To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
(1) pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2014, Official Report, column 378W, on internet, how many users of the Stat-Xplore website have provided feedback on the site; and if he will publish all such feedback received;
(2) pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2014, Official Report, column 378W, on internet, whether he plans to provide training to (a) hon. Members, (b) hon. Members staff and (c) the public in the use of the Stat-Xplore website;
(3) pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2014, Official Report, columns 376-8W, on internet, if he will undertake not to refer hon. Members to the Stat-Xplore website as a substitute for providing substantive answers to Parliamentary Questions about housing benefit and other data until such time as the usability as that site has been substantially improved.
A total of 162 e-mails have been received from users of Stat-Xplore. There are no plans to publish individual feedback.
Training was provided to staff at the House Library prior to the launch of Stat-Xplore but I would be happy for my officials to provide training to both hon. Members, and their staff in the use of Stat-Xplore and will instruct them to undertake this. In addition, plans are in place to train journalists in the use of the tool. As well as the provision of the on-line Help facility within Stat-Xplore, all registered users will be sent, via e-mail, a Stat-Xplore User Guide.
Stat-Xplore was designed to meet this Government's transparency commitments, and to allow much more granular interrogation of the Department's datasets than was previously possible, and is part of Department's efficiency agenda, being designed to control the costs of parliamentary questions.
However, key national-level statistics such as those for housing benefit are also available through routine statistical releases. More detailed tables, generally at regional or local authority level, are also available, through ready made tables within Stat-Xplore and also within a set of spreadsheet tables available on our website here:
Please note that for very detailed statistical breakdowns, Stat-Xplore has been specifically developed as it allows users much more flexibility than is possible within spreadsheet-based tables.