The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.
Letter from Darra Singh:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking what the average processing time of incapacity benefit applications was in (a) the UK and (b) each of the smallest geographical areas for which figures are available in each quarter of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. This is something which falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
The average actual clearance time (AACT) is calculated from our benefit processing system and is a result of taking all the claim volumes processed within any given month against the total number of days each claim has taken to process. The system conducts a simple division calculation using these data sets to provide us with the AACT.
The two dates used to calculate the AACT for incapacity benefit were from the date a properly complete claim form is received by Jobcentre Plus to the date a decision is made.
I have provided the AACT data for the last five years and current performance to January 2010. For 2005/06 the data is displayed by district level and from 2006/07 onwards the data has been gathered by Benefit Delivery Centre. This is the lowest geographical area we can provide. For national level performance we have provided in month performance from April 2005 to January 2010. I have arranged to have this information placed in the House of Commons Library.
We do not record the requested data quarterly as the data is not collated in this way. However, we have provided information in monthly and yearly tables.
I hope this information is helpful.