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Departmental Records

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 21 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate she has made of the number of paper files held in her Department and its agencies; what the annual cost to each of monitoring a paper filing system is; what consideration she has given to alternative filing arrangements; and whether any changes to present practices are planned. (307037)

A full record storage and retrieval service is currently delivered to DWP by Capita plc. The current file-holding is in the region of 58 million files and the annual contract cost for 2008-09 was £21.2 million. In the main these paper documents form the legal basis on which applications to benefit are determined and must be retained for audit, review, appeal and other business related functions while the claim to benefit is current and for a period after termination of claim.

DWP is actively engaged in a range of initiatives to reduce paper e.g. a scanning solution for documents received from clients. These scanned images will be stored in and retrieved from a single Departmental Document Repository System.

Jobcentre Plus has also set up a Paper Reduction Programme to consider opportunities to reduce the amount of paper that is used and moved around its business.