Baroness Sherlock Portrait

Baroness Sherlock

Labour - Life peer

Became Member: 17th June 2010

Shadow Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

(since October 2013)

2 APPG memberships (as of 24 Jan 2024)
Christians in Parliament, Safeguarding in Faith Communities
1 Former APPG membership
Poverty
Shadow Spokesperson (Education)
18th May 2021 - 10th May 2022
Opposition Senior Whip (Lords)
27th May 2015 - 15th Apr 2020
Opposition Whip (Lords)
18th Mar 2013 - 27th May 2015


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 6th February 2024
Electoral Commission Strategy and Policy Statement
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 94 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 175 Noes - 159
Speeches
Wednesday 28th February 2024
UNICEF: Child Poverty Rankings
My Lords, the Minister mentions various measures, but when it comes to international comparisons, the Government do not get to …
Written Answers
Monday 4th March 2024
Inter Faith Network: Finance
To ask His Majesty's Government, following the letter of 19 January from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Baroness Sherlock has voted in 431 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Baroness Sherlock Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Baroness Stedman-Scott (Conservative)
(133 debate interactions)
Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
(57 debate interactions)
Earl Howe (Conservative)
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
(14 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Department for Work and Pensions
(165 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(15 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Pension Schemes Act 2021
(18,846 words contributed)
Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022
(8,297 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Baroness Sherlock's debates

Lords initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Sherlock, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.


Baroness Sherlock has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Baroness Sherlock has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


57 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings (1) the Prime Minister, (2) the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (3) the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and (4) the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, have had with the COVID-19 Bereaved Families for Justice group.

Details of Ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk.

Ministers are acutely aware of the grief, heartbreak and loss suffered by families across the country as a result of the virus, and the Government has fully committed to looking back and reflecting on all aspects of the pandemic.

There will be an opportunity to learn lessons from all aspects of the pandemic in the fullness of time, but for now, the Government remains focused on reducing the spread of the virus, and to protect those most vulnerable in society.

Ministers have met and continue to meet with those who have been bereaved as a result of Covid-19. And with respect to this particular group, Ministers from Her Majesty’s Government will be happy to meet them at an appropriate time to do so, and once legal proceedings have concluded.

Lord True
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the £90 million programme to help tackle inequalities in youth unemployment, announced on 19 March 2018, was distributed in (1) 2018, (2) 2019, (3) 2020 and (4) 2021.

In 2018, the government announced that £90m of dormant assets funding would be used to tackle inequalities in youth unemployment. This was allocated in full to the Youth Futures Foundation (YFF), an independent organisation established in 2019 to improve employment outcomes for young people from marginalised backgrounds. YFF draw down their funding according to need and have so far received £55.86m of the £90m allocated to them: (1) £125,000 in 2018, (2) £45.7m in 2019, and (3) £10m in 2020. As an independent organisation, the government has no control over the timings of any onward distribution of this money.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Ofsted Annual Report 2022/23: education, children’s services and skills, published on 23 November 2023, what plans they have to implement the recommendation contained in that report to improve the provision of high-quality professional development for teachers of religious education.

Religious Education (RE) is an important part of a school’s curriculum and can contribute to a young person’s personal, social, and academic development. When taught well, the subject develops children’s knowledge of British values and traditions, helps them to better understand those of other countries, and refines pupils’ ability to construct well-informed, balanced and structured arguments. This is why is it remains a compulsory subject in all state-funded schools in England for each pupil up to the age of 18.

Department officials read Ofsted’s 2023 report with interest. The department is already providing support for RE teaching in a number of ways. The department is offering a £10,000 bursary for RE trainee teachers starting Initial Teacher Training courses in the 2024/25 academic year. It has published this information on the ‘Get Into Teaching’ website and will be marketing the offer to prospective teachers through other channels.

To support teachers when they are in post, and to ensure high standards and consistency of teaching, RE resources will be procured by Oak National Academy during the second tranche of its work. Oak will work closely with the sector and utilise sector experience when producing new materials for RE. This will ensure that high-quality lessons are available nationwide, benefitting both teachers and pupils, should schools opt to use them. Oak RE resources will be available for teaching from autumn 2024, with full packages expected to be available by autumn 2025.

The department also continues to offer eight week subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses in the 2022/23 academic year for candidates who have the potential to become outstanding teachers but need to increase their subject knowledge. The eight week SKE course, available in religious education, can be undertaken on a full time or part time basis, but must be completed before qualified teacher status can be recommended and awarded. Eligible candidates could be entitled to a SKE bursary of £175 per week to support them financially whilst completing their SKE course.

More information on these courses is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/subject-knowledge-enhancement-an-introduction.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Ofsted Annual Report 2022/23: education, children’s services and skills, published on 23 November 2023, what plans they have to implement the recommendation contained in that report to ensure curriculum publishers identify clearly what pupils will learn and when, in relation to religious education.

Religious Education (RE) is an important part of a school’s curriculum and can contribute to a young person’s personal, social and academic development. When taught well, the subject develops children’s knowledge of British values and traditions, helps them to better understand those of other countries, and refines pupils’ ability to construct well-informed, balanced, and structured arguments. This is why it remains a compulsory subject in all state-funded schools in England for each pupil up to the age of 18.

Whilst the department read Ofsted’s recommendations with interest, the department believes that RE curricula should continue to be designed at a local level, whether that is through locally agreed syllabuses or by individual schools and academy trusts developing their own curricula. It will remain for individual schools to plan, organise, and deliver their curriculum, so that local demographics can be appropriately accounted for.

In maintained schools without a religious designation, Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (SACRE) should monitor the provision and quality of RE taught according to its agreed syllabus, together with the overall effectiveness of the syllabus.

Academies are accountable for the quality of their curricular provision, including for RE. They can choose to adopt a locally agreed syllabus or develop its own, as long as it meets the requirements of a locally agreed syllabus.

The department does, however, welcome the work that the Religious Education Council (REC) has done to assist curriculum developers by publishing its National Content Standard for RE in England. This is not in itself a curriculum but, without specifying precisely the content that schools should teach, provides a non-statutory benchmark against which syllabus providers and others could choose to inform and evaluate their work.

To support teachers, and to ensure high standards and consistency in RE teaching, resources will be procured by Oak National Academy during the second tranche of its work. Oak will work closely with the sector and utilise sector experience when producing new materials for RE. This will ensure that high-quality lessons are available nationwide, benefitting both teachers and pupils, should schools opt to use them. Oak RE resources will be available for teaching from autumn 2024, with full packages expected to be available by autumn 2025.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Jan 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, further to the Ofsted Annual Report 2022/23: education, children’s services and skills, published on 23 November 2023, what plans they have to implement the recommendation contained in that report to clarify expectations about the level of religious education provision in schools.

Religious Education (RE) is an important part of a school’s curriculum and can contribute to a young person’s personal, social and academic development. When taught well, the subject develops children’s knowledge of British values and traditions, helps them to better understand those of other countries, and refines pupils’ ability to construct well-informed, balanced, and structured arguments. This is why it remains a compulsory subject in all state-funded schools in England for each pupil up to the age of 18.

Whilst the department read Ofsted’s recommendations with interest, the department believes that RE curricula should continue to be designed at a local level, whether that is through locally agreed syllabuses or by individual schools and academy trusts developing their own curricula. It will remain for individual schools to plan, organise, and deliver their curriculum, so that local demographics can be appropriately accounted for.

In maintained schools without a religious designation, Standing Advisory Councils for Religious Education (SACRE) should monitor the provision and quality of RE taught according to its agreed syllabus, together with the overall effectiveness of the syllabus.

Academies are accountable for the quality of their curricular provision, including for RE. They can choose to adopt a locally agreed syllabus or develop its own, as long as it meets the requirements of a locally agreed syllabus.

The department does, however, welcome the work that the Religious Education Council (REC) has done to assist curriculum developers by publishing its National Content Standard for RE in England. This is not in itself a curriculum but, without specifying precisely the content that schools should teach, provides a non-statutory benchmark against which syllabus providers and others could choose to inform and evaluate their work.

To support teachers, and to ensure high standards and consistency in RE teaching, resources will be procured by Oak National Academy during the second tranche of its work. Oak will work closely with the sector and utilise sector experience when producing new materials for RE. This will ensure that high-quality lessons are available nationwide, benefitting both teachers and pupils, should schools opt to use them. Oak RE resources will be available for teaching from autumn 2024, with full packages expected to be available by autumn 2025.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many workers aged 50 or over are both (1) on Government-funded retraining or reskilling programmes, and (2) in receipt of furlough payments.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee was announced by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, in September 2020 and aims to ensure that people across the country can access the education and training they need to succeed throughout their lives. This includes a level 3 adult offer, Skills Bootcamps, a Lifelong Loan Entitlement, and wider work around improving quality and access to apprenticeships.

From this April, the level 3 adult offer will support any adult aged 24 and over who does not have an advanced technical certificate, diploma, or equivalent qualification, to access around 400 fully funded level 3 courses. This offer, a long-term commitment backed by £95 million from the National Skills Fund in year one, removes major cost barriers that have confronted adults who want to access training and progress in the labour market. Eligible adults aged 50 and over are equally able to access these qualifications and will be able to benefit significantly from this offer.

We have also introduced a series of Skills Bootcamps, starting in six local areas (West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, Liverpool City Region, Leeds City Region, Heart of South West, and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire). We will invest a further £43 million in the 2021/22 financial year to expand Skills Bootcamps across England. Following a competitive application, successful bids will be announced in the spring to ensure many more thousands of adults benefit from this offer.

Skills Bootcamps are there to provide in demand skills that help people to get good jobs and progress in their careers. It is vital that all eligible adults have equal opportunities to benefit from the Skills Bootcamps, including those aged 50 or over. No specific portion of funding is ring-fenced for workers aged 50 and above, but local areas and Skills Bootcamps providers target their marketing to encourage diverse participants.

