§ Helen Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps she intends to take to ensure that officers from the Benefits Agency are trained in dealing with stroke victims. 
§ Mr. Keith Bradley
This is a matter for Peter Mathison, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to to my hon. Friend.
Letter from Peter Mathison to Helen Jones, dated 26 February 1998:The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what steps she intends to take to ensure that officers from the Benefits Agency (BA) are trained in dealing with stroke victims.The BA aims to ensure that all our customers have equal access to the benefits system, and that wherever possible, our services can accommodate their individual needs. It is our policy to work in partnership with organisations from the voluntary sector to identify areas where improvements could be made and to work together to make the necessary changes.Each of our managers is responsible for providing training which will help staff to meet the needs of their customers. We actively encourage them to use the expertise and support available from organisations in the voluntary sector. To assist managers, we have provided them with information on the awareness programmes and services available from a range of organisations.We would be interested to know if stroke victims are experiencing particular difficulties in accessing the services provided and if this is the case we would welcome consultation with their representative organisations to seek ways to address the problem. Please contact the Customer Liaison Team, Room 2E22, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7UA.I hope you find this reply helpful.