Action in compliance with promise to collate disability discrimination cases

Doug Paulley made this Freedom of Information request to Government Equalities Office

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Government Equalities Office did not have the information requested.

Dear Government Equalities Office,

In 2009, the DWP wrote a specific promise in a response to a report by the Work and Pensions Select Committee, as documented at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa... :

"42. There is a lack of data on the number of DDA cases on goods, facilities and services in the county courts, although a number of witnesses presume the numbers to be very small. We recommend that the Government monitors the trends in the number of cases taken and their outcomes. (Paragraph 264)

"89. The Government will consider introducing changes to the county court IT system when there is an opportunity to do so. Until then, courts will be asked to manually gather information on DDA cases involving goods, facilities and services."

I asked the MoJ for details as to what they did as a result of your promise. They have replied today saying that they have no record of ever having done anything in relation to the promise made by the Department for Work and Pensions:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3...

"Having conducted extensive searches of all relevant areas within HMCTS and Ministry of Justice (MoJ) I can confirm that the Department does not hold the information that you have requested. To establish whether the information was held we have conducted a thorough search and made enquiries with the following business areas: HMCTS Equality Team, MoJ Corporate Equality Team, HMCTS Finance Directorate Performance, Analysis and Reporting, MoJ Strategic Reform, Forecasting and Finance and HMCTS Civil & Business Support Team.

"When assessing whether or not information was held adequate and reasonable searches for the requested information were made of:

"Electronic records were searched using the following key search terms: Disability Discrimination Act case in County Courts, DDA cases involving goods, facilities and services, DDA cases on County Court IT system, Changes to County Court IT system, DDA cases and DWP Select Committee, MoJ’s response to DWP Select Committee Report on DDA cases etc which would have revealed any information held.

"Checks were made with policy officials responsible for the issue in MoJ.

"If the information was held by HMCTS and or MoJ it would have to be held by the above mentioned business areas."

My FOI request is for details as to exactly what the DWP did from its end. Presumably the DWP consulted the MoJ before making the written promise to the select committee that it would ask individual courts to collate such statistics and would also investigate altering the court IT system to collate them. I presume that the DWP would also have informed the MoJ after it made that promise.

I would like copies of all communications and records initiated by or received by the DWP in relation to assessing the ability of the MoJ to comply with the putative promise before the reply to the report was filed, and after the report was filed to tell the MoJ about the promise and what to do.

In other words, I want to know what the DWP did as a result of making that promise please. What actions did it take to ensure that the promise was carried out?

I asked the Department for Work and Pensions, and they replied https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3... :

"The Department for Work and Pensions no longer hold the information you have requested. "

"As part of the transfer of staff and responsibilities relating to the Equality Act, all files about the development of the Act were passed to the Government Equalities Office. This includes any information relating to the 2008-9 Work and Pensions Select Committee sessions on the (then) Equality Bill. "

Therefore, please provide this information.

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

FOI Mailbox,

Thank you for your email which is now being dealt with by the Freedom of
Information Team at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 
You will receive a response to your information request within 20 working
days of receipt.
  

FOI Mailbox,

Dear Mr Paulley,
Your request has been forwarded to Government Equalities Office which is
now based in the Department for Education.  
Yours sincerely, 
Freedom of Information Team

Department for Culture, Media & Sport

4th floor, 100 Parliament Street

London SW1A 2BQ

[1]www.gov.uk/dcms

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Government Equalities Office

Dear Mr Paulley

Case Ref: 2016-0013885

Thank you for your request for information received by the Government Equalities Office on 15 March 2016.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee made this recommendation in a 2009 report: There is a lack of data on the number of DDA cases on goods, facilities and services in the county courts, although a number of witnesses presume the numbers to be very small. We recommend that the Government monitors the trends in the number of cases taken and their outcomes. (Paragraph 264)

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) made the following response:The Government will consider introducing changes to the county court IT system when there is an opportunity to do so. Until then, courts will be asked to manually gather information on DDA cases involving goods, facilities and services."

You would like to know what the DWP did as a result of this commitment. You asked for copies of all communications and records initiated by or received by the DWP in relation to assessing the ability of the MoJ to comply.

As requested, I have dealt with your enquiry under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You say that you have asked both the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Work and Pensions, for this information, but both Departments have been unable to provide you with it.

The Government Equalities Office does not hold the information that you have requested.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the Government Equalities Office by writing to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the Government Equalities Office, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Yours sincerely

Mr Yemi Atiku,
Senior Policy Advisor
Government Equalities Office

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