§ Mr. Chris Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 12 December,Official Report, column 623, how the throughput of incapacity benefit claims has been controlled; in what respects the cases processed so far are unrepresentative; what effect this is likely to have had on the proportion of successful claims; and when he expects to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of the benefit in meeting its objectives. 
§ Mr. Burt
The rate at which pre-April invalidity benefit cases are being scheduled for the all work test is being carefully controlled to ensure that the total work available, including new claims, does not exceed operational capacity. This gradual introduction of pre-April claims into the system means that the greater proportion of cases being processed are new claims which is unrepresentative of the case load as a whole. As it is not possible to estimate accurately the effect that this might have on the proportion of successful claims, it would be unwise to draw any firm conclusions about the effectiveness of the new procedures during this transitional period.
Detailed arrangements for the monitoring and evaluation of the changes are in place. It is too early to predict when definitive conclusions might be drawn.