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Service Personnel and Veterans Agency

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many employees there have been in the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency in each month since its creation; and what expenditure his Department has incurred on the Agency in each year since it was established. (318030)

The Veterans Agency (VA) merged with the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency in April 2007 to become the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA).

These figures and further related information can be found in the SPVA Annual Report and Accounts, copies of which are held in the Library of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many calls have been received by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency Veterans-UK Helpline in the month since that service was started; (317639)

(2) what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the Veterans-UK Helpline.

Veterans-UK Helpline has been in place for a number of years and answered 249,739 calls in financial year 2008-09 and has answered 176,898 calls for April 2009 to January 2010.

Benchmarking exercises in August 2007 and August 2008, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, assessed the effectiveness of the Veterans-UK Helpline and compared it against internal and external call centres. In these assessments, the Veterans-UK Helpline compared favourably, being placed in the top quartile for overall performance.

Regular customer surveys also are conducted. In the 2008 survey 99 per cent. of customers rated the overall service provided as very satisfactory or satisfactory. Recommendations made in surveys are implemented where practicable.

In addition ongoing management checks are conducted to assess call handling and management.

As part of the Welfare Pathway I launched an additional National Point of Contact on 4 November 2009. This provides members of the Armed Forces, their families and Veterans with a single number to access support from a number of established service helplines and the Veterans-UK helpline on 08000 22 33 66.

In March 2011 an evaluation of the Welfare Pathway initiative will include the National Point of Contact.