Department for Work and Pensions: Communicating with Customers
HC 421, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General, Session 2008-2009
- National Audit Office (NAO)
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
The Department for Work and Pensions (the Department) has made progress in reducing the number of leaflets that it produces for its customers and in making application forms simpler and shorter. The Department has significantly changed the way in which it provides information in recent years, with a growth in telephone enquiries and in online provision.
The Department has reduced the quantity of leaflets that it produces for customers, from 208 different leaflets in 2005 (at a cost of £10.3 million) to 53 leaflets in 2008 (costing £1.7 million). It has also reduced the length of most of its forms, though some are unnecessarily long, guidance notes are complicated and the Department's computer generated letters are overly long and confusing for customers.
The Department has put telephone calls at the centre of its application process. It is also increasingly using the internet to communicate with customers.
In response to the rise in applications for the Jobseeker's Allowance, up by 81% in the six months to January 2009, the Department plans to implement systems giving customers the option of full online applications for contributory Jobseeker's Allowance from summer 2009, rather than February 2010 as originally planned.
Cost efficiencies from online provision have still to be realised fully. Though forms can be downloaded from the internet, it is not yet possible to apply for most benefits online, meaning that staff and customer time is taken up handling claims over the telephone or face to face.
|Format||Paperback||Published||07 May 2009|
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