Information about age of participants is collected by providers of Skills Bootcamps and will form part of our evaluation to ensure Skills Bootcamps are meeting the needs of all age groups, but figures are not yet available. The level 3 and Lifelong Loan Entitlements have not yet been introduced so there are no participant figures available. The department does not hold information on furloughed workers.

Last April the department introduced the Skills Toolkit, an online platform providing free courses to help individuals build the skills that are most sought after by employers. As of 24 January 2021, there have been an estimated 162,300 course registrations and 30,300 course completions. This data is not broken down by age or employment status.

11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any of the funding for the Lifetime Skills Guarantee is ring-fenced for workers aged 50 or over.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee was announced by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, in September 2020 and aims to ensure that people across the country can access the education and training they need to succeed throughout their lives. This includes a level 3 adult offer, Skills Bootcamps, a Lifelong Loan Entitlement, and wider work around improving quality and access to apprenticeships.

From this April, the level 3 adult offer will support any adult aged 24 and over who does not have an advanced technical certificate, diploma, or equivalent qualification, to access around 400 fully funded level 3 courses. This offer, a long-term commitment backed by £95 million from the National Skills Fund in year one, removes major cost barriers that have confronted adults who want to access training and progress in the labour market. Eligible adults aged 50 and over are equally able to access these qualifications and will be able to benefit significantly from this offer.

We have also introduced a series of Skills Bootcamps, starting in six local areas (West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Lancashire, Liverpool City Region, Leeds City Region, Heart of South West, and Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire). We will invest a further £43 million in the 2021/22 financial year to expand Skills Bootcamps across England. Following a competitive application, successful bids will be announced in the spring to ensure many more thousands of adults benefit from this offer.

Skills Bootcamps are there to provide in demand skills that help people to get good jobs and progress in their careers. It is vital that all eligible adults have equal opportunities to benefit from the Skills Bootcamps, including those aged 50 or over. No specific portion of funding is ring-fenced for workers aged 50 and above, but local areas and Skills Bootcamps providers target their marketing to encourage diverse participants.

Information about age of participants is collected by providers of Skills Bootcamps and will form part of our evaluation to ensure Skills Bootcamps are meeting the needs of all age groups, but figures are not yet available. The level 3 and Lifelong Loan Entitlements have not yet been introduced so there are no participant figures available. The department does not hold information on furloughed workers.

Last April the department introduced the Skills Toolkit, an online platform providing free courses to help individuals build the skills that are most sought after by employers. As of 24 January 2021, there have been an estimated 162,300 course registrations and 30,300 course completions. This data is not broken down by age or employment status.

13th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to renew automatically all blue badges during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what steps they have taken to ensure the continued provision of such badges.

Blue badges are valid for up to 3 years. The Department is currently working on its blue badge business continuity plan to ensure our digital and badge production services are resilient enough to continue to produce badges throughout this unprecedented period. Local authorities are responsible for the day to day administration of the scheme and will therefore be making their own arrangements for business continuity to ensure those in need of a badge can still be issued one. This may include pragmatic measures such as assessing applicants over the telephone, rather than face to face. In February 2020, over 75% of applicants applied online for a Badge.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of (1) the social security system, and (2) the Department for Work and Pensions' services, in supporting armed forces veterans in making the transition to civilian life.

Most veterans make a very successful transition back to civilian life. 83 percent of those supported by the Career Transition Partnership gain employment within 6 months of discharge – higher than the employment rate of the wider population.

This success will mostly be down to the efforts of the individuals concerned. But support from the Career Transition Partnership and DWP Work Coaches and Armed Forces Champions, as well as others, and wider partnership working to support veterans, may also play a part.

13th Jul 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding has been spent to date from the up to £6 million committed for Armed Forces Champions in 2019.

The Department was allocated specific funding for Armed Forces Champions work in the then Chancellor’s 2019 Spending Round, to be used in 2020/21.

The Department’s main priority during the pandemic was to focus on processing claims and paying people quickly, while supporting all those using Jobcentre Plus services. As a result, the planned restructuring of the Armed Forces Champions service planned for April 2020 was paused.

The Department introduced a new Armed Forces Champions model in April 2021 using its own existing resources. Officials in the Department have discussed the new model with a number of Armed Forces stakeholders, and it continues to be very well received.

30th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government in what circumstances they waive the recovery of overpayments of Universal Credit due to no fault of the claimant.

The Department is not able to specifically match the official error cases to debt recovery figures. However, all overpayments of UC are recoverable, irrespective of how the overpayment arose.

The Department did not record waiver requests by overpayment classification prior to February 2021. From February to the end of the 2021, DWP Debt Management received a total of 96 waiver requests in relation to UC overpayments with a classification of official error, 9 of which were agreed.

Waivers are only granted in exceptional circumstances, usually where the recovery of the overpayment is causing substantial medical and/or financial hardship, and it can be clearly demonstrated that the debtor’s circumstances will only improve by waiver of the debt.

