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Departmental Telephone Services

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 13th June 2011.

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Photo of Madeleine Moon Madeleine Moon Labour, Bridgend

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions under what circumstances it is the policy of his Department and its agencies (a) to record and (b) not to record telephone conversations with benefit claimants; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) policy is that all calls are recorded, with the exception of the Jobcentre Plus national benefit fraud hotline and some sections within Pension, Disability and Carers Service (PDCS).

The Department records its telephone calls for several reasons, including training purposes and for quality checking the service provided by our agents to our customers. Call recording also enables us to investigate any complaints made about the service provided by our agents.

The Department does not record national benefit fraud hotline calls because callers have the right to anonymity when contacting us about suspected benefit fraud, and recording the calls would be in breach of this right.

Within PDCS, all customer inquiries relating to new claims or change in circumstance are recorded with the exception of calls to the following specialist sections within National Pension Centre;

Widows,

Complex Cases,

Voluntary National Insurance Contributions Query Line,

Adult Dependency Increase cases, Home Responsibilities Payments and

E-Claim inquiries.

The volume of these calls is minimal and occurs when customers are transferred from the 0845 inquiry line, which is recorded, into the specialist section within National Pension Centre to deal with their query. The sections listed above sit on a 01 geographical number, which means that we are not able to record those calls.

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