§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many complaints have been made about the administration of Attendance Allowance in each month since January 1997. 
§ Mr. Bayley
The administration of Attendance Allowance is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Mr. David Willetts, dated 1 May 2001:The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many complaints have been made about the administration of Attendance Allowance in each month since January 1997.Information is not available prior to April 1998. From April 1998, the number of complaints made about Attendance Allowance by letter, telephone or in person is in the table.
1998–99 1999–2000 2000–01 April 47 96 327 May 54 146 362 June 70 159 398 July 71 175 420 August 104 209 342 September 105 185 280 October 90 199 278 November 59 188 251 December 51 117 178 January 90 301 220 February 109 294 188 March 99 437 260Whilst the above figures may include complaints about the administration of the Attendance Allowance, it should be noted that they also include general expressions of disagreement with the amount of benefit awarded. Disputes of this nature must be pursued through the decision making and appeals process.You will be aware from my reply of 10 April 2001 to your previous Parliamentary Question about Disability Living Allowance complaints that they were subject to a steady increase arising from a temporary backlog of work following the introduction of new decision making and appeals procedures. Attendance Allowance claims and subsequent complaints were similarly adversely affected but, as with Disability Living Allowance, the backlog of work has now been cleared and the overall level of complaints has reduced since August 2000.I hope this is helpful.