However, any claimants struggling with the proposed rate of deductions are encouraged to contact DWP Debt Management to discuss affordability, so that a lower repayment rate can be negotiated as appropriate.

30th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many claimants were overpaid Universal Credit, due to no fault of their own, in the financial year 2020/21; and in what proportion of those cases the overpaid money was recovered.

The Department is not able to specifically match the official error cases to debt recovery figures. However, all overpayments of UC are recoverable, irrespective of how the overpayment arose.

The Department did not record waiver requests by overpayment classification prior to February 2021. From February to the end of the 2021, DWP Debt Management received a total of 96 waiver requests in relation to UC overpayments with a classification of official error, 9 of which were agreed.

Waivers are only granted in exceptional circumstances, usually where the recovery of the overpayment is causing substantial medical and/or financial hardship, and it can be clearly demonstrated that the debtor’s circumstances will only improve by waiver of the debt.

However, any claimants struggling with the proposed rate of deductions are encouraged to contact DWP Debt Management to discuss affordability, so that a lower repayment rate can be negotiated as appropriate.

30th Jun 2022
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many claimants, who were overpaid Universal Credit due to no fault of their own in the financial year of 2020/21, asked for a waiver of the recovery of the money; and how many claimants were granted such a waiver.

The Department is not able to specifically match the official error cases to debt recovery figures. However, all overpayments of UC are recoverable, irrespective of how the overpayment arose.

The Department did not record waiver requests by overpayment classification prior to February 2021. From February to the end of the 2021, DWP Debt Management received a total of 96 waiver requests in relation to UC overpayments with a classification of official error, 9 of which were agreed.

Waivers are only granted in exceptional circumstances, usually where the recovery of the overpayment is causing substantial medical and/or financial hardship, and it can be clearly demonstrated that the debtor’s circumstances will only improve by waiver of the debt.

However, any claimants struggling with the proposed rate of deductions are encouraged to contact DWP Debt Management to discuss affordability, so that a lower repayment rate can be negotiated as appropriate.

17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the 13,500 recruited work coaches since March 2020 have started work in Jobcentres.

Over 13.5k new Work Coaches have completed their initial learning and are now delivering Jobcentre services.

17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Jobcentre work coaches are employed (1) in total, and (2) as full-time equivalents.

The latest confirmed figure for Work Coaches, was taken on 31st March 2021 and is a headcount of 27,286, this is 24,956 full-time equivalents (based on contractual hours).

17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Department for Work and Pensions Armed Forces Champions there are (1) in total, (2) on Jobcentre sites, and (3) in Jobcentre plus districts.

The Department remains committed to the Armed Forces Covenant and will do what is necessary to provide members of the Armed Forces Community with the help and support they need and deserve.

It wants to move towards a situation where it helps serving veterans and others in a more intelligent and effective way and better matches available resources with demand.

The Department started to put in place new arrangements in April to transform the way it supports members of the Armed Forces Community, building on the successful network of Armed Forces Champions.

For the first time there will be a dedicated armed forces role at middle management level in each of the 11 Jobcentre Plus Groups. The 11 group Leads will form a virtual network and will be responsible for building capability and sharing best practice across the network. They will also be expected to be pro-active in liaising with the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force on both recruitment and resettlement.

These Armed Forces Champions Leads will oversee 50 Armed Forces Champions across the Jobcentre Plus network (including at least one in each of the 37 Jobcentre Plus Districts) who will have specific responsibilities for supporting members of the Armed Forces Community as part of their job – and again for the first time this will involve a front line role personally handling some claims, supporting veterans into work and helping resolve complex cases where necessary.

Recruitment to these roles is largely complete and the Department expects all of the roles to be filled within the next few weeks. All of the Leads have been appointed, with most in post already. Armed Forces Champions have been appointed in 34 Districts so far.

Officials in the Department have discussed the new model with a number of Armed Forces stakeholders, and so far it has been very well received.

There are also many staff across the DWP network based in individual Jobcentre offices who will be the local “expert” on Armed Forces issues and the Department is continually working to build capability across the Jobcentre Plus network. It has also recently introduced an Armed Forces “identifier” on to the Universal Credit system which will help ensure that veterans and serving personnel making new claims to Universal Credit are given the help and support they need.

These dedicated Armed Forces roles will complement the investment in recruiting an additional 13,500 Work Coaches overall (and every Work Coach receives appropriate training to support members of the Armed Forces Community), as well as investing billions of pounds in employment support schemes (such as Kickstart and JETS). And this will come on top of the other support already in place. For example, veterans are given early voluntary entry to the Work and Health Programme. And using Service Medical Board evidence where possible, a severely disabled person does not have to undergo additional examinations for Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit purposes.

11th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new jobs have been created by the Kickstart Scheme, broken down by the region of England in which the job is located.

As of the 6th May 2021, over 108,000 jobs have been made available for young people to apply for through the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Kickstart Scheme. This includes over 20,000 jobs started by young people.

There have been over 200,000 jobs approved by the scheme.

