I dare say that we will have the consultation, we will all take part in it, it will come up with exactly the same answer as the previous consultations and the Government will seek to damage it to defend their own monopoly, which they do not need to do. More importantly, they will do the most extraordinary thing: they will maintain the regulation that prevents charities from increasing the funds that they can raise. I know of no other piece of law, in this country or anywhere else in the world, whereby a Government prevent charities from raising funds for their own charitable causes. It is a pity, but no doubt we will return to this at a later stage in the Bill. In the mean time, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 81 withdrawn.

Clause 61: Repeal of Senior President of Tribunals’ duty to report on standards

Debate on whether Clause 61 should stand part of the Bill.

Lord Sharkey (LD): My Lords, Section 15A(2) and (3) of the Social Security Act 1998 require the Senior President of Tribunals to publish an annual report on the standards of decision-making in the making of certain decisions of the Secretary of State against which an appeal lies to the First-tier Tribunal. The Joint Committee on the draft Bill, of which I was a member, noted that most cases presented to the First-tier Tribunal relate to the employment and support allowance and the disability allowance, which of course are being replaced by universal credit and personal independence payments under the Welfare Reform Act 2012.

The committee also noted that concerns had been raised about the timing of this repeal, which comes at a time of very significant changes to the benefits system and an increase in the number of appeals. It also comes at a time when almost half the appeals against DWP rulings have been successful. It is not surprising that the Commons Justice Committee pointed out that the repeal,

“comes against a background of disapprobatory reports published by the Senior President of Tribunals on the standards achieved by the Department of Work and Pensions and … Atos”.

The Joint Committee heard evidence that the transparency and accessibility of the current system, and the fact that it offered an acceptable route for the judiciary to comment, were arguments to retain the duty to report. The Government, in evidence, argued that the report was unnecessary because there were alternative methods for providing feedback. It was also suggested that the report was expensive to produce.

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The Government expanded on this in their formal January 2014 response to the Joint Committee’s report. In four short paragraphs in the formal response, the Government made four points. First, they asserted that they had mitigated the risks involved in repeal at a time of significant changes to the benefits system and a rise in the number of appeals. This was simply an assertion; no evidence was offered in support. I would be grateful if the Minister would outline the evidence that supports that assertion.

Secondly, the Government claimed that it was important, during the introduction of benefit appeals, that feedback was as timely and useful as could be, and new initiatives such as the introduction of summary reasons reflected this. It is important to note that this is not an argument in favour of repealing the duty to report annually; it is an argument for additional reporting, one that is in fact promoted in the senior president’s annual reports.

Thirdly, the Government assert that the removal of the duty to report on DWP decision-making standards is not an attempt to remove transparency or accountability in the assessment of decision-making standards. Rather, it represents an attempt to reform the way in which decision-makers receive feedback from the tribunal, to ensure that the feedback is as useful as possible.

Again, this is not an argument in favour of repeal of the duty to report annually. If anything, it is an argument in favour of more frequent data-sharing, something the senior president’s reports have been in favour of and have arguably, even, brought about. More importantly, even if the proposed repeal is not an attempt to remove transparency or accountability, that would certainly be its effect.

The Government’s fourth point was that statistics, including volume and overturn rates, would continue to be published quarterly. These statistics would not, of course, benefit from commentary or analysis from the Senior President of Tribunals. They would simply be data.

Those were the four points advanced by the Government in response to the Joint Committee’s report. They make no mention of cost. However, cost was a reason for repeal mentioned in evidence the Government gave to the Joint Committee. It was also given as the first reason for repeal by Mr Vara in a Commons Written Answer to Mr Timms. Mr Vara said:

“The duty is to be repealed because of the high cost of producing the report and because of developments of alternative methods of providing feedback to the DWP which make the report unnecessary”.—[Official Report, Commons, col. 900W, 18/10/13.]

He goes on to give only one example of these alternative methods: the introduction of summary reasons for decisions in employment support allowance cases. This means that judges explain via one line in a drop-down menu box why a decision has been overturned on appeal. Mr Vara claimed that this provided the DWP with an effective feedback mechanism. He also says that he is not aware of the DWP receiving representations on the removal of the duty. That last point is perhaps not very surprising: there was no formal consultation on this clause and no impact assessment. When the

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Minister responds, I would be grateful if he could say whether the senior president and the other tribunal presidents were consulted about the repeal, and if they were, what the response was.

