have been made; how many work-focused interviews have taken place; and how many claimants have (i) refused to attend an interview and (ii) been subjected to benefit sanctions. 
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