Decision Making and Appeals in the Benefits System

HC 313, Second Report of Session 2009-10 Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence

House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee
TSO (The Stationery Office)

In this report, 'Decision Making and Appeals in the Benefits System (HC 313)' the Work and Pensions Committee reiterates its call for the establishment of a Welfare Commission to create a fairer and simpler benefits system that claimants can understand and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) can administer more accurately.

The report concludes that the vast majority of decisions DWP makes are accepted by claimants and lead to the right benefits being paid on time to those who are eligible. However, the level of official error in the benefits system has increased substantially since 2000-01. The level of overpayments due to official error has risen from 0.4 billion (0.4% of benefits paid) to 0.8 billion (0.6% of benefits paid) in 2008-09. Although the Department has made great strides in reducing fraud, this increase in error should be a cause for concern.

The report also highlights a worrying lack of response to scrutiny of the decision making and appeals (DMA) system by DWP. A former President of the Appeal Tribunals, Judge Robert Martin, felt his reports were effectively ignored, and there is evidence that the Decision Making Standards Committee lacks influence. There should be a much more constructive response to scrutiny. Another area that seems not to be working as effectively or as quickly as it should is the reconsideration process - the review of decisions - and the Department should examine this urgently.

Extent 248 pages ISBN 9780215543875
Size A4 Price £23.00
Format Paperback Published 09 Feb 2010
Availability Colour copy: 3 - 5 days Availability help (opens in new window) Delivery Delivery options and charges
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