asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many managers of local security offices have requested public co-operation in the campaign against those who may not be entitled to social security; and if he will make a statement.
The Department's policy in dealing with suspected cases of social security fraud and abuse is perfectly clear and has not changed for many years. We neither expect nor encourage members of the public to investigate such cases on our behalf. But we are always prepared and indeed regard it as our duty, to follow up any positive information brought to our attention which suggests that fraud or abuse is taking place. All members of the Department, including the managers of local social security offices, are expected to observe this policy. I am aware of recent press reports which imply otherwise, and which have no doubt prompted the right hon. Gentleman's question. These reports have either misunderstood or mis-stated the views of officials and whilst I have no reason to believe that the policy is not properly carried out, I am reminding managers of it in view of the interest shown by the right hon. Gentleman and others in the matter.