§ Mr. Pike
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) when he proposes to conduct a review of the progress of the new one-stop initiative; if he will publish the results; and if he will make a statement;
(2) how many Benefits Agency offices are at present running the new one-stop initiative;
(3) what cost has been incurred in moving towards the new Benefits Agency one-stop initiative.
§ Mr. Burt
The introduction of a one-stop service for Benefits Agency customers is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Peter Pike, dated 23 May 1994.The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about the One Stop initiative.As you know, the Secretary of State for Social Security announced on 9 September last year a national programme to move, by July 1994, towards a One Stop service for all the benefits processed by the Benefits Agency. I wrote to you on 27 April 1994 with some information on the progress at that stage. By July, all Benefits Agency Districts will be expected to offer customers a One Place service.The One Place Programme will mean that customers will be able to:obtain advice and information on all benefits from their local Benefits agency office;lodge a claim for any Benefits Agency benefit at a local office (regardless of where that benefit is processed), report a change of circumstance and receive reliable advice about the claim to benefit from that local office.Progress is being monitored by local Managers and the central project team and a report on One Stop will be published in the Benefits Agency Annual Report and Business Plan in the normal way. Progress so far has been encouraging; in January of this year, for example, approximately 90 per cent of District offices were able to offer customers advice on the range of benefits, including in work benefits such as Family Credit.The Benefits Agency agreed to implement the improvements in service from within our existing total resource allocation, although by the prioritization of other tasks we were able to give Districts additional funds for training. The pace of future developments will, of course, depend on the level of resources available.I hope you find this reply helpful.