HC Deb 23 July 1996 vol 282 c299W
Mr. Matthew Banks

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he will announce his proposals for improving social security decision making and appeals; and if he will make a statement. [39681]

Mr. Lilley

I am today publishing a consultation document setting out my objectives for improving this key area of social security administration as part of the change programme.

The proposals, on which I welcome comments, seek to remove the legal obstacles to efficient business processing whilst at the same time preserving individual rights to have decisions taken fairly and impartially in accordance with the facts and law. They will make it easier to improve accuracy and will be more cost effective to administer.

The paper also sets out my plans to develop more flexible arrangements for correcting decisions when necessary and also for ensuring that individuals take proper responsibility for providing relevant evidence to the Department. I have also made clear my intention to retain the right to independent appeal for those people whose dispute cannot better be resolved another way. Copies of the paper have been placed in the Library.

In addition, some changes to appeals procedures can be made as a step towards the longer term improvements. I am currently consulting the Council on Tribunals on these and, subject to that consultation, will lay regulations during recess, to take effect in the autumn. Copies of the letter to the Council on Tribunals, which sets out my proposals, have been placed in the Library.