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Departmental File Stores

Volume 489: debated on Monday 16 March 2009

5. Whether agency workers are used by Capita for its contracted work in his Department's file stores. (263318)

Agency workers are employed by Capita for contracted work at all Department for Work and Pensions file stores. The number of agency staff employed can vary according to the specific project activities required by DWP. Capita undertakes strict security verification checks on all employed staff. DWP and Capita both take the handling and security of all data extremely seriously, and we have robust procedures in place that we review regularly.

Ten million files are in the file store in my Pendle constituency, so I want the Minister to reassure me that no one handling the sensitive files has a criminal record. I also want him to tell me that he does not take everything on trust from Capita, but that the Department carries out spot checks in the file store— because my spies are everywhere!

Right, well, we know where one of them is, anyway. I can assure my hon. Friend that DWP continues to review the processes. He wants to be certain that proper procedures are in place regarding the files in the office in his constituency and in others throughout the country. We are about to undertake a further audited internal review, in which we will look at security infrastructure processes, staff recruitment—both permanent and casual—security checks and procedures for staff training and compliance and monitoring processes. I am happy to meet my hon. Friend—and he can bring along his associates if he wishes—to discuss the outcome of that review. We take it seriously; it is ongoing; and I would be happy to discuss it when it is completed.