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Departmental Staff (Telephone Inquiries)

Volume 987: debated on Friday 27 June 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what guidelines are issued to staff regarding the handling of telephone inquiries from individuals not known personally who seek potentially sensitive information concerning clients with whom the Department's staff may be dealing; and whether there are plans to revise these guidelines in the light of any such information having been improperly transmitted.

Staff have comprehensive instructions on the safeguarding of information relating to claimants and so on, all of which is treated as confidential. These instructions include guidance on the handling of telephone calls, but to publish even an outline of such instructions would not further the continued safeguarding of confidential information. I am not aware that any information is being improperly transmitted and there are no plans to revise the instructions.