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Annual Reports

Foreword

Appeals Office - Annual Report 2003

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To The Minister For Social And Family Affairs, Mary Coughlan, T.D.

Cuirim tuairisc maidir le gníomhartha na hOifige Achomhairc Leasa Shóisialaigh i 2003 faoi bhreith de réir fhorálacha Ailt 254(1) den Acht Leasa Shóisialaigh (Comhdlúthú). 1993.

In accordance with the provisions of Section 254(1) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 1993, I submit the report of the Social Welfare Appeals Office for 2003.

Cyril Havelin
Chief Appeals Officer

April 2004

Foreword

Good progress was made by the Appeals Office in 2003. We had a full cadre of Appeals Officers throughout the year, and, thankfully, no major time losses. We were, therefore, able to make good progress in improving turnaround times and reducing the number of appeals on hands.

A good work performance is obviously very satisfying from a managerial point of view. However, I, and all the staff of this office, are very aware that at the core of our business the focus must be on the service we provide at an individual level to each of the many thousands of appellants each year. Our main challenge is in trying to ensure that each person who avails of his or her right to appeal is treated fairly, gets a good opportunity to put their view forward and receives the best decision we can make on their case.

This report tries to give some general idea as to how we conducted our overall business last year. Hopefully, through commentary, statistics and case examples we can give a reasonable flavour of what we did during 2003. What is not so easily conveyed is the respect with which we treat each appeal and the concern we have to ensure that the law is correctly applied in each and every case. In many instances appellants do not get the decision for which they hoped. Notwithstanding that, we can at least assure everyone who calls on our services that we try very hard to "get it right", everytime.

In this report I do not propose to go into detail on how the system works - I hope the case commentaries will give a reasonable idea of what appellants may experience when they avail of the appeals system. Anyone wishing to get information on the functions, rules and procedures of the office can do so via the Department of Social and Family Affairs website, www.welfare.ie, which hosts the relevant appeals information. There is also a comprehensive booklet which can be obtained from the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

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