HC Deb 22 February 1991 vol 186 c292W
Mr. Flynn

To ask the Attorney-General what are the reasons for the delay for the case on social security commissioner's file CSB/370/1989 to reach the stage of being referred by the commissioner to another appeal tribunal for determination; and what steps he has taken to ensure that adequate steps have been taken to prevent similar delays in other cases.

The Attorney-General

The late surge of appeals prior to the April 1988 social security benefit legislation gave rise to a significant increase in workload at the office of the social security commissioners (OSSC) as cases worked their way up the appeal system. Additionally, the OSSC experienced difficulties with the recruitment and retention of staff in 1989 and early 1990. The case on the social security commissioner's file CSB/370/89 was regrettably delayed in the ensuing backlog of appeals awaiting determination by the commissioners.

The commissioners are empowered to expedite cases in exceptional circumstances but received no representations on the appellants behalf or concerning her personal circumstances.

The Lord Chancellor's Department has been concerned about continuing long waiting times for commissioners' determinations and, following a manpower audit, local management at the OSSC, took in May 1990 a series of measures which have resulted in a reduction in delays. I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 18 June 1990 at column 389.