pensions reform blog

With David Miliband’s blog getting considerable attention I thought it might be worth spreading a bit of bloglove to the other Ministerial blog, the Pensions Reform blog, which doesn’t seem to have taken off just yet.

Despite the fact I feel intimidated by the subject area I’m really enjoying the blog and like that James Purnell wants to engage in a conversation with his readers.  As is clear from his constituency website James is committed to using social software to improve his communication with the public.

Here he is, on the Ministerial blog, talking about a trip to Leeds where he got to see what sort of difference the front line staff can make to people’s lives:

Alan and I visited one strongly independent 80-something woman who gave us a lovely cup of tea – although only after I’d spilt the condensed milk can all over her kitchen top, radio and toaster… Maybe I’ll stick to White Papers in the future.

We sat down to go through her personal situation. The whole point of these visits is that we can treat people as individuals. Rather than expecting older people to know all the benefits they are entitled to and then expecting them to ring up The Pensions Service, the Council, their bank and their company pension scheme, we’ll do it all for them.

And the great advantage of visiting people at home is that you can get a rounded picture of how we might help. For example, it was only once Alan had spent a bit of time chatting that he was able to discover she could do with some extra support.

By the time we left, Alan had put the lady in touch with Age Concern about fuel prices, informed her of the Warm Front Scheme which provides grants to help heat your home – and given her information about a pendant alarm she could use in an emergency.

If you have views on pension reform then I’d suggest you go take a look at the blog and let James have the benefit of your thoughts.

About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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