The duty imposed by the Social Security Act 1998 on the President of Appeal Tribunals to report on the standards of decision-making has now passed to the Senior President of Tribunals as part of the reform of tribunals heralded by the introduction of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. The Senior President has delegated this duty to me as President of the Social Entitlement Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal. Jurisdiction over social security and child support appeals now sits within this Chamber.
In last year’s report I alluded to the changes that were being proposed and suggested that this might provide an opportune moment to review where we are in terms of progress in improving decision-making and seek new ways of delivering feedback in the light of the empirical evidence. It has not proved possible to do so at the time of writing the current report which is why for the current year the established methodology continues, although some aspects of the presentation are slightly different. I remain hopeful that focussed, practical and instrumental information by way of feedback can effect significant change in the standards of administrative decision-making, and I have begun discussions with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission to find more appropriate ways of doing so in future.
In the meantime I remain indebted to the tribunal judges and members who have completed the sample questionnaires that provide the information in the report, the clerks and operational staff who coordinate sampling at the venues and the President’s Support Team who oversee the process and draw together the information.
President of the Social Entitlement Chamber, First-tier Tribunal.