HC Deb 25 June 1998 vol 314 cc625-6W
Dr. Cable

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when an internal audit of DLA reviews and appeals was last conducted; and if she will publish the result. [46238]

Mr. Denham

The administration of Disability Living Allowance is a matter for Peter Mathison, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Peter Mathison to Dr. Vincent Cable, dated 24 June 1998: The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking when an internal audit of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) reviews and appeals was last conducted and if she will publish the result. There has not been an internal audit specifically aimed at DLA reviews and appeals. A review of appeals and reviews covering a number of benefits, which included DLA, was conducted in 1996–97. The results of this internal review were reported to Managers in 1997 It may be helpful if I explain that under current legislation there is ongoing monitoring of the standards of decision making. The Chief Adjudication Officer (CAO) is responsible for monitoring the operation of the decision making system, including decisions on DLA. The CAO reports his findings annually to the Secretary of State. His last annual report for 1996–97 was published in July 1997. In addition, The Social Security Act 1998, which received Royal Assent on 21 May, contains important changes to decision making and appeals procedures for all benefit and child support customers. These measures form a key part of the Government's programme to build an active, modern social security system and are expected to be implemented during the second half of 1999. Amongst other measures the changes will streamline the decision making procedures, making easier to understand; allow Agencies to correct errors early; simplify and streamline the appeals system; and speed up the clearance of appeals. I hope you find the reply helpful.