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Departments: Standards

Volume 460: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on mystery shopping exercises in each of the last three years for which figures are available. (133903)

Each of the Department for Work and Pensions’ agencies is responsible for operating its own mystery shopping programme. The most recent available information for Jobcentre Plus and the Pension Service are in the following tables.

Jobcentre Plus expenditure on mystery-shopping programmes

£

2003-04

676,828

2004-05

693,174

2005-06

471,368

Note:

Figures for 2006-07 are not yet available.

The Pension Service expenditure on mystery-shopping programmes

£

2004-05

334,490

2005-06

291,400

2006-07

268,000

The Disability and Carers Service (DCS) has not previously used a mystery shopping programme. The DCS tested a mystery shopping programme between January and March 2007. The programme proved successful and will be fully rolled out from April 2007.

For the period January 2007 to 31 March 2007, DCS’s expenditure was £22,120.

The Child Support Agency has not had a mystery shopping programme since prior to 2001. No information is available for the expenditure prior to 2001.