However, I return to the issue of cost, which was advanced by Mr Vara as the first reason for repeal and by the Government in their evidence to the Joint Committee. Cost was not mentioned in the Government’s response to the Joint Committee’s report so it is reasonable to ask if the Government still think that the cost of producing the annual report is a reason for its repeal.

In a Written Question tabled 10 days ago I asked the Government to specify the actual cost of these reports. The Minister’s reply said:

“Preparation of the report costs approximately £20,000 in judicial time each year; however this is within their salaried hours, so there is no additional cost beyond their salary. There are some associated printing costs, but records of these are not held centrally”.—[Official Report, col. WA273, 06/11/14.]

In the light of that answer, perhaps the Minister can say whether the Government still consider the cost of the annual report to be an argument for repeal, and if they do—given the figures—why they do.

The second broad argument the Government use for repeal is that there are alternative methods for providing feedback. Given the enormous increase in appeals over social security and child support, this need for alternative methods of feedback is hardly surprising. In 2011-12, there were 371,000 such cases. In 2012-13, there were 507,000 such cases—a 37% increase. In the first six months of 2013-14, from April to September, there were 290,000 appeals. The sheer volume of cases demands that the DWP does not wait for a year to find out why its decisions have been overturned.

In fact, in the latest Senior President of Tribunals’ annual report, published in February this year, the author notes that a scheme was introduced in July 2012 whereby the tribunal would notify the department, in each case where it overturned a departmental decision, of the principal factors leading the tribunal to allow the claimant’s appeal. That is the drop-down menu box, one-line summary that Mr Vara referred to as an effective feedback mechanism. However, after running that drop-down menu approach for a year, the DWP concluded that a more narrative explanation by the tribunal would afford the department greater insight into any shortcomings in the process of departmental decision-making. In other words, narrative was valuable. Narrative is, of course, provided in the annual report.

4.30 pm

In any event, it seems clear that the Government are confusing the need for quicker and more narrative feedback with the real purpose of an annual report. The annual report has functions other than the provision of data. Critically, it is a public and transparent document. It places in the public domain a professional assessment of DWP decision-making in the hundreds of thousands of cases that come before the tribunals. Correspondence between the tribunals and the DWP, no matter how timely or even how narrative, is not a substitute for a public and transparent assessment of DWP decision-making in the critical areas. Such correspondence,

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data supply and narratives are clearly necessary, but they are not the same thing as an open and public report. They do not serve the same purpose or have the same utility.

I am conscious that our debate on this issue may seem rather dry and abstract, and an observer may be forgiven for wondering whether any of this actually matters. The answer is that it matters very much indeed. The DWP decisions and the tribunal judgments affect the lives of some of the most hard-pressed and disadvantaged people in our society. Those decisions have profoundly life-changing effects. Our record with ATOS, for example, in getting these decisions right is not grounds for confidence in the processes of decision-making.

There will probably be getting on for 600,000 appeals this year. That is 600,000 families likely to be affected by the decisions taken by the DWP and reviewed by the tribunal. We need to know how well these decisions are being taken, we need that review to be conducted by people outside the DWP, and we need it to be in the public domain and available for debate. We need the senior president to continue his annual report on DWP and other decision-making. The annual report is not a regulatory burden. It costs nothing. It gets in the way of nothing and it helps us make better decisions—decisions that profoundly affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Clause 61 should not be part of the Bill and I very much hope that the Minister will agree to reconsider.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I will briefly add to what the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, has said. In the original draft Bill that the Joint Committee scrutinised, the Ministry of Justice was the only government department that brought forward proposals of which none had been formally consulted on—not one. Although we are debating Clause 61, Clauses 62, 63, 64 and 65 are all MoJ clauses and none of them has ever been consulted on formally. This is a Christmas tree Bill with 100 different subjects—we could not look at everything, and looked at stuff on the basis of evidence. It was unique in the sense that we had one department that brought forward a range of proposals that it had not consulted on. In a way, this is given away in Clause 61 itself. Line 5 refers to,

“an annual report on standards of decision-making”.

