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The BFI contributes towards the Department for Work and Pensions Public Service Agreement targets and objectives. These targets and objectives are in the Departmental report, which is available in the Library.
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what recent steps he (a) has taken
and (b) plans to take to reduce the complexity of the benefits system; 
Mr. Plaskitt: The Benefit Simplification Units role is to reduce existing complexity across the benefits system, and to ensure that the move towards a simpler, more transparent system is at the heart of future benefit design and delivery.
Progress on simplification will be reported on annually in the departmental report, and the effectiveness of the unit will be reflected in the extent to which key performance indicators are met across the Department, where these indicators are partly dependent on the complexity of the system.
On 4 May 2006, the unit published Simplification: Guide to Best Practice. The guide is available to all departmental staff, copies have been placed in the Library and it can be accessed by members of the public through the Departments internet site.
On 24 January 2007, the Department published Official Error Task Force and Benefit Simplification Unit: Progress Report which summaries the progress made by both the Official Error Task Force and the Benefit Simplification Unit during their first year of operation and details the future strategy that the Benefit Simplification Unit plans to adopt during 2007. Copies of the progress report have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in each local authority ward in Yeovil constituency were receiving (a) council tax benefit, (b) pension credit, (c) incapacity benefit, (d) jobseekers allowance, (e) disability living allowance and (f) income support in each year since 1989; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of calls to his Department and its agencies in each year from 2002-03 to 2006-07 were (a) handled by an adviser, (b) received but abandoned and (c) received an engaged tone, broken down by line of business. 
|Calls handled by adviser||Calls abandoned||Received engaged tone( 1)||Other outcomes( 2)|
|(1) Engaged toneor referred to as blocked calls. These calls will result in the customer receiving an engaged tone or automated message as a result of proactively blocking the calls from arriving to the centre.|
(2) Other outcomesapplies to calls which are not presented to the contact centre due to technical reasons only such as system failures, system overload, power cuts, etc. In these circumstances the customer would receive an engaged tone, automated message, ring tone no reply or disconnect.
(3) CSA other outcomes figures exclude calls answered by automated message.
(4) CSA figures are for both CSCS and CS2 systems.
(5) DCS helpline and benefit enquiry line have considerably reduced the number of engaged tones customers receive from 2005-06 as a result of old telephony systems being replaced with new, providing increased capacity and functionality. Calls receiving the engage figures include other outcomes.
(6) Data not available for Debt Management for 2002-03 as robust measurement systems not in place. Only limited data available prior to 2005-06 as phased implementation of advanced telephony systems commenced in 2005.
(7) Jobcentre Plus Direct figures include for Employer Direct, NINO allocations and National Benefit Fraud Hotline due to organisational changes.
(8) Jobseeker direct telephony figures only. First contact process implemented into contact centres from 2004-05.
(9) The Pension Service was launched in April 2002.The majority of the contact centres/help-lines became fully operational and appropriate data collection processes were put in place by August 2003; robust data are not available prior to August 2003. Prior to reporting year 2006-07 TPS calculated the proportion of calls answered differently from other agencies (and could not be amended as related to PSA). From reporting year 2006-07 TPS calculation has been aligned with the standard definition used across the Department. Total abandoned call figures provided.
(10) Comprehensive data for the Pension Service are not available for 2003-04. Figures represent part year data only from August 2003-March 2004 and therefore unable to provide robust figure for proportion abandoned. Achievements against targets on blocked and answered calls have been taken from figures published in the annual report and accounts for 2003-04.
1. Proportion of calls handled by adviser/abandonedcalculated using calls offered for the adviser to answer. These figures do not include calls receiving an engaged tone and other outcomes because the adviser is unable to answer such calls.
2. Those calls receiving an engaged tone and other outcomes occur and are measured before they reach the contact centre and before being offered for the adviser to answer. This is a standard telephony definition.
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