§ Mr. Arnold
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many officers in his Department are engaged in reviewing applications for legal aid and at what annual cost.
§ Mr. Newton:
About 510 staff are engaged full time in legal aid assessment offices on investigating and assessing financial eligibility for civil legal aid, at an estimated cost of about £5 million a year. Their work mainly involves dealing with new claims but also includes reviewing those where circumstances change—it is not possible to break down numbers between these functions. In addition some interviews are carried out by non-specialist staff in local offices and this work absorbs the equivalent of roughly 150 man years at a cost of around £1.4 million a year.