The Tribunals Service has been unable to keep up with the rapid rise in appeals, caused primarily by an increase in the number of personal independence payment (PIP) challenges, according to a report released last week.
The ‘Senior President of Tribunals’ Annual Report’ reveals that “the rapid rise in appeal numbers has outstripped our ability to recruit and train sufficient numbers of panel members to keep pace”.
Appeals reached a peak of over half a million a year before plummeting to 112,000 in 2014-15, after the DWP introduced its cynical mandatory reconsideration before appeal system.
However numbers are rising again.
Appeals went up to 157,000 in 2016, to 228,000 in 2017 and to 238,00 in 2018.
The Tribunals Service has been desperately recruiting more panel members to try to cope with the increase in demand.
In the last year they have appointed 130 new judges, 225 medically qualified members and 125 disability qualified members.
Others steps have also been taken to try to deal with demand.
These include cramming more PIP appeals into each session and trying to resolve more cases before they reach a hearing.
In addition, a pilot for the new online resolution system is due to begin shortly.