§ Mr. Ron Davies
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when his Department received an appeal against a refusal of disability living allowance in respect of Mr. D. W. J. Partridge of 167 Sycamore court, Bargoed; and when he expects to adjudicate that appeal.
§ Mr. Scott
The administration of disability living allowance is a matter for Mr. Michael Bichard, the chief executive of the Benefits Agency. He will write shortly to the hon. Member and a copy will be placed in the Library.
Letter from M. Bichard to Mr. Ron Davies, dated 18 March 1993:As Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency, it is my responsibility to answer questions raised about relevant operational matters. I am therefore replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security asking when the department received an appeal against a refusal of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in respect of Mr. D. W. J. Partridge of 167 Sycamore court, Bargoed; and when he expects to adjudicate that appeal.Communications with Mr. Partridge have revealed that he wrote to the Disability Living Allowance Unit (DLAU) requesting an appeal on or about 29 July 1992. Unfortunately, there is no trace of an appeal letter having been received.On 12 August Mr. Partridge completed a DLA claim pack which was received at Cardiff Disability Benefits Centre on 17 August and in the DLAU on 26 August. On behalf of the Secretary of State, the date of receipt of the DLA claim pack has been accepted as the date of appeal.Urgent action is now being taken to prepare the appeal submission and to forward the case to the Independent Tribunal Service (ITS) so that the appeal can be heard. We will request an urgent listing but as the ITS is entirely independent the timing of the hearing will ultimately rest with them.I am sorry that there has been so little action following Mr. Partridge's appeal. You will be aware from my letter of 19 October 1992 to all MPs of the problems the Benefits Agency has faced since the launch of DLA and the positive steps being taken to improve the situation. Since then, further steps have been taken to ensure that appeals are promptly actioned including recruiting additional staff to prepare appeal submissions.I am sorry that Mr. Partridge did not receive the standard of service to which every customer is entitled. Such matters are not taken lightly and every effort is being made to improve the quality of service to all our customers. I have written to you separately and in greater detail about this matter.I hope that you find this reply helpful. A copy will appear in the Official Report and a copy will also be placed in the Library.