To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is the maximum waiting time for (a) claimants, (b) benefits and (c) consultations at each of the benefit centres serving the Leicester, West constituency.
The performance of a benefit office is the responsibility of Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. and learned Member and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Letter from Michael Bichard to Mr. Greville Janner, dated 26 July 1993:
As Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, it is my responsibility to answer questions about relevant operational matters. I am therefore replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security, asking the maximum waiting time for (a) customers, (b) benefits, and (c) consultations at each of the benefit centres serving the Leicester, West constituency.
As you will be aware, your constituency is served by two Benefit Agency Districts, North Leicestershire and South Leicestershire. While there is no specific measurement of waiting times, and it is therefore not possible to answer your question in the form required, the Districts believe that customers are seen, initially within 15 minutes. Customers waiting for a more detailed interview or payment of benefit may have to wait longer than this and they are generally advised how long this is likely to take. Every effort is made to ensure that customers do not have to wait more than two hours. Both Districts will investigate any instances where this is exceeded.
Consultations with customers are arranged at the customer's convenience, and either conducted immediately or at a place and time convenient to the customer.
I hope you find this answer useful. A copy of this letter will appear in the Official Report and a copy will also be placed in the Library.