HC Deb 18 November 2003 vol 413 cc794-5W
Mr. Truswell

To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs what use the Department for Constitutional Affairs and its agencies make of postcode areas for(a) the collection and publication of data, (b) devising formulae for the distribution of grants and awards and (c) the delivery of services; and when such usages were last reviewed. [87771]

Mr. Lammy

I apologise for the delay in responding to my hon. Friend's question; this was due to an administrative error.

My Department, the Northern Ireland Court Service and the Land Registry do not currently make use of postcode areas.

The Public Guardianship Office (PGO) has used postcode areas to help in the delivery of its services. During the financial year 2000–01, the PGO used the postcode information held in its case record system to help with the allocation of geographical areas to client visitors. The allocation of postcodes to each visitor was made so that an even number of clients was given to each of the visitors employed. This was intended to ensure fair and even coverage for the client base, as well as even workload for the visitors themselves. The use of postcodes has not been reviewed since this time.

The National Archives has used postcode areas for the publication and dissemination of data on a very limited basis within the Marketing Department and the Education and Interpretation and Department. It does not use postcodes for the collection of data, distribute grants and awards or distribute external services on a postcode basis.

The Legal Services Commission does not publish data at postcode level. However, the Commission collects postcode information for individual clients and suppliers holding contracts with the Commission for the Delivery of Legal Services. This information is held in the Commission's corporate information system and can be used by Community Legal Service Partnerships to identify geographical gaps in the supply of legal services.

The Legal Services Research Centre (LSRC) has recently begun work on a new project, funded by the Office for National Statistics and Neighbourhood Renewal Unit, to identify, and if possible, collate data relating to legal services. Data collated may be by postcode area, though any published data will be aggregated to electoral ward level. The data will be publicly accessible on the Neighbourhood Statistics website: www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk