Photo of John Hemming

John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley, Liberal Democrat)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many calls were made by (a) his Department and (b) Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in 2004–05 using predictive diallers; how many such calls resulted in contact being made with the recipient without a Government agent available to talk to them; and what assessment he has made of the likely impact of Ofcom's policy on silent calls on the use of predictive diallers by his Department.

Photo of Dawn Primarolo

Dawn Primarolo (Paymaster General, HM Treasury; Bristol South, Labour)

In respect of the Treasury, I refer the hon. Member to the Financial Secretary's reply of 15 November 2005, Hansard, column 1209W. The Treasury does not use predictive diallers.

HM Revenue and Customs was created as a legal entity on 7 April 2005. Of the two former Departments, HM Customs and Excise did not make use of predictive diallers during the period.

It is estimated that the Inland Revenue—and contractors acting on its behalf—made around 7.5 million calls using predictive diallers during 2004–05. Full information is not available on the number of calls where contact was made but operators were not available.

HMRC is considering Ofcom's latest policy and guidance on silent calls alongside the associated Ofcom Consultation Document which was published on 31 October.

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