§ Ms Lynne
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the percentage level of income support payments that met the target for accuracy in 1991–92 and 1995–96; what are the reasons for variations; and by what date he expects the target for the accuracy of income support payments to be met. 
§ Mr. Burt
The administration of income support is a matter for Peter Mathison, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Peter Mathison to Ms Liz Lynne, dated 16 October 1996:The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what was the percentage level of Income Support (IS) payments that met the target for accuracy in 1991–92 and 1995–96; what are the reasons for variations; and by what date he expects the target for the accuracy of income support payments to be met.I have provided below the figures for accuracy, including the target set by the Secretary of State and the Benefits Agency achievement for IS for 1991/92 and 1995/96. I should explain that in 1991/92 district staff were responsible for checking and reporting the accuracy for IS. The figures quoted were based on a limited case check carried out on the most recent action on the case. In 1995/96 the target and accuracy figures were based on a full case check involving all aspects of the award. This, in part, accounts for the variation in figures.The Benefits Agency is committed to improve its accuracy rate and meet the Secretary of State's target. However IS is a complex benefit. For example, on average each IS case needs to be reviewed 4 times per year. Sustained effort over a period of years will be required before a significant and lasting improvement can be achieved. The Agency has a programme of measures designed to bring about improvements in accuracy in the short term and is also undertaking a fundamental review of IS processes and its computer systems. The aim of the review is to improve accuracy, security and efficiency, thereby working towards paying benefit accurately at the outset.
IS—accuracy target and achievement Percentage 1991–92 1995–96 Secretary of State's target 94.00 87.00 Agency figure 95.7 78.01I hope you find this reply helpful.