HC Deb 20 March 1995 vol 257 cc66-8W
Mr. Donohoe

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will make a statement on the employment of polling or public survey organisations by his Department during the current and previous financial years, on the organisations employed by his Department, on the values of individual contracts for these services, on the total amounts of money spent and on the purposes of the research undertaken by these organisations.

Mr. Roger Evans

Most of the Department's research contracts are let following a process of competitive tender. The Department announces its research programme annually and potential contractors are invited to register an interest in relevant projects.

A list of contracts let by the Department to polling or public survey organisations in the current financial year is set out below:

Organisation Amount £
British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
Contributions Agency Customer Survey 1994 152,691
Resettlement Agency Customer Survey 1994 36,310
Industrial Facts and Forecasting Research Ltd. (IFF)
Forecasting demand for Social Security Advice Line for Employers 42,594
Staff Attitude Survey 1994 86,362
Market and Opinion Research International (MORI)
Child Support Agency Customer Survey 1994 265,531
Child Support Agency Survey on the Phasing Option 10,100
Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (OPCS)
Family Resources Survey (FRS) (joint project with Social and Community Planning Research) 2,960,000
Disability survey development work 9,420
Public Perceptions of Occupational and Personal Pensions 40,000
Retirement Survey follow-up 395,166
Study to compare the contents and methods of FRS and Family Expenditure Survey 3,500
Omnibus Survey on Contributions Statement 8,800
Public Attitude Surveys Ltd. (PAS)
War Pensions Agency Customer Satisfaction Survey 1994 92,837
Educational Compliance Visits 35,516
Council Tax Benefit (Second Adult Rebate) Research 7,656
Housing Benefit: LA Anti-Fraud Incentives scheme 25,397
Income Support Review 17,531
Benefits Agency Customer Satisfaction Survey 1994 208,738
Research on the service provided by the War Pensions Welfare Service 31,020
Research Services Ltd. (RSL) Evaluation of One Stop Initiative 63,620
Social and Community Planning Research (SCPR)
Industrial Injuries: Income and Resources of recent claimants 12,244
Women, Pensions and Divorce 397,870
Pension Scheme Dispute Resolution 112,625
Employers' Pension Provision 177,300

Organisation Amount £
Direct Payments of Mortgage Interest 33,577
Satisfaction with Benefits Agency Local Office Services 38,230
Customer Satisfaction: Methodological Issues 18,115
Secondary Analysis of Benefit Agency Customer Satisfaction Survey 15,875
Management of money in later life 40,400

The Department also commissions research from independent research institutes, universities and other non-survey research organisations. Full details of all projects commissioned as part of the research programme are contained in the social research yearbook published annually.

In addition, the Department has contracted a number of market research agencies to develop and monitor public information campaigns and projects through the Central Office of Information.

Research contributes to the development and implementation of new policies and the monitoring and evaluation of existing policies. It also plays an important role in providing customer feedback on the Department's services. The Department's external research budget for 1994–95 is £4,000,000.