To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
(1) what the average period was between a disability living allowance application form being received and it being considered by a decision maker in respect of applications (a) from Wales, (b) from England, (c) in Welsh and (d) in English in each of the last three years;
(2) what percentage of disability living allowance decision makers are able to work through the medium of Welsh;
(3) what the target period is for the time between the receipt of a disability living allowance application form and its consideration by a decision maker;
(4) what percentage of disability living allowance claims submitted in Welsh are considered using (a) the original Welsh versions and (b) a translation into English; and what criteria are employed in decisions as to whether claims submitted in Welsh are translated for consideration in English;
(5) what arrangements are in place for the translation into English of disability living allowance application forms completed in Welsh.
There are three Welsh speaking Decision Makers (DMs) and one Administrative Officer all based in Cardiff Disability Benefits Centre (DBC). The total number of Decision Makers in the Disability and Carers Service nationally is approximately 1,170.
The clearance targets set by the Secretary of State, against which performance is judged, reflect overall clearance times, from claim registration to decision notification and no distinction is made between those claims received in the Welsh language and those in English. In the year ended March 2004 the national target performance on new claims cleared was an average of 39.7 days against a target of 42 days. On renewal claims the national performance achieved was an average of 28.2 days against a target of 32 days.
Any disability living allowance claim completed in Welsh received in the Disability and Carers Service whether in Cardiff Disability Benefits Centre, which administers new claims for the whole of Wales, or elsewhere is initially translated into English by the Welsh speaking staff based in the Cardiff Disability Benefits Centre. It is then processed in exactly the same way as a claim completed in English. Cardiff translated 28 disability living allowance and 78 attendance allowance claim forms from Welsh into English in the year to March 2004.