We are unable at present to provide data on the number of approved jobs by region, as at that stage in the process we do not hold information about the exact location of a job, only the head office of the employer. We do hold regional information on jobs made available for young people to apply for and for placements started, which is provided below.

The tables below show these figures split by location, the data presented has been rounded according to DWP statistical rounding convention. Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Location

Jobs Advertised

Total Jobs Started

East Midlands

7,270

1,120

East of England

8,240

1,320

London

22,740

4,500

North East

4,560

960

North West

13,560

2,840

South East

12,320

2,350

South West

7,670

1,440

West Midlands

10,030

1,850

Yorkshire and The Humber

8,310

1,580

Figures may not add up to provided totals due to rounding. 1,000 non-grant funded jobs are included in Jobs Advertised but not included under Jobs Started. Total jobs started includes those which have been completed or ended early.

11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Employment) held with the Business Champion for Older Workers in (1) 2020, and (2) 2021.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Employment) held standalone meetings with the Business Champion for Older Workers twice in 2020, and so far once in 2021, with a further meeting scheduled in April. The Minister for Employment and the Business Champion for Older Workers co-chair quarterly Roundtables with national employer organisations jointly, delivering their shared aim of promoting and championing the benefits of employing older workers.

In addition, Officials work closely with the Business Champion for Older Workers to support employers and actively promote the business case and benefits for the retention, retraining and recruitment of older workers. We are grateful for the outstanding work of the Business Champion for Older Workers.

11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions held with the Business Champion for Older Workers in (1) 2020, and (2) 2021.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions delegated the ownership of the relationship with the Business Champion for Older workers, Andy Briggs, to her ministerial team.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Employment) and departmental officials have regular meetings with the Business Champion for Older workers to actively promote the business case and the benefits for the retention, retraining and recruitment of older workers.

11th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many 50 PLUS Champions are currently employed in Jobcentres.

We currently have 14 50PLUS Champions at Department regional level who work collaboratively with our 37 District 50PLUS Champions to raise the profile of our older claimants. The champions act as a single point of contact for cascading messages, communications and best practice to colleagues locally and nationally. They raise awareness with Work Coaches, employers and providers of the products available to them, for example local groups, online tools and more.

25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the (1) average, (2) longest, and (3) shortest, clearance time for (a) a mandatory reconsideration, and (b) a successful appeal outcome to be implemented, in relation to Universal Credit in each month of 2020.

Table 1 below shows the Median, Lower Quartile and Upper Quartile of the number of days taken for a Universal Credit (UC) Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) to be cleared from registration. This data covers all UC MRs cleared in each month from January 2020 – October 2020, and does not include those cancelled or withdrawn.

Table 1: Times from UC MR registration to clearance in days from January 2020 – October 2020

Month

Lower Quartile

Median

Upper Quartile

Jan-20

10

27

162

Feb-20

8

23

100

Mar-20

13

30

94

Apr-20

6

22

43

May-20

7

40

79

Jun-20

14

41

112

Jul-20

14

49

166

Aug-20

12

41

147

Sep-20

14

35

105

Oct-20

10

27

63

Please note that information about the extremes of a distribution (e.g. the maximum clearance time) risks being disclosive. We would not release this information publicly. Therefore, we have presented information on the lower quartile, median and upper quartile of clearance times.

Over the same period the UC caseload, expressed as ‘People on Universal Credit’, increased from 2.77 million to 5.73 million with a sharp increase from 3.00 million to 5.26 million between 12th March and 14th May 2020. People on Universal Credit counts the number of people with an open claim on the count date who had accepted a claimant commitment and verified their identity. These figures are from the Universal Credit official statistics publication available on gov.uk which also includes figures on volumes of claims, starts and households.

The information requested on the clearance times for a successful appeal outcome to be implemented is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Notes

  • Figures are for Great Britain only.
  • The MR clearance times are unpublished data. They should be used with caution and may be subject to future revision.
  • The median is presented as the average instead of the mean because the mean can be unduly affected by outlying cases.
  • Definition of Lower Quartile: The lower quartile is the value for which 25% of all clearance times fall below if you were to order the distribution from lowest value to highest value.
  • Definition of median: The median time is the middle value if you were to order all the times within the distribution from lowest value to highest value.
  • Definition of Upper Quartile: The upper quartile is the value for which 75% of all clearance times fall below if you were to order the distribution from lowest value to highest value.

10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many mandatory reconsiderations for Universal Credit were (1) successful, and (2) unsuccessful, in 2020.

The information requested on the outcome of UC Mandatory Reconsiderations (MR), that is, where the claimant disagrees with the decision made and disputes it through the MR process, and how much has been paid out following a decision being changed after an MR is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The number of Universal Credit Mandatory Reconsiderations (MRs) requested and completed in the relevant months are below.

Table 1 Universal Credit Mandatory Reconsiderations Requested and Completed

MRs requested in month

UC MRs completed in this month

Jan-20

16,240

18,100

Feb-20

15,510

17,920

Mar-20

14,630

15,930

Apr-20

9,200

7,400

May-20

11,530

12,260

Jun-20

10,670

18,140

Jul-20

8,850

14,860

Aug-20

6,490

9,750

Sep-20

7,660

8,710

January to September 2020

100,780

123,070

GB only, figures rounded to the nearest 10

UC MRs completed does not include cancelled or withdrawn MRs.

