HC Deb 04 July 2001 vol 371 c195W
Kali Mountford

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on progress to establish the new Pension Service. [2392]

Mr. Darling

The new Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will bring together the Government's drive to help people get into work well as to provide a better service for pensions and pensioners.

The new Department will have two core operations to enable it to do this: Jobcentre Plus and the Pension Service.

The Pension Service will offer a local service working in partnership with local authorities and voluntary organisations. To support the local service network, we will bring together the backroom processing in about 20 locations rather than over 400 at present, allowing frontline staff to concentrate on dealing with customers. For example, they will undertake outreach activity such as home visiting, private interviews in locations that suit pensioners and drop-in services.

As we already process much of our pensions work for the whole of the UK in Newcastle, centralising processing work is a logical next step to support the national frontline network. Staff are being consulted and kept informed as plans develop.

The proposed phase 1 locations are to be sited in Bath, Birmingham, Blackpool, Burnley, Cwmbran, Dundee, Glasgow, Leicester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Plymouth, Stockton, Swansea, Walsall, Warrington, Wolverhampton, and Wrexham. Phase 2 locations will be announced in due course.

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