To J Newman
C/o [Cais Rhyddid Gwybodaeth e-bost #106444 ]
DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
e-mail: [E-bost cais Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau]
DATE 11 July 2012
Dear J Newman,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request that was received by the Department for
Work and Pensions (DWP) Adelphi on 28 May 2012 and forwarded on 29 May for response by
the DWP Medical Services Contracts Correspondence Team (MSCCT) Freedom of
Information (FoI) Internal Reviewing Officer (IRO).
In your email you asked to be provided with information answering the following questions:- Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.
I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work and Pensions's handling of
my FOI request 'Atos FFW recommendations overturned by DWP 10/08 – 02/11'.
Firstly, I raised this question on 18th Feb as as yet have had no acceptable explanation as to
why it has taken over 3 months to respond.
Secondly, I am afraid there are a number of issues arising from your answer to question 1, that
you have either not addressed or have introduced:
In accordance with the FoI Act, I am looking for documented evidence that DWP was
aware of the increase at the time – such a marked and sudden change MUST have been
initiated by a specific event which you have not explained. As I have already indicated,
the matter would have received attention in minutes, emails, report analyses etc.
You have said there were a number of causes, but only mentioned one – what were the
others and where is the evidence to support your suggestions – I’m afraid without evidence
it is pure speculation.
What constraints/barriers existed prior to Harrington’s report that prevented Decision
Makers doing their job fully? Without some form of explanation I’m afraid your proposition is
What evidence do you have to support the other “improvements” you claim have been
made – as Chris Grayling himself insists, hard evidence is essential for substantiation and
credibility? I am particularly interested in evidence of the “improved use of the
If what you say is true, the change highlighted the true error rate being made by Atos
HCPs. What evidence do you have that this matter was addressed seriously with Atos and
how can you demonstrate they have improved since?
I note finally that whilst you acknowledge that right-first-time decisions are critical, you have not
set up a means to measure it,which casts considerable doubt over how important you think it
really is – a high error rate does after all fuel the need for a reconsideration infrastructure,
appeals processing systems etc., etc.
The MSCCT FoI IRO has read your letter and accepted this as a request for an Internal
Review in order that the handling of your request was dealt with appropriately as well as
conducting a full investigation into your original request to check that the information previously
supplied to you, clearly and accurately answered your request. I have also reviewed any
decisions to withhold information and in doing so I have fully considered the public interest in
Your request ‘'Atos FFW recommendations overturned by DWP 10/08 – 02/11'
IR162) was received by the Department on 19 March 2012.
The Freedom of Information (FoI) Act allows 20 working days from date of receipt of the
request in which to respond. MSCCT endeavour to answer promptly and no later than the 20
day deadline, unless the deadline is extended to consider if an exemption applies.
The 20 working day deadline for the original request was 18 April and it is noted that the
response was issued to you via the What Do They Know website on 26 June. In this instance,
the Department has failed to respond within the 20 working days and MSCCT apologise for the
delay in replying to your original request.
In reviewing your request the MSCCT FoI IRO upholds your complaint as the Department
failed to respond to both your original request and provide you with the reasons for the delay in
responding within 20 days. You may be aware, the Freedom of Information Act in England
does not set a required time limit for answering a "review request" in the same way it does for
the initial requests to be responded to and it is therefore up to public authorities to address the
need to conduct reviews within a reasonable timescale, but delays in this case have occurred
and a response to this request for an Internal Review could not be completed, until such time
as a response to the original request was completed and issued. The delay in issuing this
response was due to increased work volumes.
The additional issues that you state have either not been addressed or have introduced
the previous Q 1 will be responded to under a new FOI reference which is VTR 2601, by the
MSCCT FoI Officer.
If you have any queries about this response, please contact me quoting the reference number
DWP Central FoI Team
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act
If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal review by e-mailing freedom-of-
[email address]. or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, 5
th Floor The Adelphi, 1-
11, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HT. Any review request should be submitted within two months
of the date of this letter.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information
Commissioner’s Office for a decision. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you
have exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk