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Departmental Complaints

Volume 449: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints his Department received from (a) hon. Members, (b) advice agencies and (c) the public in each of the last 24 months. (41822)

The following annexes provide details of complaints received in DWP in 2004 and 2005.

I am unable to provide exactly the same information across all our businesses because, historically, the different agencies of the Department have counted complaints in different ways. This is an issue that we are now addressing, as part of work to bring a consistent approach to complaints handling across the Department.

Complaints from advice agencies are not recorded separately from those for members of the public. However, the Appeals Service started recording them separately in April 2005, and, from that date, complaints from advice agencies are included in the overall figure, and shown in brackets alongside.

Complaints from members of the public and advice agencies

Jobcentre Plus

The Pension Service

Disability and Carers Service1

Child Support Agency2

Appeals Service3

Compensation Recovery Unit

2004

January

4, 54736

6

71130

3248

54

5

February

5

6

7

3340

58

11

March

5

6

7

3901

59

10

April

1317

2347

81685

3363

45

10

May

1430

2931

8

3759

59

12

June

2728

3627

8

4091

67

26

July

2890

3346

91596

3985

52

4

August

3460

2462

9

3845

56

17

September

3477

1954

9

4108

44

5

October

3112

1540

101358

3742

53

4

November

3332

1535

10

4081

54

6

December

2604

1109

10

3009

36

10

2005

January

3234

1517

111293

3395

56

0

February

3164

1532

11

3877

63

0

March

3682

1520

11

3988

77

6

April

2273

1741

12902

4287

54 (14)

3

May

2506

1307

12

3370

47(5)

0

June

2488

1218

12

3705

45(12)

0

July

2840

1623

13917

3340

61 (13)

8

August

3062

1945

13

3589

67(10)

3

September

2887

1942

13

3727

63(18)

3

October

2928

1979

14997

3671

49(13)

2

November

3104

2257

14

4110

56(15)

5

December

428

1464

14

3156

40(7)

1

2006

January

516

1899

151112

3965

66(13)

5

February

755

1980

15

3932

43(9)

5

March

537

2110

15

4324

72(13)

7

April

483

1331

n/a

3078

16

4

May

541

1346

n/a

3484

16

2

1Figures recorded only on a quarterly basis

2 Figures are for First Stage of the complaints process, Treat Official and Chief Executive complaints, some of which may come from MPs

3 Until April 2005, the Appeals Service included all complaints in one count

4 Figures recorded on a quarterly basis until April 2004

5 Total

6 Figures could not be retrieved within the required timescale

7 Total

8 Total

9 Total

10 Total

11 Total

12 Total

13 Total

14 Total

15 Total

16The Appeals Service moved to the Department for Constitutional Affairs in April 2006.

n/a=Not yet available.

Complaints from Members of Parliament

Jobcentre Plus

The Pension Service

Disability and Carers Service

Child Support Agency1

Appeals Service2

Compensation Recovery Unit

2004

January

165

208

3

428

1

February

126

199

3

551

0

March

203

247

3

569

0

April

144

191

163

566

0

May

132

161

263

499

1

June

160

169

269

592

0

July

224

181

319

723

0

August

144

145

293

755

0

September

168

193

315

722

1

October

170

207

290

755

0

November

198

217

368

891

0

December

125

180

305

705

1

2005

January

148

204

289

714

0

February

180

213

352

962

0

March

235

201

328

987

6

April

165

196

185

793

6

3

May

106

97

185

719

2

0

June

216

127

292

789

4

0

July

230

134

290

814

3

8

August

296

98

199

754

6

3

September

232

121

210

798

9

3

October

208

101

230

820

11

2

November

238

132

242

1001

4

5

December

192

119

218

814

4

1

2006

January

199

58

207

717

4

1

February

227

73

250

873

6

0

March

335

90

296

837

6

0

April

227

83

233

649

4

0

May

299

79

250

780

4

0

1 Figures are for MP complaints to business units; MP complaints to Chief Executive are included with other Chief Executive complaints in Annex 1

2 Until April 2005, the Appeals Service included all complaints in one count

3 Figures could not be retrieved within the required timescale

4 The Appeals Service moved to the Department for Constitutional Affairs in April 2006.

Debt Management did not keep separate statistics for complaints and general correspondence, with all letters received being logged as correspondence regardless of content, until the roll out of the new Debt Management Complaints Process on 1 July 2005. Complaints statistics were then maintained separately from correspondence as shown.

Debt Management

Source of Complaint

Customer

MP

3rd Party

2005

July

48

10

13

August

49

15

23

September

38

23

19

October

57

18

29

November

98

19

78

December

72

14

87

2006

January

118

17

132

February

134

8

131

March

208

7

174

April

162

6

89

May

141

7

49

Notes:

The “3rd party” category includes next of kin, appointees and executors as well as welfare rights organisations.

The “Customer” category includes both written and verbal complaints by the customer.

The table reflects figures across Debt Management, including the Enforcement Initiative.

The Rent Service

The Rent Service has provided figures for the period January 2004 to April 2006.

They received 73 letters of complaint from the public, and one letter of complaint from an MP.

Health and Safety Executive

Figures for the Health and Safety Executive are not provided as they do not deal directly with customers.