§ Mr. Clelland
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the average time taken to reply to solicitors pursuing claims for damages for personal injuries with information on state benefits paid to clients, prior to the setting up of the compensation recovery unit at Hebburn; what is the current time taken; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Burt
The operation of the compensation recovery unit is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member with such information as is available and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Letter from Mr. Michael Bichard to Mr. David Clelland, dated 2 February 1993.As Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, it is my responsibility to answer questions about relevant operational matters. I am therefore replying to the points raised in your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security asking what was the average time taken to reply to solicitors pursuing claims for damages for personal 213W injuries with information on state benefits paid to clients, prior to the setting up of the Compensation Recovery Unit; and what is the current time taken.Prior to the setting up of the Compensation Recovery Unit a record of response times to requests for information on state benefits was not maintained. The information you request is therefore not available.Since the setting up of the Compensation Recovery Unit in 1990 a record of all requests for information on state benefits has been maintained. However, I should explain that it is not possible to break this down into individual groups such as solicitors pursuing personal injury claims.For the six months ending on 31 December 1992 the average response time to all enquiries was 20.5 working days and approximately 90% of all enquiries were dealt with within the unit's target of 30 working days.The issue of Certificates of Total Benefit paid, which is the main business of the unit, is being achieved within the statutory time limit of four weeks in 99.97% of all cases.I hope you find this reply helpful. A copy will appear in the Official Report. A copy will also be placed in the Library.