HC Deb 26 May 2004 vol 421 cc1716-7W
Dr. Iddon

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will take steps to cease the practice in his Department of sending correspondence without a clearly identifiable signature of the sender;[167189]

(2) what his Department's policy is on the signing of documents, including correspondence, in the name of a person by a third party who does not make his or her position clear. [167190]

Jane Kennedy

Current procedure on correspondence in the Department or Work and Pensions is that our staff are required to use either their full name or their title and surname (with initial if preferred). All details given should be legible.

In some circumstances, so as not to compromise safety, managers may decide that it is appropriate for staff to sign off their letters with the name of their manager and section, or office manager and section. Managers may also approve the use of an office name where they deem it fitting. Such measures are subject to a suitable system being in place to enable the author of the letter to be identified where needed.

We are currently working to improve the general quality of our correspondence in DWP. Much of this correspondence is computer generated, rather than produced and signed by an individual. The key issue in both cases is that the customer is provided with a contact for further inquiries.

I have asked officials to look at current practice in the Department and to bring guidance to the attention of all staff who write to customers.

Mr. Kaufman

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will reply to the letter to him from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton dated 21 April with regard to Mr. G. Forde. [175615]

Mr. Andrew Smith

I replied to my right hon. Friend on 18 May.