§ Mr. Miller
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what is the purpose of proposed home visits by Benefits Agency staff; 
(2) what instructions he has given to Benefits Agency staff regarding proposed home visits; 
(3) how many home visits by Benefits Agency staff are proposed in the current year. 
§ Mr. Roger Evans
The purposes of home visits by Benefits Agency staff are to clarify and verify details of benefit claims which cannot be easily, or satisfactorily confirmed by post, ensuring that benefit entitlement is expedited accurately and speedily.
Long-standing advice exists for Benefits Agency staff on how to conduct business away from the office. This includes guidance on interview techniques and personal safety. All visiting staff attend specialised training courses, which include a session on how to deal with potentially aggressive situations. In addition, guidance is due to be issued advising how to select, perform and record, new and repeat and "review claim" visits.115W
There is no overall numerical target set for home visits. Details of the number of visits carried out last year, 1994–95, are set out in the table.
Number of visits to customers in financial year ending March 1995 Number New claims visits 57,000 Initial case check (follow up) 32,500 Subsequent case check 64,000 Specialist visits (e.g. by CSA staff) 80,000 Other (may include some fraud related visits) 250,000 Total 483,500