The latest quarterly tribunal statistics published by the Ministry of Justice show a 40% increase in the number of employment and support allowance (ESA) appeals between the periods April to June 2011 and April to June 2012.
Of the 102,300 appeals received overall by the Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) appeals service between April and June 2012 59% related to ESA, a figure referred to in the report as the “highest proportion to date”. The reason purported by the Ministry to explain this increase in ESA appeals is that both Atos and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) “are processing cases at a faster rate than they had previously been able to, as a result of increased resources”.
A total of 51% of the 102,000 SSCS cases disposed of related to ESA, disposal meaning withdrawn, settled, dismissed or decided at appeal. The actual number of cases dealt with at appeal hearings fell by around 300.
42% of ESA appeals were found in appellants’ favour. Little progress seems to have been made in providing adequate statistics around disposals in terms of differentiating the figures for appeals that have been withdrawn or dismissed before getting to tribunal.
In terms of the time taken for ESA appeals to be heard the statistics suggest a fall in waiting times, with 25% taking nine weeks or less, 50% taking fourteen weeks or less, and 75% taking twenty-five weeks or less. The fall in waiting times is explained as possibly being “related to the policy of dealing with older cases first and thus reducing the number of older cases”.
The report can be found here