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Employment and Support Allowance

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 5th February 2013.

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Photo of Sheila Gilmore Sheila Gilmore Labour, Edinburgh East 11:30 am, 5th February 2013

If he will develop a feedback process to the Department for Work and Pensions on the reasons for the overturning of employment and support allowance decisions by tribunal judges.

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

The provision of feedback on reasons for tribunals’ decisions is a matter for the judiciary. However, as the hon. Lady will remember, in my previous role we put in place new arrangements last year. Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service is now working with the DWP to evaluate the findings so that decision making can be improved wherever we can do so.

Photo of Sheila Gilmore Sheila Gilmore Labour, Edinburgh East

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. However, his successor as employment Minister, the Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, Mr Hoban, told the Work and Pensions Committee that it was important to expand the reasons given by tribunals far beyond those on the dropdown menu, so that opaque statements such as “cogent oral evidence” are not given as the reason for an appeal being upheld. Will the Secretary of State confirm that those reasons will be expanded greatly?

Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Of course, the intention of the change was to identify relevant information that would improve decision making. We have learned quite a lot from the dropdown menu. The two Departments will of course discuss any improvements that will increase the quality of decision making and reduce the number of appeals.