§ Mr. Webb
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will estimate the average clearance times for attendance allowance new claims in areas(a) piloting the new claim form and (b) using the standard claim form; 
(2) how many new attendance allowance claims using the new claim form have been made in pilot areas; and of that number how many were successful; 
(3) how many applications for reconsideration and appeal against attendance allowance decisions based on new form applications were made in the pilot areas; 
(4) what evaluation he has made of claimants' views on the new attendance allowance claim form being used in pilot areas; and if he will place a copy of the results in the Library. 
§ Maria Eagle
The new attendance allowance claim form was piloted in one section of Bristol Disability Benefits Centre from March 2002 and extended in September 2002 to all those requesting a claim form from the Disability and Carers Service in the area covered by Bristol DBC. The pilot was further extended to Glasgow DBC in March 2003. The average clearance time1 for attendance allowance claims processed by 755W Bristol DBC in the period October to December 2002 was 22.6 days. For the same period, the national average clearance time for attendance allowance claims was 24.1 days. The evaluation results of the Glasgow test are not yet available.
For the period October to December 2002, the breakdown of new claims awards at Bristol was: higher rate—3,160 (35.9 per cent.); lower rate: 3,917 (44.5 per cent.); and disallowed—1,722 (19.6 per cent.). For the corresponding period in 2001, the award rate was: higher rate—3,142 (33.7 per cent ); lower rate—4,500 (48.2 per cent.); and disallowed—1,691 (18.1 per cent.).
For the period October to December 2002, there were 323 applications for a reconsideration and 124 appeals at Bristol Disability Benefit Centre2. For the corresponding period in 2001, the figures were: 352 applications for a reconsideration and 178 appeals.
A representative sample of customers (374) was contacted to obtain their views about the new claim form. Results show that 75 per cent. found the form easy to complete and that 25 per cent. did not. Of those that found the form easy to complete (282), 57 had no help to complete the form; 123 had help from family and friends; and 123 received help from various external agencies. Of the 25 per cent. (92) who experienced difficulty, 15 completed the form unaided; 46 were assisted by family and friends; and 31 received help from various external agencies. There is no comparable data for customer perception of the previous claim form. We will ensure that a copy of the final analysis of the pilot is placed in the Library when the evaluation is complete.1 We are unable to provide separate data for claims decided using the new claim form, as they are not treated separately from the rest of the new claims upon receipt. From September 2002, approximately 96 per cent. of new claims were made using the new claim form. The figures reflect all new claims in areas using the new claim pack as well as the old one, which remains available externally.2 Reconsiderations reduced by 8.2 per cent. in the test and appeals by 33.3 per cent. National comparisons for the same period showed a marginal increase in reconsiderations by 1.8 per cent. and a decrease in appeals of 3.8 per cent.