That is the giveaway really. I have to say that the Government’s response was a bit unsatisfactory.

We need to have this short debate, however few minutes it lasts, because, to the best of my knowledge, this is where the defects arise because there is so much going on and this Bill is now much more massive than it was. I have no complaint about that; I am just stating a fact. As parliamentarians, we need further and better particulars. We did not get many to start with, which is why we did not deal with a lot of the Bill. We also had little time to do our job because we were constrained by having to report back to Parliament by 16 December.

The Ministry of Justice appears to be a bit flaky on the administration of justice in a way. That is how I would sum it up, not just on this issue but on others as well, although I am not going to go down the route of

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listing things. Cost was used as an argument on this, but we never had any costs or alternatives, even though, given the number of changes in the benefit system, that would have seemed a good idea.

As far as I am aware, in the representations we had from the authors of these reports they did not say that it would be a good idea if they did not have to do them. I have not checked all the evidence on the issue I raised last week, but the fact is that the Ministers have been more up-to-date than us. I thought it was worth raising that issue in this Committee, and I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, if only for flagging this up for Report.

There is an issue here. There were one or two issues on which the Joint Committee did not spend a lot of time, but expressed a bit of concern. Last week the debate on marine accidents showed that as well. It was not a massive issue in the committee, but as time has gone on, it seems as though the importance of the legislation is crucial; obviously I agree with deregulation. The Bill is therefore an opportunity that we should not miss. However, in this case the Government will have to come forward on Report with a much better argument for keeping Clause 61 than they have given so far.

Baroness Donaghy (Lab): My Lords, I promise that I will be very brief. I was thinking of Lord Newton of Braintree when the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, moved this amendment—I am sorry that there is only one Conservative in the Room. As Members will know, Lord Newton was chair of the Council on Tribunals, and later chair of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council. He argued very strongly against the government proposal to abolish the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council. I only wish he was alive today, and I hope he is looking down at us. I am sure that he would have been delighted by the way in which the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, moved this amendment. I am sure that I am not alone in this House in missing him. When I was chair of ACAS I worked very closely with the then senior chairman—as they were called in those days—of the Employment Tribunals Service, my noble friend Lord Noon. He was part of the administrative tribunals system, and I also met Lord Newton on a number of occasions when he was performing the duties of the senior president.

This is part of the chipping away of tribunals. It may not seem very much on its own, but it is part of squeezing the tribunals together—which had totally different functions and history—cutting them back and now not even allowing transparency of decision-making. Also, as a former member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, I believe that this fails the test of transparency and openness. It is extremely worrying that we have these kinds of developments. It may seem a very small part of a very large Bill, but I hope very much that the Government will reconsider this in the name of transparency and good decision-making.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Lab): My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, and my noble friends Lord Rooker and Lady Donaghy have carefully outlined

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why this clause should not stand part of the Bill, and I very much support the points they have made. I pay tribute in particular to the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, who made an excellent contribution with some excellent points. All I will say to the noble Lord is, if we do not get the answer he wants today, I hope he will come back to this on Report. If he presses it to a vote, he will find plenty of support on our side of the House and, I am sure, on the Cross Benches as well. This is a very bad clause.

I very much agree with the comments my noble friend Lady Donaghy made about Lord Newton, who would certainly have been on his feet in this Committee and in the Chamber, opposing this, as he did the many other things the present Government brought in regarding welfare.

To remove the duty from the Senior President of Tribunals to produce an annual report on the standard of decision-making by the DWP on appeals to the First-tier Tribunal is a matter of much regret. I am sure that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wallace of Tankerness, will tell the Grand Committee—as his friend in the other place, Mr Vara, told my right honourable friend Mr Stephen Timms, as was outlined by the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey—that it is all to do with the high cost of producing the report and that the development of alternative methods means that getting feedback in is much easier now and it is all going to be fine. I am sure we are going to be told that the introduction of summary reasons for decisions in employment support allowance cases means that judges can explain why a decision has been overturned on appeal and provide feedback to the department in an effective way, and that this is not necessary.

