Dear Department for Work and Pensions FoI team,

I am writing to request information under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 regarding the proposed welfare changes announced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on Tuesday 5th September 2023.

The work and pensions secretary, Mel Stride, announced a consultation on changes to the work capability assessment on Tuesday, stating it was aimed at ensuring “no one who can work is permanently written out of this country’s strong labour market story.”

I am keen to obtain an overview of the materials that informed the aforementioned decision. Specifically, I am interested in any documentation or information that contributed to the decision above, without implying any presuppositions. My aim is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the rationale and objectives behind these proposed changes.

Please provide the requested information in an electronic format, if possible, and within the statutory timeframe of 20 working days, as stipulated by the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

If certain information is exempt from disclosure under the Act, please specify the exemption(s) relied upon and provide a brief explanation of why the exemption(s) apply. However, I would appreciate your cooperation in releasing as much relevant information as possible.

Thank you for your attention to this request. If you require any further clarification or have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
processed accordingly.
 
Please note that this mailbox is for Freedom of Information (FOI) or
Internal Review (IR) requests only – If you have submitted a non FOI or IR
related email then we may not be able to action it.
 
 
Timescales for responding
 
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If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

1 Atodiad

Dear Amanda Hart,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 6th
September.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

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 'Information on Proposed Welfare Changes' reference FOI2023/68443.

I have carefully considered the response provided by the DWP and would like to express my concerns regarding the application of the exemption under Section 35(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act. I believe that this exemption does not apply to the information I requested for the following reasons:

Public Interest in Transparency: The DWP acknowledges that there is a public interest in understanding how Work Capability Assessment policy is developed. Transparency in this process is essential for accountability and building trust with those affected by the policy. It is crucial to weigh this public interest against any potential harm caused by disclosure. Your response lacks evidence that the appropriate public interest test has been carried out.

No Decisions Made: The DWP has stated that no decisions have been made on the issue in question, and a public consultation was launched. Given that no final policy decisions have been reached, the exemption for the formulation of government policy does not apply because there is no policy to protect from premature disclosure.

Scope of the Request: My FoI request was for an "overview of the materials that informed the aforementioned decision," without presupposing any conclusions. I sought to gain an understanding of the rationale and objectives behind the proposed changes, which may not directly involve policy formulation but rather the basis for policy review.

Balancing of Public Interests: The DWP's response acknowledges the public interest in transparency but leans heavily on the need to protect effective policy-making. It would be beneficial to clarify how the DWP arrived at the conclusion that the public interest in disclosure is outweighed by the public interest in maintaining the exemption.

Consultation and Decision-Making: The DWP's mention of the ongoing public consultation raises questions about the timing of their response. If the policy is still under review, the rationale for withholding information based on Section 35(1)(a) is unclear, since final policy decision has been made.

I kindly request that you therefore conduct an internal review to reevaluate the application of the exemption and the DWP's response in light of the points raised above. I believe that greater transparency in this matter is in the public interest and that the information I have requested would contribute to a better understanding of the policy review process.

I look forward to your reconsideration of this matter and a response in due course. If you require any further information or clarification from my end, please do not hesitate to contact me.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
processed accordingly.
 
Please note that this mailbox is for Freedom of Information (FOI) or
Internal Review (IR) requests only – If you have submitted a non FOI or IR
related email then we may not be able to action it.
 
 
Timescales for responding
 
Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
 
If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Internal Review (IR) Requests
 
You can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
We will respond to all valid FOI and IR requests within our statutory
timescales, if we are unable to do so then we will contact you to explain
why. Please note that we are not able to process your FOI or IR request in
any shorter timescales that you may indicate.
 
 
Receiving a response from us
 
Please note that email FOI and IR responses will be issued from
[email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk by your email account
provider.  
 
 
Further Information
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with your FOI or IR
request please contact us.
 
More information on the DWP can be accessed on gov.uk here –
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

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1. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person responsible for conducting Freedom of Information reviews.

Please kindly find my adjusted request for internal review on FOI2023/68443 below:

I am writing to formally request an internal review of the Department for Work and Pensions' handling of my Freedom of Information (FOI) request, with the reference FOI2023/68443, regarding 'Information on Proposed Welfare Changes.'

