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Benefit Offices (Staff Safety)

Volume 128: debated on Thursday 25 February 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services how many regions of his Department have requested the fitting of reinforced glass screens in interview rooms in local offices because of concern for the safety of staff following benefit regulation changes in April; if he will list the total offices of his Department where such screens are to be fitted; and what is the total cost of additional security at these offices.

No region has made such a request. However, because of the anticipated increase in private interviews from April, additional interview rooms are being provided in local offices where needed. Some of these rooms will have protective screens.

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what action he is taking to protect local office staff from attacks by the public following the benefit changes in April.

There are existing arrangements in local offices to protect staff from attacks by the public. The Department sees no need to supplement these provisions following the benefit changes in April.