34. Mr. TREVELYAN THOMSON
asked the Minister of Pensions to what extent local pension officers are instructed to assist pensioners in preparing their cases for presentation before the appeal tribunals?
§ Major TRYON
The chief area officer is required to inform appellants generally as to the procedure in making appeals to the tribunal, pointing out that the decision will be final and that the case should therefore be presented fully. He 2227 is also instructed to explain to what end the evidence should be directed and to furnish the appellant with forms specially designed to indicate the most useful type of evidence. Moreover, when the evidence is presented the Chief Area Officer is required to satisfy himself, as far as possible, that it is as complete as it is within the power of the appellant to make it, and, if not, to indicate the points on which it could usefully be strengthened.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in many cases the other duties of the chief area officer do not give him the time necessary to give this friendly counsel to appellants, and will he see that someone else is deputed, so that they can have this friendly advice in order to prosecute their cases?
§ Major TRYON
It would clearly be our duty to see that such advice was given, but I should prefer that where possible it should be given by the chief area officer, who is best qualified for the purpose.