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Benefits (Information Leaflets)

Volume 447: debated on Wednesday 14 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to ensure that leaflets on pensions and disability benefits from his Department are freely available at (a) post offices, (b) libraries, (c) doctors’ surgeries, (d) council offices and (e) citizens advice bureaux. (44037)

Although there is no national agreement for the display of leaflets at libraries, doctors’ surgeries, council offices and citizens advice bureaux there are a number of routes which ensure the availability of leaflets at these locations.

The Pension Service’s local service teams, located throughout England, Scotland and Wales, have local partnerships with external organisations and formally monitor the use and availability of leaflets at ‘Hard Copy Information Points’ on partner premises. They also share local knowledge and experience of which leaflets are the most popular and most useful to our customers.

The 80,000 subscribers to the Department’s Publicity Register receive a quarterly newsletter called ‘Touchbase’ which provides details of current and forthcoming information campaigns. Subscribers are also able to order leaflets directly from the Department through its on-line catalogue of information products.

Some private companies provide information services in public locations such as libraries and doctors’ waiting rooms. The costs of providing this service are usually met directly by the Department or by the venue but the information remains free of any charge to the public.

Recent customer research has indicated that disabled people would prefer information to be available at the point of diagnosis. The Disability and Carers Service are proposing to develop an awareness poster for display in locations such as doctors’ surgeries, hospitals and local authorities that will signpost potential customers to more detailed information. Where possible the outlet displaying the poster will also hold stocks of leaflets.

There is no longer any contractual agreement with the Post Office to display DWP leaflets.