§ Mr. Spearing
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what steps he is taking to ensure a fair balance of staffing between and inside social security offices; and what industrial action is occurring relating to this cause.
§ Mr. Ennals
Every effort is made to ensure that our local offices are adequately staffed to meet the demands made upon them. Total staffing requirements are calculated annually on the basis of forecast workloads and are reviewed quarterly when adjustments are made if the actual outturn of work varies significantly from the forecast level. Separate calculations are made for contributory benefits and for supplementary benefits work and the total complements for each are distributed to Scotland, Wales and the English regions in proportion to their shares of the total workloads. While the regions also distribute their allocations to local offices largely on the basis of workload shares, they additionally have regard to differing local circumstances and exercise their judgment accordingly. Within integrated local offices, which cover both both contributory and supplementary benefits work, the total combined complement can be deployed to meet pressures arising on cither side. Discussions with Staff Side representatives, at various levels, take place at each stage of the complementing process. A system of staff inspection operates as
PATIENTS ON IN-PATIENTS WAITING LISTS Basildon/ Thurrock District Chelmsford District Colchester District Harlow District Southend District Geriatrics September 1974 58 24 79 54 80 September 1975 39 36 97 25 73 March 1976 22 25 84 38 14 Psycho-Geriatrics September 1974 NA NA NA NA NA September 1975 NA NA NA NA NA March 1976 Nil Nil Nil Nil 26 Young Chronic Sick September 1974 11 8 81 Nil Nil September 1975 3 8 5 Nil Nil March 1976 Nil 9 9 Nil Nil Mentally Handicapped September 1974 219 31 Nil Nil Nil September 1975 185 10 47 Nil Nil March 1976 130 10 77 Nil Nil NA = Not available.
a check on the efficiency of the distributive complementing process.
Industrial action by a member of the Civil and Public Services Association has had the effect of delaying the normal work of some local offices.
Discussions are continuing in an effort to find a satisfactory solution.