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Employment and Support Allowance

Volume 507: debated on Monday 8 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of claimants of employment and support allowance had attended their first interview with a Jobcentre Plus personal adviser before attending their first appointment with a medical professional working for ATOS in the latest period for which information is available. (319978)

[holding answer 2 March 2010]: The information requested is not publicly available and could be made so only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what her latest assessment is of the administrative efficiency of the referral process for incapacity benefit or employment and support allowance claimants to Pathways to Work providers; whether it is the practice of Jobcentre Plus that its staff may not send client referral information electronically to providers; and what discussions she has had on introduction of IT arrangements to assist Jobcentre Plus with the administration of referrals to Pathways to Work providers. (319979)

[holding answer 2 March 2010]: When provider led Pathways to Work was first introduced the Department did not have a system in place which allowed the secure electronic transfer of customer data to external organisations.

The Department ensures that safeguards are built into the process to protect personal customer details by restricting the number of individual customer details. In some areas, Jobcentre Plus conducts the initial interview on provider premises. Where this happens the referral is immediately handed to the provider.

The Department is now in the process of rolling out a more efficient and secure IT based solution to refer customers from Jobcentre Plus to external providers for all commercial employment programmes. The Provider Referrals and Payments (PRaP) System began operating in October 2009 in support of the flexible new deal programme. At the point of contract award or renewal it is intended that all commercial employment programmes will adopt the PRaP IT solution both for referring individual customers and to make the associated payments to providers.