PIP and Universal Credit: Tribunal Appeals

Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 2018.

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Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield 12:00 am, 19th November 2018

What proportion of tribunal appeals for (a) personal independence payment and (b) universal credit have been successful in 2018; and what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of those appeals having been successful.

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

In the first six months of 2018, 71% of PIP decisions and 51% of UC decisions heard and decided at appeal were revised. For context, of the 3.5 million PIP decisions made to date, 9% of all decisions have been appealed and 4% have been successfully appealed. We remain utterly committed to ensuring that we get decisions right first time and reduce the number of appeals.

Photo of Toby Perkins Toby Perkins Labour, Chesterfield

The Minister may be committed to reducing the number of appeals, but the statistics she has just revealed show how awfully the system is working for many of the most vulnerable in our society. As she says, 71% of appeals are successful. That is putting a huge financial strain on the system but, more importantly, some of the most vulnerable are going through incredibly stressful processes. Will the new Secretary of State work with the Minister to improve the system so that the people who come into our surgeries every single week and tell us how awful the system is can stop going through the process as they are currently having to?

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

I am sure that I will have the support of the Secretary of State in continuing our comprehensive plan for improving PIP. However, I hope that the hon. Gentleman will welcome the fact that, according to the most recent data from the Ministry of Justice, there has been a 15% decline in the number of appeals, and the customer satisfaction rating for PIP has risen from 76% to 87%. I have always said that one person’s poor experience is one too many, but we will continue to do everything that we can to get it right first time.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Conservative, Chelmsford

If 9% of PIP decisions are being appealed against, does that mean that more than nine out of 10 people do not appeal against theirs because they do not wish to challenge them? Will the introduction of video recording improve that rate so that there is even more confidence that the decisions are right?

Photo of Sarah Newton Sarah Newton The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

My hon. Friend makes a very good point. As I have said, the customer satisfaction ratings are high, and the assessments themselves consistently meet our quality target, which is over 90%. I am pleased to say, however, that our plans for the video recording of the assessments are going very well, and the live testing trial will start later this month.