§ Mr. Pendry
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to consult local councils, hon. Members and other interested parties before any decision is taken to relocate his Department's offices following his Department's operational strategy exercise.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the grouping together of existing local offices494W in local management units as part of the local office network review, details of which were given in a written reply to the hon. Member for Rochdale (Sir C. Smith) on 11 July at columns 242–43.
I should make it clear that we are not talking about closing offices to the public, but, rather, an administrative amalgamation for management purposes. Once the geography of the LMUs has been decided, the local managers will be appointed and will begin to develop detailed plans for the organisation of work within their units. In drawing up these plans, managers will consult widely within the community.