HC Deb 04 June 1985 vol 80 cc140-1W
Mr. Alfred Morris

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what consultations were held prior to the recent change in the composition of national insurance appeals tribunals; what was the purpose of the change; what its effect has been; what representations he has received on this matter; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Newton

The changes in the procedures for selecting members of social security appeal tribunals, made under section 16 of the Health and Social Security Act 1984, were designed to increase the range of representation on tribunal panels.

The Council on Tribunals was formally consulted and the Department was aware of the views of the Trades Union Congress and the Confederation of British Industry. Altogether some 100 representations were received from interested parties on this issue.

The president of the social security appeal tribunals has made known his wish to create broadly based panels of tribunal members containing not only representatives from both sides of industry but also from groups representing, for example, disabled people, ethnic minorities, women and pensioners who either live or work in the area. It is too early as yet to say what effect the changes have had on the composition of tribunal members since the term of appointment is for five years. I am advised that the president maintains regular contact with representative bodies on the selection of panel members and I am not aware of any difficulties encountered in the selection process.