§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will specify the matters, other than those relating to the NIRS2 computer system, in respect of which his Department has paid compensation to members of the public since May 1997. 
§ Mr. Timms
The reasons for which compensation payments have been made to members of the public, other than those relating to the NIRS2 computer system, since May 1997, are as followsExtra-statutory payments: made in respect of defective legislation where the law has not reflected the original intention of Ministers.In addition, payments have been made as a result of Departmental maladministration where any of the following have occurred:Actual financial loss: made in respect of losses incurred by customers as a direct result of maladministration;Delay: made for the loss of use of money arising where payments have been unreasonably delayed (payment made has been in the form of interest on the arrears due);Gross inconvenience: as a result of persistent Departmental error;Gross embarrassment, humiliation or unnecessary personal intrusion;Severe distress, where maladministration has had a serious impact on a customer's physical or mental health; andLoss of statutory entitlement: where entitlement to benefit has been lost due to maladministration or official error.
Where maladministration occurs the Department aims to restore the person to the position that he or she would have been in but for that maladministration. Payments have been made by DSS agencies as a result of maladministration under all the categories listed.
Payments made from 1 April 1998 to 31 March 1999 by Agency are as follows:
Type of payment Number of payments Benefits Agency Extra-Statutory 1,333 Actual Financial Loss 3,836 Delay 2,496 Consolatory1 300 Loss Of Statutory Entitlement 1,879 Total 9,844
Type of payment Number of payments Contributions Agency Extra-Statutory 1 Actual Financial Loss 653 Delay 2,635 Consolatory1 95 Loss Of Statutory Entitlement 1 Total 3,385 Child Support Agency Extra-Statutory 170 Actual Financial Loss 4,264 Delay 1,144 Consolatory1 4,235 Loss Of Statutory Entitlement 0 Total 9,813 War Pensions Agency Extra-Statutory 1,210 Actual Financial Loss 8 Delay 191 Consolatory1 3 Loss Of Statutory Entitlement 2 Total 1,414 Independent Tribunal Service Extra-Statutory 0 Actual Financial Loss 21 Delay 2 Consolatory1 12 Loss Of Statutory Entitlement 0 Total 35 1Consolatory payments consist of payments made under the categories of gross inconvenience, gross embarrassment, humiliation, unnecessary personal intrusion and severe distress.
A copy of the Department's guide to special payments, known as the "Financial Redress for Maladministration" is held in the House of Commons Library.