HC Deb 04 March 2002 vol 381 c22W
34. Mr. Ronnie Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the new pension service to come into operation. [36360]

Mr. McCartney

The pension service will be launched on 1 April 2002 and will offer an improved service for pensioners. It will be customer-focused and will give pensioners a modern, personalised, efficient service designed to meet their needs. It will also provide information for future pensioners to help them make decisions about their future pension arrangements.

It will comprise an improved local service nationwide which will operate in the community to provide face to face contact for pensioners.

The local service will also provide a visiting service and will support customers by working in partnership with voluntary organisations, local authorities and other Government Departments to provide a more joined up service.

This improved service will be rolled out over the next two years. In the interim, our customers will continue to deal with their existing social security offices.

The local service for pensioners in each Government Office Region will be located throughout that region. Support work for the local service in the north-east will be shared between the Stockton and Seaham pension centres.