Upon careful consideration of the response provided by the DWP, I wish to express my concerns regarding the application of the exemption under Section 35(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act. This exemption does not appropriately apply to the information I requested, and I present the following reasons for your consideration:

Public Interest in Transparency: The DWP itself acknowledges the existence of a public interest in understanding the development of Work Capability Assessment policy. Transparency in this process is fundamental for accountability and fostering trust among those affected by the policy. It is crucial to assess and balance this public interest against any potential harm caused by disclosure. Regrettably, your response lacks concrete evidence that the requisite public interest test has been diligently carried out.

No Decisions Made: According to the DWP's own statement, no conclusive decisions have been reached regarding the issue in question. Furthermore, a public consultation was initiated, indicating that the policy remains under review. In light of these circumstances, the exemption pertaining to the formulation of government policy does not apply, as there is no policy in existence that requires safeguarding from premature disclosure.

Scope of the Request: My FOI request explicitly sought an "overview of the materials that informed the aforementioned decision." This request was made without presupposing any particular conclusions. My intention was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the rationale and objectives behind the proposed changes, which may not necessarily entail policy formulation but rather encompass the foundational elements of policy review.

Balancing of Public Interests: While the DWP's response acknowledges the public interest in transparency, it seems to disproportionately emphasise the necessity of preserving effective policy-making. It would be highly beneficial for transparency purposes if you could provide further elucidation on how the DWP reached the determination that the public interest in non-disclosure outweighs the public interest in releasing the requested information.

Consultation and Decision-Making: The DWP's reference to the ongoing public consultation raises pertinent questions regarding the timing of your response. Given that the policy is still actively under review and no final decisions have been made, the rationale for withholding information under the auspices of Section 35(1)(a) is unclear, as there is no policy that warrants safeguarding from premature disclosure.

In light of the concerns and considerations raised above, I respectfully request that you initiate an internal review to critically reassess the application of the Section 35(1)(a) exemption and the DWP's response in light of these points. I firmly believe that enhanced transparency in this matter serves the public interest and that the release of the requested information would significantly contribute to a more informed understanding of the policy review process.

I look forward to your reevaluation of this matter and a timely response. Should you require any further information or clarification from my end, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For your reference, a comprehensive history of my FOI request and all related correspondence can be accessed online at the following address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i....

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK Lies and Corruption

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
processed accordingly.
 
Please note that this mailbox is for Freedom of Information (FOI) or
Internal Review (IR) requests only – If you have submitted a non FOI or IR
related email then we may not be able to action it.
 
 
Timescales for responding
 
Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
 
If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Internal Review (IR) Requests
 
You can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
We will respond to all valid FOI and IR requests within our statutory
timescales, if we are unable to do so then we will contact you to explain
why. Please note that we are not able to process your FOI or IR request in
any shorter timescales that you may indicate.
 
 
Receiving a response from us
 
Please note that email FOI and IR responses will be issued from
[email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk by your email account
provider.  
 
 
Further Information
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with your FOI or IR
request please contact us.
 
More information on the DWP can be accessed on gov.uk here –
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

1 Atodiad

Dear Amanda Hart,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 29th
September.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Gadawodd Amanda Hart anodiad ()

Reported to ICO.

Gadawodd Amanda Hart anodiad ()

This matter has been assigned case reference IC-264991-P6B7 by the ICO.

Gadawodd Amanda Hart anodiad ()

This case IC-264991-P6B7 has now been assigned a case officer.

Gadawodd Amanda Hart anodiad ()

Next chase 13th January 2024

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau

1 Atodiad

Dear Amanda Hart,

Following correspondence received from the Information Commissioner’s
Office I am providing you with a revised response to your request for
information, received 6th September.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear DWP freedom-of-information-requests,

Ref: FOI2023 68443 REV S21
Thanks very much for your communication and assistance dated 15th December 2023. We are satisfied that this complies with the Act.

Yours faithfully,
Amanda Hart
Stop UK lies and Corruption.

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Adran Gwaith a Phensiynau

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
processed accordingly.
 
Please note that this mailbox is for Freedom of Information (FOI) or
Internal Review (IR) requests only – If you have submitted a non FOI or IR
related email then we may not be able to action it.
 
 
Timescales for responding
 
Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
 
If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Internal Review (IR) Requests
 
You can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
We will respond to all valid FOI and IR requests within our statutory
timescales, if we are unable to do so then we will contact you to explain
why. Please note that we are not able to process your FOI or IR request in
any shorter timescales that you may indicate.
 
 
Receiving a response from us
 
Please note that email FOI and IR responses will be issued from
[email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk by your email account
provider.  
 
 
Further Information
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with your FOI or IR
request please contact us.
 
More information on the DWP can be accessed on gov.uk here –
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...