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John's picture
Joined: 09/03/2008

Total Statistics for all claims - not HIV specific.


 The total number of disability living allowance< cases where the Department of Work and Pensions<lost on appeal in the latest period for which figures are available was:


30,606 (50.5 per cent.) from a total of 60,600 cases cleared at hearing between October 2007 and October 2008.

The total number of incapacity benefits cases where the department for work and pensions lost on appeal in the latest period for which figures are available was:

25,970 (44.7 per cent.) from a total of 58,085 cases cleared at hearing between October 2007 and October 2008.

The tribunal only records the outcome of appeals and not the reason.

anonymous (not verified)
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anonymous (not verified)
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kevin's picture
Joined: 09/03/2009

Decision making and appeals in the benefits system - Work and Pensions Committee Contents<<

Pensions, Disability and Carers Service

  • A perception still existed amongst claimants that the tribunal was an arm of the DWP; it was important to make clear that this was not the case. The tribunal was an opportunity for facts and evidence to be tested in an oral hearing; claimants could bring representation if they wished.
  • The DWP does not present every case. The DWP presenting officer is an "amicus curiae", not there to "win" the case for the Department, but to assist the tribunal by outlining the claim, the evidence and reasons for the decision. The presenting officer can not make a decision.
  • After the hearing, the presenting officer reviews the decision; provides feedback to the DM; where necessary calls for a written statement of reasons; and deals with any queries from the appellant.
  • There is a medically qualified member of the tribunal for DLA/AA, ESA and IB cases.
  • The strengths of tribunals were identified as their clear independence and the opportunity for face to face discussion, submission of new evidence and challenges to evidence provided.
  • The weaknesses identified were expense; stress for appellants; and the lack of incentive for new evidence to be provided by appellants before the hearing (which might aid the reconsideration process).
  • The high levels of turnovers at appeal for DLA cases were not a reflection of poor decision making but were due to the discretion of the tribunal on meeting the appellant and making a face to face assessment of the evidence. DLA and ESA cases all required an exercise of judgment; the opportunity to question a claimant in person may lead to a different judgment.


Tribunals Service

  • Tribunal benefit appeals were categorised as follows:


Appeal Type 1 Appeal Type 3 Appeal Type 4 Appeal Type 5
Income Support Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Incapacity Benefit Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
Retirement Pension Attendance Allowance Employment Support Allowance Vaccine Damage
Child Benefit     Road Traffic and Excess Allowances
Child Support     Compensation Recovery
Tax Credits     Severe Disablement Allowance
Statutory Sick Pay      
Statutory Maternity Pay      
Housing Benefit      
Council Tax Benefit      


  • The tribunal composition for each type of appeal was as follows:

    • Appeal Type 1—1 lawyer, 1 financial member (in some Child Support cases).
    • Appeal Type 3—1 Judge, 1 doctor, 1 disability member.
    • Appeal Type 4—1 Judge, 1 medical member.
    • Appeal Type 5—1 Judge, 1 Senior medical member.
  • Procedural changes, including removing the requirement that the TAS1 form sent to appellants be returned within 14 days, meant that fewer appeals were now being "struck out" on procedural grounds.
  • There had been a very significant rise in the intake in 2009-10 to date; the increase was particularly large for Type 4 appeals (Incapacity Benefit and ESA). The Tribunals Service expects the number of appeals for 2009-10 to be in excess of 300,000. This was placing a strain on resources.

Intake of Cases

Appeal Type 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 (to September)
1 and 2 76595 81931 40533
3 74482 73662 34445
4 70619 79571 62960
5, 6 and 7 7434 7666 2916


  • Three-quarters of cases are seen within 14 weeks but there was evidence of real pressure of volume in the system having an impact on waiting times.
  • Advice for appellants is available through the government website, Welfare Groups, Citizen Advice Bureaux etc. and appellants are provided with a leaflet on "How to Appeal". The Tribunals Service held 50 local user forums in 2009. 69% of customers had responded positively when asked about the process.
  • The Tribunals Service was engaging with DWP in a strategic review of processes, using LEAN techniques to remove waste and delays, to focus on improving the "end to end" service to appellants. It was also running strategic workshops with DWP (November 2009 to March 2010) to agree service improvements.


DMA Leeds

  • The Decision Making and Appeals unit in Leeds comprised 77 staff (68 fte) working in 7 teams, dealing with guidance, appeals and support for decision makers.
  • Teams specialise in particular benefits or subjects (such as overpayments); the authors team is responsible for writing and updating the Decision Makers Guide (which is also available to claimants and their advisers on the internet).
  • The Appeals work involves writing submissions to the Upper Tribunal on claimant and Secretary of State appeals on benefits, child support and compensation recovery; supporting DWP lawyers on appeals to the higher courts; and deciding whether to take appeals to the Upper Tribunal and higher courts on behalf of the Secretary of State in consultation with policy and legal colleagues.
  • In addition to work on the DMG, the unit is responsible for maintaining the Code of Appeals Procedures and the Suspension and Termination Guidance; maintaining parts of the Housing Benefit Guidance Manual which is used by Local Authorities; and maintaining DWP intranet/internet sites where these documents are published.
  • The Guidance work comprises responding to specific case guidance queries sent by Decision Makers; maintaining and moderating a DWP intranet Discussion Group for Decision Makers; delivering seminars to Decision Makers to discuss specific issues. The team also comments on policy papers on proposed changes to the benefits system; drafts instructions to lawyers to write new legislation; drafts legislation; and produces training material and procedural guidance.
  • During 2008-09, DMA Leeds recorded the following activity statistics:

Written requests for guidance

Number of priority requests received:     1,821

Number of priority requests cleared:    1,827  

Average number of working days to clear

from date of receipt:         5

Number of non-priority requests received:   1,558  

Number of non-priority requests cleared:  1,554  

Average number of working days to clear

from date of receipt:         8

Appeals to the Upper Tribunal

Number of appeals made by the claimant:     1529

Number of appeals made by the Secretary of State:   131

Decision Makers submitted 570 potential cases to DMA Leeds for consideration to appeal to the Upper Tribunal but many are thought unsuitable to pursue.