Benefits Agency (Tayside)

Part of Petition – in the House of Commons at 10:37 pm on 7th April 1998.

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Photo of Mr Keith Bradley Mr Keith Bradley Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Social Security, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Social Security), Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip) 10:37 pm, 7th April 1998

I have made it clear that the processing of claims has been centralised, but that access to information and advice can be obtained at any office, as integrated information on each case is available. That overcomes the fear that the hon. Lady has identified and highlighted in her press releases, about people having to travel to get that information. That is not the case.

As I was saying, rather than spreading staff across three locations and expecting them to deal with all types of applications, there is now a pool of expertise—which will continue to grow—in relevant subject areas in the locations where each part of the work is now based. Customers will benefit from the expertise of staff in dedicated processing centres. That will mean improved speed, accuracy and quality of decision making. I repeat that advice on all aspects of the benefits system may still be obtained from any one of the offices concerned.