HC Deb 23 February 1998 vol 307 cc117-8W
28. Mr. Gorrie

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans she has to ensure that citizens seeking information about benefits are given correct information in leaflets by staff at the offices of relevant agencies. [29103]

Mr. Field

We are building a modern Social Security system, which balances customer rights and responsibilities. That means customers need accurate information at the right time and the right place.

The Benefits Agency produces comprehensive benefits information for customers and their representatives. Leaflets and information are available from all Benefits Agency offices, where other Agencies are often co-located. Customer Representatives are given free access to information from the whole of the Department via the Benefits Agency Publicity Register, which has over 90,000 members.

Benefits Agency staff are fully trained to process, maintain and provide advice on benefits. Initial training is refreshed and updated as changes to both benefit rules and processes occur.

The Benefits Agency is to re-examine its information and publicity material, to ensure it continues to meet customers' information needs.

The Benefits Agency will look to simplify its programme of leaflets and other media, in order to provide better information and allow customers easier access to the benefits system.

The Benefits Agency is working closely with its sister agencies, other government departments, customer representatives and the public in making these improvements.