To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 March 2007, Official Report, column 622W, on incapacity benefit appeals, what the reasons are for the average clearance time for incapacity benefit appeals; and what measures she is putting in place to improve performance.
The figures given in response to the previous question relate to the average time from when the appeal is lodged in the Department for Work and Pensions until the date for the first hearing.
The average waiting time performance and actual performance within the Tribunals Service is contained in the following table.
|Performance target||Actual performance|
The aim of the Tribunals Service is to list incapacity benefit appeals to the first available session on receipt of the pre-hearing enquiry form from the appellant. In determining this date, a balance needs to be struck between how soon an appeal can be heard and giving customers sufficient time in which to prepare for their hearing including seeking representation and further medical evidence in support of their appeal.