HC Deb 29 March 1995 vol 257 cc683-4W
Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what assessment he has made of the speed with which(a) reviews and (b) appeals involving benefit cases are dealt with by his Department; and if he will make a statement; [16496]

(2) what discussions he has had with regard to appeals and reviews affecting cases inside his Department during the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement; [16498]

(3) what representations he has received in the last 12 months regarding delays in dealing with appeals and reviews affecting cases involving his Department; and if he will make a statement. [16497]

Mr. Hague

The table shows average clearance times for:

  1. (a) the three types of benefit cases which are subject to mandatory review prior to appeal; and
  2. (b) benefit appeals, divided by type of tribunal.

We have received representations from the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux and the Social Security Advisory Committee about delays and also letters concerning individual cases. Ministers have regular meetings with His Honour Judge Bassingthwaighte, the president of the Independent Tribunal Service, which hears social security benefit appeals, and with the chief executive of the Benefits Agency, who is responsible for ensuring that targets on reviews and appeals preparation are met.

Benefit reviews and appeals
Disability living allowance 81 per cent. in 55 days
Disability working allowance 91 per cent. in 20 days
Attendance allowance 92 per cent. in 75 days
Social security appeal tribunal 244 weeks
Disability appeal tribunal 23 weeks
Medical appeal tribunal 36 weeks
1Figures include the time taken by the Independent Tribunal Service to hear appeals.
2This time is higher than usual because the Independent Tribunal Service are clearing appeals which were previously held up awaiting the outcome of a Court of Appeal case. The underlying clearance time is around 28 weeks.