I was going to ask the noble and learned Lord about costs but the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, jumped in and put down a very good Parliamentary Question. I think that the issue of costs has now been shot down completely. We are talking about a very small sum.

My noble friend Lord Rooker also mentioned what went on at the DWP Committee. I saw the comments by His Honour Judge Martin in his evidence to the committee. He pointed out the problems and errors that are repeated year after year, with no sign that anyone in the department takes any notice of feedback from tribunals, and that concerns are just not dealt with.

I think the real reason for the clause is that the report has become an embarrassment for the Government. They want to sweep it away—as my noble friend Lady Donaghy said, this is not transparent—so that the annual assessment is not there and they do not have to look at it or address it. That is a really bad thing to do and they need to come back on that.

If the issue is the £20,000 cost of the report, did the Government look at any other ways that this could be done? Does it have to be a glossy report? Can it not be, as the noble Lord suggested, a more regular communication—a letter, perhaps—where the tribunal could highlight the problems it has seen coming forward? It could be every three months or six months. It could be made public. If the Senior President of Tribunals sees problems, there must be a way for him to communicate that to the department and not just leave it to people

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who will look at judgments and make a decision. That seems a wholly ineffective way of doing that. Perhaps the noble and learned Lord could reflect on that before we come back.

This is a bad clause. Obviously, it cannot be voted on today. I hope that if we do not get an answer today, the noble Lord, Lord Sharkey, will come back to this on Report. As I said, he will have our support.

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): My Lords, I thank my noble friend Lord Sharkey, the noble Baroness, Lady Donaghy, and the noble Lords, Lord Rooker and Lord Kennedy, for their contributions to this clause stand part debate. It is only right and proper that we are challenged as a Government as to why we want Clause 61 in the Bill. I will certainly seek to address the issues and will reflect on the points that have been raised. But there is a good basis for why we might wish to remove this particular, very limited, form of reporting.

Clause 61 repeals a specific and separate duty placed on the Senior President of Tribunals to report annually to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the standard of certain decision-making by the Department for Work and Pensions; namely, decisions whose associated appeal rights are resolved at the First-tier Tribunal: Social Security and Child Support. The duty was introduced in 2007 and replicated an equivalent duty on the then President of Appeal Tribunals, who had produced a separate annual report since 2000.

I cannot agree with the charge that the underlying motivation for this is to reduce transparency. I say to the noble Baroness, Lady Donaghy, who made that charge, that in fact Section 15A of the 1998 Act applies only in two other small respects. One is where ministerial responsibility for certain decisions about national insurance contributions by carers was transferred from the Department for Work and Pensions to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. The second relates to decisions converting certain previous entitlements to employment and support allowance. Otherwise, there are no other areas in this field where a separate statutory duty applies to the Senior President of Tribunals. It is very limited in its application and I will come on to say why I think there are other measures that are effective and provide for proper transparency, which I agree is important. I am confident that we can remove this requirement in a way that narrows our focus without compromising necessary improvements which previous reports have highlighted and meets the concerns that have been raised should it disappear.

4.45 pm

Perhaps I may articulate three particular reasons why I think we can move forward with that degree of confidence. First, the Senior President of Tribunals now reports annually on all tribunals. This wider report was first published in 2010 and includes specific comments in respect of all the jurisdictions within the tribunals system, including a specific contribution from the president of the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. Although the wider report was first published in 2010, it is the more specific requirement and duty which is the subject matter of this clause.

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This clause will not change the wider report from the Senior President of Tribunals. As now, that report will be able to include specific comments on the performance of the Department for Work and Pensions and on any other government department or agency as the senior president considers necessary and appropriate.

That reporting from the Senior President of Tribunals is quite separate from the statutory power contained in paragraph 13 of Schedule 1 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 for the senior president to lay representations before Parliament on any matters which appear to him to be of importance relating to the administration of justice by tribunals. As well as the annual report, a statutory power is available to the Senior President of Tribunals if particular issues are giving concern. He can specifically lay those before Parliament. The Senior President of Tribunals has confirmed that he is satisfied that, together, these measures will ensure that the appropriate transparency in Department for Work and Pensions decision-making remains. My noble friend Lord Sharkey asked whether he was consulted. I have indicated that he has confirmed that the measures that now remain are sufficient, and my understanding is that he was consulted before the change was proposed.

