HC Deb 22 April 1994 vol 241 cc699-700W
Mr. Dewar

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many letters or other representations about the Child Support Agency his Department has received in the agency's first year of operation or at the latest date for which figures are available.

Mr. Burt

Between April 1993 and 15 April 1994 the Department of Social Security headquarters and the Child Support Agency headquarters received 19,620 written representations covering a range of views about child support policy and Child Support Agency operations. The Child Support Agency's telephone line for Members of Parliament has received over 1,000 calls since it was set up in mid-December.

The number of written representations made to Child Support Agency centres and field offices is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. McMaster

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make it his policy that, where hon. Members request it, replies to specific inquiries relating to child support will be provided by him, rather than by the chief executive of the Child Support Agency; what criteria he uses when deciding which parliamentary inquiries will be provided by Ministers, and which will be referred to officials; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Burt

I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 9 February 1994 at column 365. There are no plans to change the handling of correspondence from hon. Members.