This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Taking support to jobcentre appointments.'.

 
 
 
DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Annex A 
 
e-mail: [email address].  
gov.uk
 
Our Ref: 634 
 
 
634/ 
24 February  2014 
Annex A 
 
 
Dear  F. Walker, 
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request which we received on 10 February 2014. 
 
You asked:  
 
I'd like to know what the rules on taking support to jobcentre appointments, 
in particular signing on are. I suffer from anxiety and my doctor has given 
me a note saying I suffer from anxiety and should have someone at all 
jobcentre appointments. My advisor was unhappy with this and I would like 
to know if I am allowed support or not. 
 
Claimants accessing Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits and services can 
have someone to accompany them to act on their behalf.  
 
DWP will treat the person acting on behalf of the claimant with the same customer standards 
as the claimant. The person acting on behalf of the claimant is expected to maintain the same 
behaviour standards as the claimant and treat our staff with courtesy.  
 
Claimants can have a variety of people accompany them such as Representatives, 
Appointees, Corporate acting bodies or Personal acting bodies. 
 
Guidance for staff includes the information provided below: 
 
Representatives.  
 
A customer representative is any person or organisation acting on behalf of or making 
enquiries for the customer. The representative could be helping a customer in several ways, 
including progress chasing, helping them make a claim, seeking an explanation of entitlement 
and how it has been decided, representing them with a reconsideration or appeal, or helping 
them manage their finances. This can be at any stage of the customer’s business with DWP. 
Representatives may include: 
  advice or welfare rights organisations 
  professionals such as social workers, community nurses or doctors 

  family members or friends 
A representative is not an official appointee (Attorneys, Deputies), who should be dealt 
with as if they were themselves the customer. Please note 
  MPs - note that customers' own MPs are assumed to have consent to act and 
information can be disclosed in response to their enquiries. Please refer to the 
Personal Information Policy Guide for more information 
  Appointees, deputies and Powers of Attorney – these are legally empowered to 
act on behalf of the customer, will be expected to answer security questions, and 
consent to disclose information is not required  
  There are also Corporate Appointees, usually Local Authority (LA) staff, who look 
after the affairs of people in homes. They will not have sufficient detail about 
customers to enable them to answer security questions, and therefore the 
principles outlined in Implicit Consent, below, should be used in deciding whether 
to provide information 
Is the representative acting with the consent of the customer? 
If the call is from a representative, ensure that they are acting on behalf of the customer: 
  can you check consent with the customer, either in person or by phone?  
  can you accept that there is 'implicit consent'? 
  is there written, signed authority from the customer? Note that you should not 
automatically insist on seeing a written or faxed authority before disclosing 
information. 
If you can answer 'yes' to any one of the above, then you can proceed 
Written authorities to disclose information 
Written authority is necessary where implicit consent cannot be established, or where a 
request for information is received in writing from a representative. Written, signed authority 
should be requested only when consent cannot be established by other means. 
In these cases, ask the representative to complete the ‘Authority to Disclose’ template, which 
the customer must sign. The representative should then post or fax the signed form to the 
relevant DWP office; you should provide the correct address and/or fax number. Faxed 
authorities and authorities containing electronic signatures are both acceptable. Local Authority 
representatives should follow the agreed Security procedures for emailing forms to approved 
secure email addresses. 
Written authority does not last indefinitely in these cases, but covers a particular piece of 
business. The authority to act should be treated as current for the whole process of a new 
claim or change of circumstances, including any follow-up reconsideration process. A separate 
authority is required for an appeal, unless the existing authority specifically covers the appeals 
process. 

If written authority is received, it should be recorded in notepad, if possible. It should be 
removed after the particular piece of business, including reconsideration, is completed. 
Implicit Consent 
Where there is no valid written authority, or the customer is not present to confirm consent 
verbally, staff should use their experience and judgement to decide whether the call has 
implicit consent to act on behalf of the customer. 
Staff must ask questions and use judgement based on the answers in order to determine 
whether or not the caller is a genuine representative, and implicit consent can be assumed. 
In most cases it will be quite clear from the information already held by the caller, and the 
questions they ask, that they are helping the customer with benefit claim, and that information 
can be provided. 
Where implicit consent cannot be established, then written consent is necessary. Do not 
disclose any customer information and explain that on this occasion it will be necessary for the 
caller to provide written consent as an authority to act on behalf of the customer and signpost 
them to the ‘Authority to Disclose’ template or A42 form. Consult your line manger for support 
where required. 
Do not assume consent is for an indefinite period - authority to represent the customer 
is considered to be for a particular item of business 

Corporate Acting Body (CAB).  
 
A Corporate Acting Body  is not a named individual, but an organisation appointed to act for a 
customer, this could be a: 
  Local Authority 
  Nursing Home 
  Area Health Authority 
  firm of solicitors. 
This list is not exhaustive. 
  
Each customer is allowed only one CAB at a time and the following can be CABs: 
  Deputy - appointed by the Court of Protection in England and Wales 
  Controller - appointed by the Office of Care and Protection in Northern Ireland 
  Attorney - appointed by the customer and legally supported 
  Appointee - appointed by an officer acting on behalf of the Secretary of State.  
 
A court appointed CAB normally takes precedence over any appointment made by an officer 
acting on behalf of the Secretary of State. For example, if the customer has a Personal Acting 
Body (PAB) whose status appears above appointee in the above list, an officer (acting on 
behalf of the Secretary of State) cannot usually authorise an appointee to administer the 
customer's affairs relating to benefits, pensions and allowances. 
  

The only exception is when the existing CAB no longer has authority to act, or the Department 
has received written confirmation that the CAB no longer wants to act on the customer's 
behalf. 
  
The customer's CAB is responsible for reporting all changes in: 
  the customer's circumstances 
  their own circumstances that the Department may require. 
It is important to determine whether an individual is acting in a personal or a professional 
capacity,. 
 
Personal Acting Body 
A Personal Acting Body is a named person appointed to look after all or some aspects of a 
customer's affairs. 
This is called an appointment to act. The person or organisation appointed to act is called an 
appointee. At any one time, there must be only one appointee acting on the customer's behalf 
for all benefits. 
If the claimant is incapable of managing their own benefit because of mental health issues and 
the Secretary of State has appointed someone to act on their behalf, known as an appointee 
(regulation 33 of the Social Security Claims and Payments Regulations 1987 refers), then that 
person stands in the shoes of the claimant and we would actually expect that person to attend 
appointments, interviews etc. There should be no action taken by DWP staff to prevent an 
appointee so acting. 
An appointee can be an: 
  individual, for example a friend or relative 
  organisation or representative of an organisation for example Local Authority  
  a limited company. 
This list is not exhaustive. 

Redress - Appeals and Complaints 
DWP Appeals process and complaints process is available on Gov.uk 
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number 
above.   
Yours sincerely,  
 
 
DWP Central FoI Team 
 

 
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