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Volume 164: debated on Monday 8 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of the improvement in the level of service offered by his Department as a result of its computerisation programme.

Computerisation has improved accuracy of payments and the speed of response to benefit inquiries. It has speeded up the availability of renewed order books. Letters to claimants are clearer and more complete. In addition, computerisation has enabled the relocation of benefit processing from London to areas where it is easier to recruit and retain good staff and this is already showing improvements in all aspects of service.