HC Deb 23 February 1984 vol 54 cc636-8W
Mr. Rooker

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how long his Department has been keeping details of documents received which contain incorrect national insurance numbers; and if he will make a statement on the trend of this problem.

Dr. Boyson

[pursuant to his reply, 1 February 1984, c. 262]: The Department kept details of national insurance contribution cards and other documents with wrong or missing national insurance numbers between 1948 and 1975. These were relatively few and the details were destroyed in 1982.

Tax deduction documents included details of graduated contributions between 1961 and 1975 and the Department has records of documents without the correct number for that period.

Since 1975 employed persons' contributions have been entirely earnings-related and details have been kept of all wrongly numbered and un-numbered documents received. These are retained in an alphabetic file, and are posted to individual accounts if and when they become identified as a result of queries or other action.

The number of documents which, when they first arrive at Newcastle central office, the Department has been unable to relate to individual computer accounts because of incorrect or missing numbers has remained around 6 million a year since 1975–76. The numbers of these items on which, after further search, corrective clerical action has untimately been taken fell from 2.2 million in 1975–76 to 1.1 million in 1982–83, representing 571,885 wrong number cases and 533,904 missing number cases. This has resulted from the introduction of better search and correctional procedures via computer programs and higher administrative tolerances. Search programs, other computer programs and clerical action altogether result in about 1.7 million items being correctly posted to individual accounts each year; all the items not posted to individual accounts remain in the alphabetical file until claimed or otherwise identified.