10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many mandatory reconsiderations for Universal Credit were made in each month of 2020 so far.

The information requested on the outcome of UC Mandatory Reconsiderations (MR), that is, where the claimant disagrees with the decision made and disputes it through the MR process, and how much has been paid out following a decision being changed after an MR is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The number of Universal Credit Mandatory Reconsiderations (MRs) requested and completed in the relevant months are below.

Table 1 Universal Credit Mandatory Reconsiderations Requested and Completed

MRs requested in month

UC MRs completed in this month

Jan-20

16,240

18,100

Feb-20

15,510

17,920

Mar-20

14,630

15,930

Apr-20

9,200

7,400

May-20

11,530

12,260

Jun-20

10,670

18,140

Jul-20

8,850

14,860

Aug-20

6,490

9,750

Sep-20

7,660

8,710

January to September 2020

100,780

123,070

GB only, figures rounded to the nearest 10

UC MRs completed does not include cancelled or withdrawn MRs.

10th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much, in total, they have paid out following successful mandatory reconsiderations for Universal Credit in 2020.

The information requested on the outcome of UC Mandatory Reconsiderations (MR), that is, where the claimant disagrees with the decision made and disputes it through the MR process, and how much has been paid out following a decision being changed after an MR is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

The number of Universal Credit Mandatory Reconsiderations (MRs) requested and completed in the relevant months are below.

Table 1 Universal Credit Mandatory Reconsiderations Requested and Completed

MRs requested in month

UC MRs completed in this month

Jan-20

16,240

18,100

Feb-20

15,510

17,920

Mar-20

14,630

15,930

Apr-20

9,200

7,400

May-20

11,530

12,260

Jun-20

10,670

18,140

Jul-20

8,850

14,860

Aug-20

6,490

9,750

Sep-20

7,660

8,710

January to September 2020

100,780

123,070

GB only, figures rounded to the nearest 10

UC MRs completed does not include cancelled or withdrawn MRs.

4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people have had benefit claims rejected due to receipt of payments from the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme.

The information requested is not available.

5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the portal through which joint claims for Universal Credit are made allows each partner to see all of the messages between the Department for Work and Pensions and either partner; and if so, what assessment they have made as to the potential impact of that access on the risk of domestic abuse.

The Department is committed to providing the best possible support for all our claimants, including those who are, or are at risk of becoming victims of domestic abuse. In such instances, our immediate priority is to ensure that claimants receive appropriate practical assistance through Universal Credit (UC).

The UC journal facilitates digital communication of routine information, allowing both the Department and claimants to communicate with one another. Although each partner can see the journal messages, to safeguard all our claimants, we ask that the journal is not used to share sensitive information.

All claimants have a named Case Manager or Work Coach which they can contact through the Freephone UC helpline or face to face in Jobcentres. These channels allow the Department to provide more immediate and bespoke support to the vulnerable partner without risk of the interaction being captured on the journal and viewed by the partner.

All UC staff receive training on complex needs, including on identifying and supporting victims of abuse and signposting to expert partner organisations, such as Women's Aid. They also have access to the latest guidance on domestic abuse and Alternative Payment Arrangements, including how to instigate Split Payments, which allows UC payments to be divided between different people within the same claim.

Jobcentres across the country work closely with partner organisations and stakeholders and have escalation routes to provide local community based, joined up services. We will continue to maintain these strong relationships to ensure we continue to support our most vulnerable claimants.

5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a machine learning algorithm is used to calculate entitlement (1) to Universal Credit, and (2) to any other benefit; and if so, how that algorithm is used.

The Department does not use Machine Learning to calculate entitlement to Universal Credit or other benefits. All entitlement and calculation rules are an implementation of welfare policies, which are delivered in accordance with relevant legislation.

5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the ruling by the Court of Appeal in SSWP v Johnson & Others [2020] EWCA Civ 778, handed down on 22 June, what plans they have (1) to change the algorithm used to calculate Universal Credit entitlements, and (2) to compensate claimants whose payments were affected by that algorithm.

In its deliberations, the Court of Appeal recognised the complexity of the issue which the Department is working towards resolving for claimants as soon as possible.

We intend to bring forward legislation to address the issues raised by the Court of Appeal so that in future, for cases affected by this issue, monthly earnings can be reallocated to another assessment period, which means that only one set of earnings should be taken into account rather than two.

5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many criminal gangs engaged in large-scale benefit fraud have been identified by the Department for Work and Pensions using artificial intelligence.

The Department is alert to organised threats to the benefit system and has measures in place to keep our systems secure.

