§ Earl Russell
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the information on the reduction of Department of Social Security out-of-hours service in the correspondence columns of the Guardian of 19th April is substantially correct.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish)
This is a matter for Peter Mathison, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the noble Earl.
Letter to Earl Russell from the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, Mr. Peter Mathison, dated 3rd May 1996.
I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary Question asking whether the information on the reduction of Department of Social Security out-of-hours service in the correspondence columns of the Guardian of 19th April is substantially correct.2WA
I recently outlined the Benefits Agency's plans for the future delivery of social security benefits based on the Benefits Agency vision of "right money to the right person at the right time, every time".
The agency will carry out a wide-ranging review of its activities as part of the Departmental Change Programme. Such a programme of change will cover all fundamental areas of the organisation's business and we are committed to achieve a 25 per cent. improvement in our productivity by 1998/99. In the first year it has been necessary to identify efficiencies and economies in excess of £200 million. All efficiencies and economies have been considered alongside the expenditure priorities the agency has been set.
It is against this background that the agency decided to review the need for the out-of-hours service which provides a service to customers at night and weekends. A decision on its viability is expected later this year.
I hope you find this reply helpful.