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Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

Volume 129: debated on Thursday 10 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if there has been any improvement since the answer of 20 November 1987, Official Report, column 716, in the length of time taken by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to process cases; and if he will make a statement.

The latest annual report of the board, (Cm. 265), copies of which are in the Library, shows at paragraph 7 that 50 per cent. of cases resolved in the financial year 1986–87 were decided within a year of application. The increase in the time taken to resolve cases reflects the backlog of cases caused by a large rise in applications over recent years.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, when he next meets the chairman of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, he will raise with him the reasons for the number of apologies sent to applicants because of delays in dealing with cases; and if he will make a statement

Delays in dealing with applications arise from the board's substantially increased work load over the last few years. The number of applications received in 1986–87 was about 42,300, higher than in any previous year and about 2,500 more than in 1985–86. To help reduce the delays in dealing with applications the Government provided £77 million for the criminal injuries compensation scheme in the Estimates for this financial year — an increase of £33 million over previously planned provision — and plan to make £81 million available in 1988–89 and £89 million in 1989–90. This increased privision will finance a rise in the number of compensation payments and has enabled the board to recruit 90 additional staff at its new office in Glasgow who will help to deal with the backlog of claims.