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Benefits Simplification Unit

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people work in the Benefits Simplification Unit, broken down by civil service grade; (73248)

(2) how many people have worked in the Benefits Simplification Unit in each year since it was introduced;

(3) what targets have been set for the Benefits Simplification Unit;

(4) when the Benefits Simplification Unit will report to Ministers; and whether this information will be made public.

The Benefits Simplification Unit was set up in December 2005. When fully staffed, the unit will have five full-time staff (one SEO and four HEOs) with additional input from a senior civil servant (Grade 5) and a Grade 7.

The unit's role is to act as a catalyst in driving forward simplification across the benefits system, and as a first step published “Simplification: Guide to Best Practice” on 4 May 2006. Copies have been placed in the Library. The unit is now working to raise awareness of the simplification agenda across DWP and to embed best practice, so that the need to move towards a simpler, more transparent system is at the heart of future benefit design and delivery.

The unit reports regularly to Ministers and progress will be reported on annually in the departmental report.