More generally in relation to consultation—the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, referred to the MoJ clauses in the Bill; that is, Clauses 62, 63 and 64—although there was no public consultation on those clauses, which concern criminal justice practice, there was consultation with the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee, on which all who are active in the criminal justice system are represented. Moreover, the rule committee will undertake consultation on any proposed rules changes which it considers necessary. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, has a specific issue with regard to Clause 64. Of course, there was consultation at the time on that clause which we will deal with.

The second reason why I believe that this is an appropriate measure relates to why the report was thought to be required in the first place. The specific requirement to report on decision-making in the Department for Work and Pensions was originally introduced at a time when there were no other mechanisms for providing feedback. However, in addition to the new requirements and provisions introduced in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, effective, direct and, above all, timely methods for the tribunals to provide feedback to the department have been developed which have made unnecessary either the provision of a separate report or the retention of a specific requirement to report on decision-making in the DWP.

In July 2013, Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service improved the level of feedback provided by the tribunal by introducing the use of summary reasons—mentioned by my noble friend Lord Sharkey—in the employment and support allowance appeals, initially at four sites. Under this initiative, a judge provides both parties with a short explanation for the decision reached. Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service, working with the judiciary and the Department for Work and Pensions, has now rolled out the provision of summary reasons across the system to all employment and support allowance appeals, which historically have

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accounted for by far the largest proportion of all appeals heard by the tribunal, as well as to personal independence payment appeals.

Working with the judiciary, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service is currently exploring the options for extending the provision of summary reasons to other benefit appeals. We believe that this initiative has provided a rich source of information and is helping to inform improvements to Department for Work and Pensions decision-making processes. The previous annual report highlighted shortcomings in DWP decision-making but, by the very nature of that report, it would do so some time after they were identified. That is the nature of annual reports, and it would mean that they would start to be addressed possibly up to 12 months after they had been identified.

With regard to the new processes, my noble friend Lord Sharkey asked whether the drop-down menu gave a sufficient feedback mechanism. We believe that the drop-down menu provides an indication of trends and allows the DWP to understand any systemic problems. If an individual claimant wanted to appeal, they would receive a full, reasoned decision. However, the drop-down menu allows for a volume of information to go through in appeals, from which trends can be identified. Where there is evidence of a trend, surely it is in everyone’s interests and to everyone’s benefit that the DWP is made aware of that sooner rather than later, and we believe that the summary reasons do just that.

The third reason points to much improved liaison between the judiciary, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and the department. We have also improved the day-to-day working relationship with the DWP—for example, through the Administrative Justice Forum. I am told that neither side is slow to tell the other if things are not working as well as they could be, and problems are addressed without delay.

A number of noble Lords have mentioned the question of cost. I will not say that this is my best point; I remember, from my days appearing before the late Lord Wheatley in the Court of Criminal Appeal in Scotland, that I would make a point and he would turn on the bench and say, “Mr Wallace, is that your best point?” You knew at that point that you were sunk. Still, I hope that I have put forward a few very good points. I think that there is an issue on cost, though. My noble friend Lord Sharkey was right when he referred to the £20,000 saving in judicial time. I do not think that that is to be dismissed; it means that that is time not available for doing judicial work, and the Senior President of Tribunals has indicated that he would much rather have the tribunal judges hearing cases than dealing with this very specific reporting responsibility.

At the end of the day, though, as I think all who have contributed to this debate have indicated, our focus should really be on the claimant. Through its own reforms—for example, through mandatory reconsideration and the drive on quality—the DWP is intent on raising its decision-making standards, and the provision of summary reasons by the judiciary plays a complementary part. Between them, they bring

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a focus on decision-making that simply was not there with the previous annual report. As I have explained, this clause does not affect the separate annual report by the Senior President of Tribunals on the annual performance of all tribunals within Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, but, rather, it recognises the changes that have been introduced since 2007 and that the retention of a separate requirement to report on this aspect of the DWP’s work specifically is unnecessary. The annual report by the Senior President of Tribunals already permits him to report on the performance of each of the jurisdictions in the system. This, along with the separate statutory power for him to lay representations before Parliament on matters of importance relating to the administration of justice by tribunals, will ensure that the appropriate transparency and decision-making by the DWP will remain.

