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Benefits: Error Reduction Strategy

Volume 688: debated on Wednesday 24 January 2007

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (James Plaskitt) has today made the following Statement.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has today published its five-year strategy for reducing error in the benefits system.

DWP has made great progress in reducing fraud in the benefits system which is now at its lowest-ever level. However, more work is needed to reduce both official and customer error. The department is committed to providing a quality service to its customers by paying the right amount of benefit to all its customers every time. But sometimes staff fail to follow procedures and sometimes customers make mistakes in the information they provide to the department. This results in both official and customer error. This strategy for reducing error in the benefits system focuses on:

preventing error from entering the system from the outset;

correcting error that is already within the benefits system; and

increasing compliance with and understanding of processes by both staff and customers to ensure that once claims are corrected, they remain correct.

As part of this strategy, DWP will also launch today a new customer awareness campaign pilot, Something to Declare?, in Peterborough. The aim of this campaign is to help our customers to understand more fully the changes they need to report as they happen to help us keep their benefit claims correct and up to date. Copies of the strategy have been placed in the Library and are also available to Members from the Vote Office. The report will also be available online at www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/dwp/2007/error_strategy.asp.