HC Deb 11 July 2002 vol 388 cc1143-4W
Mrs. Anne Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he will publish the second annual report of the president of appeal tribunals on the standards of decision-making coming before tribunals. [70046]

Maria Eagle

The second report by the president of appeal tribunals is published today and has been placed in the Library. Of those cases where the appeal tribunal overturned or amended the decision the main reasons given were because new evidence was produced at the hearing, the presence of the appellant at the hearing shed new light on the existing evidence or they took a different view of the same evidence.

The president has highlighted some areas where improvements have been made following his first annual report. Some examples of these are; more obvious use of the reconsideration process before cases reach the tribunal, improved standards of decision-making and the use of the medical evidence in disability living allowance cases and a reduction in the number of medical reports under-estimating the severity of disability.

The president has suggested that the agencies should concentrate on engaging appellants fully during the dispute period and encourage them to provide additional evidence earlier. This could lead to problems being resolved without the need to go to an appeal tribunal. I welcome the president's report, which provides an independent view of the standard of Secretary of State decision-making in cases coming to the appeal tribunal.