§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria are used by each Employment Action Team to define the areas of special employment action. 
§ Mr. Nicholas Brown
[holding answer 26 November 2002]: We launched the first phase of the Action Teams for Jobs initiative in 2000. The locations of the 40 teams were selected on the basis of their low levels of employment, high levels of unemployment, high proportions of people from ethnic minority backgrounds; or their being in existing Employment Zone or European Social Fund Objective One areas. These teams were able to choose where they worked within the area, subject to the approval of an inter-Departmental Project Steering Group.
In 2001 the Action Team initiative was extended. Some new teams were introduced and some teams in large urban areas were divided to ensure a strong local presence was retained. The focus of the teams was sharpened to ensure they targeted only the most disadvantaged people in the most employment deprived wards. Wards covered by the new Action Teams and additional wards covered by existing teams were selected because their working age employment rate was 58.5 per cent., or below in April 2001 when selection took place. Within these wards, teams can work with people from specified disadvantaged groups.