HC Deb 29 April 1998 vol 311 cc170-2W
Jackie Ballard

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many and what percentage of the (i) paid and (ii) unpaid appointments which she has made to non-departmental public bodies since 1 May 1997 were women. [39401]

Mr. Field

The information is set out in the table.

Mr. Field

[holding answer 20 April 1998]: Most of the research contracts in question were commissioned as part of the Department's Research Programme and relate to the development and evaluation of policy. These are:

Newchurch & Company—Child Support Agency customer and compliance research.Market Opinion Research International—Attitudes towards welfare reform.Social and Community Planning Research—On-going contract for qualitative research on welfare reform issues.Market Opinion Research International—Attitudes to disability benefits.Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University—Invalidity Benefit and the contributory principle.British Market Research Bureau International—Attitudes towards housing benefits.Institute for Employment Studies—People management in DSS Headquarters.Social and Community Planning Research—Survey of women; development work.Social and Community Planning Research—Preparation for Women's Juries.Social and Community Planning Research—Work incentives and intermediaries.Centre for Research in Social Policy, Loughborough University—Earnings Top Up staff panel.Social and Community Planning Research—Take-up of income support amongst older citizens.Alan Hedges—Preparation and retirement planning.Alan Hedges—Behavioural response to the evidence requirements.

In accordance with the Open Government Code of Practice on Access to Government, the standard practice is that reports of such studies commissioned by the Department are published on completion unless they are covered by a specific exemption under that Code. All research reports include, as standard, information on the research remit (covering details of the sample and questions asked) and findings. These studies are running to different timetables, but we expect all to be published within the next year, except the work on Earnings Top Up, which is part of a longer-term study.

The remaining contracts were commissioned to develop and evaluate publicity campaigns or to inform other presentational issues. Reports of this sort of research are not usually published, but are made available on request. A report of each of these studies, discussing the remit and findings, will be placed in the Library once the decision-making process is completed and/or the relevant publicity campaign has started. We anticipate that this will be within the next 12 months for the specified contracts.