HC Deb 19 November 1996 vol 285 cc523-5W
Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) if he will place in the Library a draft of the form which benefit claimants have been required to use for lodging appeals since 21 October; and when the form itself will be available; [4799]

(2) what instructions he has issued to ensure that benefit appeals which do not comply with the requirement to use an approved form because the form is not yet available are admitted for hearing by tribunals; [4800]

Income support appeals
March 1995 June 1995 September 1995 December 1995
Total number heard and decided 11,674 9,583 10,720 5,920
Total number decided in appellants favour and percentage 6,033 3,777 3,841 3,057
(51) (39) (35) (51)
Decision in appellants favour: appellant only attended
Number decided 1,159 1,328 1,424 1,170
Percentage success 43 45 43 43
Decision in appellants favour: representative only attended
Number decided 1,983 480 257 209
Percentage success 78 66 49 48
Decision in appellants favour: appellant and representative attended
Number decided 1,456 1,473 1,533 1,156
Percentage success 68 65 65 63

(3) by what means he will monitor the effects of the benefit regulations which came into force on 21 October, with particular reference to (a) the number of oral hearings, and (b) the outcome of appeals to (i) social security, (ii) disability, (iii) medical and (iv) child support appeal tribunals. [4802]

Mr. Roger Evans

A copy of the new version of leaflet NI 246 "How to Appeal", including the form for appeal, has today been placed in the Library. This version replaces the April 1996 version, a copy of which was previously placed in the Library. Distribution of the new version to all Benefits Agency and Employment Service offices has now commenced and is scheduled for completion by the end of this week.

All Benefits Agency and independent tribunal service offices have clear guidance that all appeals lodged by letter or on the old print of the appeal form are acceptable, so long as they contain the information required. If sufficient information is not provided, the independent tribunal service will write to the appellant for the missing information. In these cases, the time limit for appealing may be extended by up to 14 days. After the new form is available, any appeal lodged in the form of a letter will still be acceptable, with the same proviso as above, as the regulations make clear.

The effects of the new regulations will be monitored. This will include using existing statistical information collected regularly on the outcome of appeals, by benefit, broken down between: hearings attended by the appellant and/or his representative and hearings not attended by either. This information will be based, of course, only on those appeals which proceed to a hearing; excluded will be appeals which are superseded or withdrawn, struck out or ruled out of jurisdiction.

Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many income support appeals were heard by social security appeal tribunals in each of the last four quarters for which information is available; how many and what percentage were decided in the appellant's favour where the appellant(a) attended the hearing but was not represented, (b) was represented but did not attend, (c) attended and was represented and (d) did not attend and was not represented. [4801]

Mr. Evans

The information requested is contained in the table.

Income support appeals
March 1995 June 1995 September 1995 December 1995
Decision in appellants favour: no attendance
Number decided 1,435 496 627 522
Percentage success 32 13 13 14


"Quarterly Social Security Appeal Tribunal Statistics" published by analytical services division.