Cllr Lynn Frazer stated that: “In the year 2009-2010, 36% of all decisions were overturned at the Appeal Tribunal. The appeals process is an essential tool for applicants, however, a 36% turn over on decisions serves to indicate that there are problems with the whole application process. Not only does this waste the resources and money of the Department for Social Development (DSD) and other involved agencies, it also wastes the applicants time and adds to the stress involved.
“Some of the recommendations include a call for the DSD to re-assess the arrangements currently in place for the production of medical evidence to support the DLA self-assessment application form; and that an agreed end-to-end target is set as a key performance indicator.
Cllr Frazer believes that these are important areas to be improved upon but would like to see the recommendations go further.
“The end-to-end target and publishing of performance information is particularly welcome. It is only reasonable that an applicant should quickly know why the decision has gone against them.
“It is also a case that too often decisions are being over turned because of a lack of medical evidence. We are seeing that the evidence is often there to be found, but until too late. We should make sure that all evidence has been explored before a decision is made.
“However, this is not far reaching enough. With a 36% turn over on decisions, there are a lot of applicants being put through an excessively lengthy process from start to finish. The application process is too long and complicated. By making things simpler we can increase the number of applications that have been given the right decision in the first place.
“A long, drawn-out process only adds to the stress and heartache involved for those already suffering, and that is totally unacceptable.”