DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Our Ref: VTR: 3674
DATE: 23 August 2013
Dear Julie Hutchinson,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request of 06/08/2013. You asked:
Your department often informs claimants that the cannot appeal a decision.
I find this totally misleading, as it is up to the judge at a tribunal to make a decision if whether
an appeal is acceptable, and not you!
You even stated this within a FOI response:
The Department cannot provide a definitive reply to your question. As stated in the previous
reply, the decision on whether or not to accept an appeal is for the Tribunal judge to make.
Why do you therefore persist in telling people that they cannot appeal, knowing full well, it is
not in your remit to do so?
The Department for Work and Pensions in its Guidance states that: The customer has the
right to dispute, or appeal against, any decision of the Decision Maker (DM) that carries appeal
rights. These are decisions which in law clearly carry the right of appeal. Neither the
department nor the tribunal can interfere with these rights – nor give approval for them to
However, there are decisions which do not carry the right of appeal, and this is set out in law
(see Schedule 2 of the Social Security Act 1998). But it is not unknown for claimants to appeal
against one of these decisions. When this happens the Secretary of State will ask a tribunal
Judge to strike out the appeal because it is out of jurisdiction, that is, it should not be put
before an appeal tribunal because there is no right of appeal. So here the final decision lies
with a tribunal Judge. Indeed, the Tribunal’s own procedure rules provide for this process.
Again, this is not the Secretary of State interfering with the appeals process.
A more relevant example perhaps can be seen when we consider the time limits for appealing.
If an appeal is received late then in law the Secretary of State can admit it as made in time if
there are special reasons for the delay. However, if he doesn’t admit that is not the end of the
matter. He must forward it to a tribunal Judge to consider. The Judge has the final word. If he
also refuses to admit it there is in effect no appeal.
I hope this has shown that there was nothing misleading about the previous reply. There are
many instances where a tribunal Judge will decide whether a person has a right of appeal or
If you have any queries about this letter 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-information-
email@example.com or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9NA. 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