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Social Fund

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 18th January 2011.

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Photo of Damian Hinds Damian Hinds Conservative, East Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the running costs, excluding grants and debts written off, were of the Social Fund in each year from 2004-05 to 2009-10.

Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

I apologise for the delay in replying.

The administration of Social Fund is mainly carried out by Jobcentre Plus. The following table provides data back to 2006-07. This is the earliest time for which data is available for Social Fund activity.

Table 1: Social Fund direct staff administration costs
£ million
2009-10 121.4
2008-09 97.1
2007-08 82.5
2006-07 70.5
Notes:

1. The costs shown represent the direct staff costs within Jobcentre Plus associated with Social Fund activity. The basis for allocating management, support costs and head office costs has changed over this period and it would be disproportionately costly to attempt to include all of these costs on a comparable basis.

2. The costs cover the direct staff administration costs of Budgeting and Crisis Loans including face to face interviews, Community Care Grants, Funeral Payments and Sure Start Maternity Grants, reviews and appeals and exclude Winter Fuel payments. Debt Management activity is carried out by a Shared Service function on behalf of Jobcentre Plus. Activity specific to Social Fund Debt is not separately identified from the wider debt recovery costs.

3. The increase in cost mainly reflects increased volumes of Crisis Loans.

4. In 2009-10 face to face interviews were introduced where an individual made a third or subsequent request for a Crisis Loan within a rolling 12 month period. The aim of these interviews is to:

Help ensure that the Fund is not being mis-used. Evidence suggests that on being invited to interview, significant numbers of applicants either terminate the telephone call or fail to attend the appointment.

Help sign-post genuine needy customers for independent money advice so that they can receive help with matters such as budgeting.

Source:

Jobcentre Plus Activity Based Management System

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