§ Mr. Roger Evans
This is a matter for Peter Mathison, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Peter Mathison to Ms Ann Coffey, dated 4 June 1996:The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what assessment he has made of the savings to the 461W arrangements whereby mail hand-delivered to the Agency in Stockport is re-delivered to that Agency by the Royal Mail via Crewe.As part of the 'Competing for Quality' initiative the BA has market tested its accommodation and office services, which includes arrangements for the collection, sorting and opening of post. The in-house team won the contract and sub-contracted the post opening service for the Greater Manchester Area to Royal Mail.This means that as District Office staff are no longer involved in the post opening process they can now concentrate on the core business of the Agency, which is the processing of benefits.All BA offices in Manchester have external boxes where our customers can hand-deliver items of post. All post is opened by Royal Mail and distributed across the District within 24 hours. There are notices on the external boxes telling customers at what times the boxes are emptied.The post opening arrangements are just one of a whole package of services delivered under the accommodation and office services contracts and therefore it is not possible to attribute a financial saving to one specific task within the package.However, it is estimated that savings of 29 per cent. will be made for the whole of the Greater Manchester area in respect of accommodation and office services, which include post opening, over the duration of the contract.I hope you find this reply helpful.
§ Mr. Frank Field
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Southport (Mr. Banks) of 15 May,Official Report column 451 (1) how many home visits were made by Benefits Agency staff for the periods (a) April 1980 to April 1984, (b) April 1985 to April 1989, (c) April 1990 to April 1991 and (d) April 1992 to April 1994; 
(2) if he will make a statement on the discrepancy between the figures quoted in the answer and the answer given to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) on 19 July 1995, Official Report, column 1503. 
§ Mr. Evans
The information is not available in the format requested as figures on some areas of work are not collated nationally. Such information as is available is set out in the table:
The error in the written answer given to the hon. Member for Garscadden related to the number of effective supplementary benefit visits for April 1979 to March 1980. This was due to a clerical error and resulted from double counting of data.
The table also includes data on effective contributory benefit visits in 1979–80 and 1984–85 which were erroneously omitted from my written answer of 15 May to the hon. Member for Southport (Mr. Banks).
Effective supplementary benefit/income support visits Effective contributory benefit visits 18 April 1979–15 April 1980 — 428,784 16 April 1980–14 April 1981 3,490,320 309,094 15 April 1981–13 April 1982 3,554,302 220,495 14 April 1982–12 April 1983 3,385,476 180,068 13 April 1983–10 April 1984 3,515,234 128,778 11 April 1984–9 April 1985 — 129,627 10 April 1985–8 April 1986 2,356,203 129,664 9 April 1986–7 April 1987 1,578,038 352,728 8 April 1987–8 April 1988 1,228,694 174,653 11 April 1988–31 March 1989 960,746 n/a
Effective supplementary benefit/income support visits Effective contributory benefit visits April 1990–March 1991 580,900 n/a April 1992–March 1993 509,722 n/a April 1993–March 1994 505,507 n/a
1. The table includes supplementary benefit and income support visits for all the periods requested and contributory benefits visits for April 1980 to April 1988.
2. The contributory benefits figures include visits made to employers in relation to national insurance contributions.
3. Information is not available for contributory benefits for 1988–89, 1990–91, 1992–93 and 1993–94 as there were no figures collated for this period.
4. Data in respect of periods prior to 1989 may not be directly these comparable with one in respect of later periods as the Benefits Agency no longer holds detailed guidance on interpretation of the earlier data.
5. Contributory benefit data were not collected for the period April 1990 to March 1994.
6. Data are provisional and subject to amendment.