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Benefit Leaflets

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 6 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what arrangements are in place to ensure the leaflets available (a) in Jobcentre Plus offices and (b) from the Pensions Service are up-to-date; and what plans he has to re-introduce the former Benefits Agency guidance to ensure that the quarterly checks carried out by customer service managers include the accuracy of leaflets. [107414]

We are absolutely determined to ensure that we give accurate and up to date information to our customers. That is why we have introduced an electronic ordering system which makes it impossible for staff or outside organisations to order out of date stock, and why we are undertaking a Mystery Shopping Pilot at four Pension Centres. This will give a measure of performance against set quality standards—such as the content of a telephone greeting or the availability of leaflets, while offering an objective view of customer service.Detailed procedures exist to ensure that the Department's main suite of benefits information leaflets for the public are up to date. These include a six-monthly review of all such leaflets to check that they are factually accurate and remain up to date. In addition, information for staff and external bodies about current editions of leaflets is available electronically and kept up to date continuously.The Pensions Service has recently introduced an information management system which ensures that all products for the public are the responsibility of a named senior civil servant. A major overhaul of leaflets for people of working age this year will address procedures in Jobcentre Plus, including the role local managers in carrying out checks to ensure that leaflets provided over the counter for the public are up to date.