To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of trends in the level of waiting times for personal independence payment appeals to be heard in (a) St. Helens, (b) Liverpool and (c) Wigan county courts; and if he will make a statement.
Latest figures indicate that since PIP was introduced, 3.5 million decisions have been made up to June 2018, and of these 9% have been appealed and 4% have been overturned at tribunals.
The volume of appeals against Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decisions has built up since it was introduced as a new benefit, incrementally over time, from 2013.
Waiting times are monitored continually, and in response to recent increases, we have conducted a national recruitment exercise of judicial office-holders as a result of which, 225 new medical members and 119 disability-qualified members have been appointed to the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS). Additionally, 250 fee-paid judges and 100 salaried judges are being recruited across tribunals more widely.
Five of the newly-appointed fee paid judges, 29 medically qualified panel member and 14 disability qualified panel members have been deployed to sit at SSCS tribunal venues serving the St Helens, Wigan and Liverpool areas.
In addition, we have recently launched a new digital service with the aim of enabling speedier processing of appeals and to provide a better service for all parties to the proceedings. This will increase capacity, helping to reduce waiting times for appellants. Information on the new digital service can be found at:
We are also taking forward initiatives with potential to increase the capacity and performance of the tribunal: for instance, introducing case management “triage” sessions, with the aim of reducing the time taken for appeals to reach final determination. All these measures will increase the capacity of the tribunal, with the aim of reducing waiting times for appellants.