§ Mr. Tony Lloyd
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what were the terms of reference of the research into the Benefits Agency service delivery to 16 245W and 17-year-olds carried out by the child abuse studies unit of London university; what were its main findings; if he will place a copy of the final report in the Library; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Burt
The report by the child abuse studies unit of London university into service delivery to 16 to 17-year-olds is an operational matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Tony Laurance to Mr. Tony Lloyd, dated 13 April 1994;As Michael Bichard is on sick leave at the moment, the Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the report by the Child Abuse Studies Unit of London University into service delivery to 16 and 17 year olds.The report to which you refer was not commissioned as a research document, but as an internal consultancy exercise looking at ways of improving service to this group of customers, and as such the Benefits Agency does not intend to publish the document.The terms of reference were to investigate the standard of service delivery, identify good practices and areas of concern, establish an understanding of the needs of 16 and 17 year olds, identify the level of knowledge and information needs of advice workers, assess training needs of Benefits Agency staff, and evaluate pre/post claim information.The report made a number of recommendations under headings such as Training, Publicity, Local Practice and Payment. Many of these recommendations refer to good practices to adopt when dealing with claims from young people. Guidance to staff in Benefits Agency District Offices is in the form of a Handbook called "Income Support for 16/17 year olds" and contains a section on good practices. This Handbook has been revised recently and where possible the recommendations from this report have been incorporated in the revised Handbook. The revised version has been in District Offices since mid-March 1994. A copy of the Handbook is already in the Library.I hope you find this reply helpful.