We have referred to the annual report; indeed my noble friend Lord Sharkey quoted from the 2014 report from the Senior President of Tribunals. I think that he will readily acknowledge that the passage he quoted from comes from the section dealing with the Social Entitlement Chamber. Indeed, just before the part that he read out, and this may be worth reading for the Committee’s benefit, the report says this:

“Given the common interest of administrative justice in improving the standard of departmental decisions, the Tribunal is exploring economical methods of providing feedback to DWP. An annual report from the President, based on a small sample of appeals, lacked practical value because it did not allow detailed analysis”.

We then get to the part quoted by my noble friend:

“So, a scheme was introduced in July 2012, whereby the Tribunal would notify the Department, in each case where it overturned a departmental decision, of the principal factor leading the Tribunal to allow the claimant’s appeal. Supplying that notification in a standardised format (via a “drop-down menu”) enabled the Department both to review overturned decisions in individual cases and to aggregate data across tens of thousands of decisions to identify any systemic shortcomings”.

The expression in the annual report from the Senior President of Tribunals is that the previous reporting system “lacked practical value” because it did not allow detailed analysis. It is that which we have sought to address by other means, which is why we believe that the provision as it currently stands on the statute book is redundant. I hope that I have reassured the Committee that in no way will that lead to any less transparency. Indeed, one would hope that through regular and more immediate reporting, trends can be picked up sooner than would have been the case under the previous system.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark: I am not convinced by the idea that this is some huge burdensome amount of work for the Senior President of Tribunals. If the senior president, having been relieved of this burden if this provision becomes law, picks up on matters that they feel that they need to write to the department about—maybe annually, every couple of years or so on over time—what would the Government’s response be? Would they make that letter public? There may be concerns here that the provision would not address. It would be useful if the Minister could comment on that.

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Would the Minister also comment on the £20,000 saved in judicial time? If they took some action on some of the points that have been raised by the tribunals, it might save far more than the £20,000 that is being talked about for this report.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: The points that the noble Lord raises are fair ones. He asks what happens if the Senior President of Tribunals has problems reported to him. We have indicated that there is now a process by which the department, through the drop-down menu scheme, does get regular indications of where there are problems, so they can be addressed. As I also indicated in my remarks, if the senior president thought that the DWP was systematically ignoring all of them, or if he thought that he had written a letter to the department and the department was still ignoring it and was not making it public, there is a separate statutory power available to him in paragraph 13 of Schedule 1 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 to lay representations before Parliament—before noble Lords and in the other place—of any,

“matters that appear to him to be matters of importance relating … to the administration of justice by tribunals”.

If he thought that there were systemic problems that were not being addressed and that his representations, or those from others within the tribunal system, were being routinely ignored, there is quite an important provision there which allows him to, as it were, leapfrog the Government and come directly to Parliament.

The noble Lord’s second question was about the £20,000 of judicial time that can be freed up. I am sure that it is not the only thing that can be done and that it does not come at the expense of other things. I am

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sure that there are many ways in which better decision-making through the mandatory reconsideration process should, hopefully, reduce the number of cases that are going forward and therefore allow such cases as are put forward to be dealt with more speedily. I hope that reassures the noble Lord.

Lord Sharkey: Obviously the opinion of the Senior President of Tribunals is very important and has a direct bearing on the debate today. However, because it is important—the Minister has prayed it in aid a couple of times—it is slightly surprising that this opinion did not appear in the Government’s response to the joint committee’s report. I wonder whether the Minister is able to tell me when the Senior President of Tribunals was asked for his opinion on repeal and on the workload of the other tribunal presidents.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: If I can I will certainly answer my noble friend’s question. I did ask previously whether it was before we included this clause in the Bill and was advised that that was the case. However, in February 2014, when he published his report, he did say that this particular provision that we are debating was of practical value. Although the Government maybe did not pray that in aid in response to the joint committee, the president did put on the record that he did not think there was much practical value when he reported in February 2014.

Clause 61 agreed.

Clauses 62 to 67 agreed.

Committee adjourned at 5 pm.