§ Mr. Pike
To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what discussions he has had and what representations he has received in respect of delays in dealing with(a) social security benefit appeals, (b) immigration case appeals and (c) other appeals; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. John. M. Taylor
Information is not collated in the form requested, and the question can therefore be answered only at disproportionate cost. I can confirm, however, that I received 320 letters from hon. Members during the course of 1994 relating to tribunals. The great majority of these related to immigration appeals, and many of them expressed concern about delays.
Mr. John M. Taylor
The information is as follows:
- (a) Additional staff have been appointed to the Office of the Social Security and Child Support
835 Commissioners to deal with the increased work load. Further, the chief commissioner has introduced streamlined procedures for certain categories of appeal and a computerised case tracking system is being developed to improve administrative efficiency.
- (b) In response to increased waiting times at certain centres of the immigration appellate authorities measures have been introduced to ensure that available court rooms are used as effectively as possible. Furthermore appellants at the London and Feltham centres are offered hearings at one of the regional centres, where waiting times are shorter.
- (c) Additional staff have been recruited for the pensions appeal tribunals to give administrative support. Extra judicial members have also been appointed and additional tribunal sittings have been arranged to help reduce waiting times for a hearing.