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Child Support Agency: Telephone Services

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will undertake an assessment of the recent effectiveness of the Child Support Agency’s MPs’ Hotline; and if he will make a statement. (149339)

The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Stephen Geraghty, dated 19 July 2007:

In reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions about the Child Support Agency the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive.

You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will undertake an assessment of the recent effectiveness of the Child Support Agency’s MPS’ Hotline; and if he will make a statement. [149339]

The MP Hotline was developed in response to requests from MP’s who required faster responses on certain issues where a formal letter was not required. The system works well and feedback from MPs has been generally positive. However some issues have recently come to light as the Agency has rolled out its new complaints resolution process. Specifically, some MP Hotline telephone numbers have changed without the Agency alerting either MPs or its people to the new numbers. Also as the Agency has changed the complaints resolution process, in some cases those teams newly responsible for dealing with MP queries, have been unaware of the shorter timescales covering queries to the Hotline.

The Agency has now issued reminders to all involved on how queries to the Hotline should be dealt with and we have amended our internal directories to reflect the new numbers. In addition Lord McKenzie has recently written to all MP’s informing them of the changes to the complaints resolution process, as well as the new MP Hotline numbers.

The Agency remains committed to providing a local and high quality service to all MP’s as you work on your constituents’ behalf to resolve issues that unfortunately arise on child support cases.

I hope you find this answer helpful.