We cannot disclose information about our counter-fraud activity as this would prejudice our ability to detect fraud and crime.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many additional staff members have been (1) redeployed from other parts of the civil service, and (2) hired as new staff members, to handle increases in benefits claims. [T]

The Department for Work and Pensions has agreed and planned the transfer of 967 staff from Other Government Departments. 500 colleagues have been redeployed from other parts of the civil service already, with 475 of them currently still working for DWP. A further 397 redeployments are scheduled in the week of 11 May.

The Department has offered 1344 posts to people who were already on waiting lists following successful interviews for positions with the department, 543 people have accepted and pre-employment checks have been completed for 377 of these.

In addition, the Department is engaged in an exercise to directly recruit temporary staff on six-month contracts, many of whom are Jobcentre Plus customers recommended for these roles by their Work Coaches. So far, 1984 provisional offers of employment have been accepted, subject to background checks being completed.

We have also engaged 315 agency staff with a further 350 due to start work scheduled in the week of 11 May.

We have also committed to re-deploying 10,000 DWP staff to critical frontline services.

23rd Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether an employee who is isolating due to COVID-19 and is in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay can claim Universal Credit to supplement their income. [T]

Employees who are self-isolating in line with government advice because they are displaying symptoms, or someone in their household is displaying symptoms, of Coronavirus, and are unable to work as a result, will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Other eligibility criteria apply. Emergency legislation has also been introduced to suspend the SSP ‘waiting days’. This means that employees will receive SSP from the first day they are unable to work due to coronavirus.

Universal Credit is also available for those on low incomes who need extra financial support and an individual can claim both Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay if they meet the criteria for entitlement.

17th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to suspending (1) face-to-face interviews, (2) work search requirements, and (3) sanctions, for people of working age on Universal Credit or legacy benefits for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that everyone should be supported to do the right thing.

17th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether statutory sick pay will be payable to employees (1) who are not sick but are self-isolating because someone in their household has symptoms that could indicate COVID-19, and (2) who are not sick but are self-isolating because they are over 70 or have an underlying health condition.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that everyone should be supported to do the right thing.

13th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans are in place to ensure that those who are unable to work during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of underlying health conditions can apply for (1) Employment and Support Allowance, (2) Personal Independence Payment, and (3) Universal Credit, even if they are unable to leave their homes.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that everyone should be supported to do the right thing.

13th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken (1) to suspend reassessments for sickness and disability benefit, and (2) to ensure that the entitlements to existing awards are maintained, throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The safety of DWP’s claimants and staff is our number one priority. As a result of the Government’s decision to move to the “Delay” phase to manage the Covid-19 outbreak, we have taken the precautionary decision to suspend all face-to-face assessments for health and disability related benefits with immediate effect. This includes Personal Independence Payment, the Industrial Injuries Scheme and Work Capability Assessments in both Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit. Existing claimants in receipt of a health or disability related benefit will continue to receive their benefit payments while we consider alternative arrangements to review or reassess existing entitlement.

9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking (1) to make the Employment Support Allowance eligible for people affected by COVID-19; and (2) to suspend the need for three years of National Insurance contributions for the Employment and Support Allowance for those affected by COVID-19.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase Universal Credit payments for those affected by COVID-19.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to suspend the five week wait for Universal Credit for people affected by COVID-19.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reform the application process for Universal Credit to reflect their advice on self-isolation for COVID-19.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to raise statutory sick pay to the level of the National Living Wage for those affected by COVID-19.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to extend statutory sick pay to people earning below the threshold of £118 per week who are affect by COVID-19.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

30th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support is available to British residents returning to the UK who face a requirement which had not been in place when they left the UK to quarantine in a hotel on public health grounds but who lack the financial resources to pay for the hotel.

Where British residents returning to the United Kingdom from a ‘red list’ country believe they will suffer severe financial hardship as a result of paying the full cost of managed quarantine in advance, they may qualify for hardship arrangements. This includes repayment plans, where the fees are repaid in monthly instalments and in exceptional circumstances, fee reductions and waivers may be granted.

22nd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people entering the UK can be accommodated in official quarantine hotels under current arrangements; what plans they have to increase capacity levels in future; and if they have any such plans, by how much.

There are currently over 19,000 guests quarantining in hotels. We are working to ensure enough hotel capacity available to meet any further demand from arrivals from ‘red list’ countries. We have ongoing agreements with a number of hotels moving into the summer and we will closely match future demand with available hotel capacity as required.

27th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 24 November 2020 (HL9950), how many claims the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme has received; how many payments have been made by that Scheme; and what was the total value of those payments.

As of 27 January, the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme (England) has received 307 claims, of which 268 have been accepted. Payment has been made for 175 of these claims, with a further 92 accepted for payment pending proof of probate from the claimant and one case in the course of payment. Two cases have not been accepted and the remainder are going through the stages of being processed and assessed. The total value of accepted claims is £16,080,000.

4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Care Quality Commission (CQC) (1) holds, and (2) publishes, data identifying those nursing homes where residents have died from COVID-19 during the pandemic; and if so, whether the CQC shares that data with those who process claims to the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regularly shares data on notifications of deaths in individual care homes with the Department and other partners, including the Office of National Statistics, in order to monitor, plan and respond to the pandemic. The CQC does not publish mortality data by location.

The NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme provides a safety net for the families of National Health Service and social care staff who die from coronavirus contracted through the course of their work. The scheme does not cover residents of care homes and does not receive data regarding care home resident deaths.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many payments have been made by the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme; and what was the total value of those payments.

As of 4 November, the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme (England) has received 236 claims. Payment has been made for 96 of those claims. A further 109 have been accepted for payment pending proof of probate from the claimant, and the remainder are going through the stages of being processed and assessed. The total value of accepted claims is £12,300,000.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) NHS employees, and (2) social care workers, have died as a result of COVID-19.

The Office for National Statistics publish mortality data for deaths involving COVID-19 for healthcare workers and social care workers in England and Wales. The last iteration of this release showed that in England there were 305 deaths involving COVID-19 among healthcare workers; and 307 deaths involving COVID-19 among social care workers registered between 9 March and 12 October 2020 in England, of those aged 20-64 years, using last known occupation. The definition of healthcare workers used will include not only those employed in the National Health Service but wider healthcare sector workers

3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether an employer’s decision not to certify an application to the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme concerning a deceased employee can be challenged; and if so, how.

A claim can be made without employer involvement. The NHS Business Services Authority, as the scheme administrator, can assist the next of kin with the claims process. So far, no claims have been received without input from employers.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is the decision maker for the scheme. Any complaint regarding a decision would fall within the remit of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any decision by an employer not to certify an application to the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme concerning a deceased employee falls within the remit of (1) the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, (2) the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, or (3) any other ombudsman or regulator.

A claim can be made without employer involvement. The NHS Business Services Authority, as the scheme administrator, can assist the next of kin with the claims process. So far, no claims have been received without input from employers.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is the decision maker for the scheme. Any complaint regarding a decision would fall within the remit of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applications have been (1) made to, and (2) accepted by, the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme.

As of 4 November, the NHS and Social Care Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme (England) has received 236 claims. Payment has been made for 96 of those claims. A further 109 have been accepted for payment pending proof of probate from the claimant, and the remainder are going through the stages of being processed and assessed. The total value of accepted claims is £12,300,000.

21st Nov 2022
To ask His Majesty's Government, relative to the caseload in financial year 2022–23, what estimate they have made of the additional tax revenue that will be raised from individuals who are both in employment and receiving benefits as a result of freezing the personal tax allowance in the financial years (1) 2023–24, (2) 2024–25, (3) 2025–26, (4) 2026–27, and (5) 2027–8.

An estimate of the revenue raised from individuals who are both in employment and receiving benefits could only be answered at disproportionate cost.

The estimated Exchequer impacts of changes to tax thresholds are set out in respective Policy Costing documents. Impacts of Autumn Statement 2022 policies can be found in the Autumn Statement 2022 Policy Costing document.

Baroness Penn
Minister on Leave (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State)
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is any process in place to speed up the provision of tax rebates to people whose income has been affected by COVID-19.

HMRC does not have a process to identify customers whose income has been affected by Covid-19 and speed up tax rebates to them. HMRC seeks to return all identified tax rebates to all customers as quickly as possible.

20th Feb 2024
To ask His Majesty's Government, following the letter of 19 January from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to the Inter Faith Network (IFN) about the possible withdrawal of the offer of funding for the financial year 2023–24, what representations they have received from the IFN in response to the Minister's letter; what reply they have made, if any, to these representations; and when a final decision will be taken on funding for IFN's work during the current financial year.

On 19 January, the Secretary of State wrote to the Inter Faith Network (IFN) informing them that he was minded to withdraw the offer of funding for 2023/24. This is in view of a member of the Muslim Council of Britain being appointed to the IFN’s Board of Trustees.

Representations made by the IFN were considered by the Secretary of State. This included the role of their trustees and the process of appointing trustees to their board, and what the effect of withdrawing government funding might be.

The Secretary of State concluded that these points were outweighed by the need to maintain the government’s long-standing stance on engagement with the MCB, and the reputational risk involved.

This Government is supportive of efforts by faith groups and others to bring together people of different faiths and beliefs.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of staff at HMP Erlestoke who handle and process (1) evidence, and (2) contraband, who work in buildings without access to running water or toilet facilities.

The number of staff at HMP Erlestoke who handle contraband and evidence is estimated at 10, who do so within a security portacabin. This includes staff who search for items for logging, and security staff who receive illicit items found during routine searches. The health and wellbeing of staff is a top priority, and staff have access to other facilities including toilets and running water in order to carry out their duties safely.

This information is held locally, and therefore could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of Her Majesty's Prison Service staff nationally who work in buildings without access to running water or toilets.

The number of staff at HMP Erlestoke who handle contraband and evidence is estimated at 10, who do so within a security portacabin. This includes staff who search for items for logging, and security staff who receive illicit items found during routine searches. The health and wellbeing of staff is a top priority, and staff have access to other facilities including toilets and running water in order to carry out their duties safely.

This information is held locally, and therefore could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)