Wrexham Benefit Processing Centre
Work and Pensions

Photo of Chris Ruane

Chris Ruane (PPS (Rt Hon Peter Hain, Secretary of State), Office of the Secretary of State for Wales; Vale of Clwyd, Labour)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many telephone calls to the Wrexham Benefit Processing Centre concerning (a) income support, (b) jobseeker's allowance and (c) incapacity benefit were (i) unanswered and (ii) answered outside the length of time recommended by the Department since closure of the Rhyl Benefits Office.

Photo of Margaret Hodge

Margaret Hodge (Minister of State (Work), Department for Work and Pensions; Barking, Labour)

holding answer 5 December 2005

The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Lesley Strathie. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Lesley Strathie, dated 12 December 2005

The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question concerning how many telephone calls to the Wrexham Benefit Processing Centre concerning (a) Income Support (b) Jobseeker's Allowance and (c) Incapacity Benefit have gone (i) unanswered and (ii) answered outside the length of time recommended by the department since closure of the Rhyl Benefits Office. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.

As you know, the processing of Jobseeker's Allowance, Income Support and Incapacity Benefit, previously undertaken at Rhyl Social Security Office, transferred to the Wrexham Processing Centre at the beginning of August.

The Processing Centre has a customer service target to answer telephone calls within 30 seconds and to answer 90% of all calls made. The tables below detail the average performance in the period from August to November.

Total number of:

Percentage of calls
Benefit type Inbound calls Calls answered Calls abandoned offered which are answered
Income Support 87,781 79,660 8,121 91
Jobseeker's Allowance 30,677 27,974 2,703 91
Incapacity Benefit 44,092 41,063 3,029 93
Total 162,550 148,697 13,853 91

Benefit type

Average number of calls not answered within 30 seconds (percentage)
Income Support 47
Jobseeker's Allowance 27
Incapacity Benefit 34

Incoming telephone calls to the Processing Centre are monitored on a daily basis and extra staff have recently been allocated to both the Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance Teams, to process benefits and answer telephone calls. Additionally, we are currently training a number of extra Incapacity Benefit Processors, who are scheduled to take up post in early January. We are confident these steps will help us to significantly reduce the number of calls that are answered outside the customer service target of 30 seconds.

I hope this is helpful.

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