Atos FFW recommendations overturned by DWP 10/08 – 02/11

J Newman made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

The request was partially successful.

From: J Newman

18 February 2012

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In response VTR 0192 you have provided data relating to the Atos
FFW recommendations that were subsequently overturned by DWP
between Oct 08 and Feb 11. It shows an alarming increase in the
percentage overturned to WRAG in the latter part of 2010.

Q1: What interpretation did DWP place on this huge increase and
what action did it take to address both within DWP & within Atos?
This would have been recorded in meeting minutes, emails etc.

Q2: Is more recent data available to see if this trend continued?
If not, when will it be?

Q3: Does DWP routinely monitor the additional FFW decision
reversals made by the Tribunals service?

Q4: If so, what is the most up to date information available?

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

18 February 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

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From: J Newman

17 March 2012

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

If you can tell me how late you will be, it might avoid in internal
review and/or referal to ICO.

Yours sincerely,

J Newman

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

17 March 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

19 March 2012


Attachment FOI2926 735 update 19.03.12.pdf
16K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Newman,

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

-----Original Message-----
From: J Newman [mailto:[FOI #106444 email]]
Sent: 18 February 2012 22:34
To: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Atos FFW recommendations
overturned by DWP 10/08 - 02/11

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In response VTR 0192 you have provided data relating to the Atos
FFW recommendations that were subsequently overturned by DWP
between Oct 08 and Feb 11. It shows an alarming increase in the
percentage overturned to WRAG in the latter part of 2010.

Q1: What interpretation did DWP place on this huge increase and
what action did it take to address both within DWP & within Atos?
This would have been recorded in meeting minutes, emails etc.

Q2: Is more recent data available to see if this trend continued?
If not, when will it be?

Q3: Does DWP routinely monitor the additional FFW decision
reversals made by the Tribunals service?

Q4: If so, what is the most up to date information available?

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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From: J Newman

19 March 2012

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'.

I have requested very straightforward information that should be
part of DWP's routine MIS. It appears only now after 4 weeks that
you have discovered a particular member of staff is N/A. The fact
that you need more time I am afraid is just not acceptable.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

19 March 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying,
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Link to this

Jim Otram left an annotation (29 March 2012)

Quote-marks 31st March coming up, eh, DWP?

Link to this

A H Johnson left an annotation (17 April 2012)

Quote-marks Still nothing?

Link to this

J Newman left an annotation (18 April 2012)

Quote-marks Not as yet. Even Jack Straw acknowledges the tricks played to circumvent the intentions of FoI.

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

18 May 2012


Attachment 735.pdf
29K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Newman,

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards
Central FoI Team

-----Original Message-----
From: J Newman [mailto:[FOI #106444 email]]
Sent: 18 February 2012 22:34
To: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Atos FFW recommendations
overturned by DWP 10/08 - 02/11

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In response VTR 0192 you have provided data relating to the Atos
FFW recommendations that were subsequently overturned by DWP
between Oct 08 and Feb 11. It shows an alarming increase in the
percentage overturned to WRAG in the latter part of 2010.

Q1: What interpretation did DWP place on this huge increase and
what action did it take to address both within DWP & within Atos?
This would have been recorded in meeting minutes, emails etc.

Q2: Is more recent data available to see if this trend continued?
If not, when will it be?

Q3: Does DWP routinely monitor the additional FFW decision
reversals made by the Tribunals service?

Q4: If so, what is the most up to date information available?

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be
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From: J Newman

28 May 2012

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 meaningless.

•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
reconsideration process”.

•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.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

28 May 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also have any further queries in connection with this request
do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying,
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action taken in reliance of the information contained in this e-mail is
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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

26 June 2012


Attachment FOI IR162 Review 26.06.12.pdf
17K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Newman,

Please see attached response to your Internal Review request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

From: J Newman [mailto:[FOI #106444 email]]
Sent: 19 March 2012 18:44
To: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Atos FFW
recommendations overturned by DWP 10/08 - 02/11

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'.

I have requested very straightforward information that should be
part of DWP's routine MIS. It appears only now after 4 weeks that
you have discovered a particular member of staff is N/A. The fact
that you need more time I am afraid is just not acceptable.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/at...

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

-------------------------------------------------------------------
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[FOI #106444 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be
published on the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
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From: J Newman

28 June 2012

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

As you point out there are legitimate reasons for delays and there
are illegitimate reasons for delays, but we firstly need to
remember the stated intentions of the FoI legislation. i.e.

• make information freely available, rather than available under
duress.
• Make it available as quickly as possible and in no more than 20
days, not on day 20 every time.

By any assessment the information I requested would form part of
the routine management information collated on a regular basis. The
update you published on 19th March suggested this was not the case
and the information was not readily available. Moreover, the excuse
it makes is not acceptable within the Act.

VTR 2926-735 eventually attempted to answer the questions but
contains a number of statements that are not evidenced which I
pointed out in a comprehensive IRR on 28th May.

IR 162 on 26th June relates all the way back to my first IRR on
19th March and you have accepted the timescale failure, but being a
bit busier than usual is not accommodated by the Act. I would point
out that if questions were answered comprehensively first time
round, far fewer would be recycled which would have a marked and
instant impact on your workload. The problem is largely of your own
making.

I am still waiting for a response to my second IRR on 28th May and
I’m sure that given the spirit of the legislation I will have it in
a day or two.

Yours sincerely,

J Newman

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From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests
Department for Work and Pensions

28 June 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.

By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 

If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
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Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
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From: Coates John DWP OPS CCSD MEDICAL SERVICES
Department for Work and Pensions

12 July 2012


Attachment FOI 3375 IR351 Newman J Mr WDTK.pdf
24K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Newman

Please find enclosed a response to your request for an Internal Review
under the Freedom of Information Act. We apologise for the delay in
providing a response to you
<<FOI 3375-IR351 Newman J Mr (WDTK).pdf>>

Kind regards

Medical Services Contract Correspondence Unit, Department for Work and
Pensions, Room 306, Block 3, Norcross, Norcross Lane, Blackpool, FY5 3TA
Tel 01253 611556, extn 69956

Please consider the environment before printing

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From: J Newman

28 July 2012

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'.

Whilst my original request was deliberately worded to comply with
the stipulations & limitations of the Act, your responses do not.
Although you have accepted your response was beyond the 20 day
limit, you have not dealt with the following issues:

• It did not contain the documented information I requested and the
Act requires you provide if indeed it exists. If it does not, you
must say so.

• It includes statements relating to my request that may or may not
be correct, but they are unsupported by any documented information
and are therefore only the author’s opinion or interpretation.

My IRR dated 28th May explains these points in detail. Your
response dated 11th July attempts to transfer the unanswered issues
to a new request (VTR2601) although the Act does not allow you
randomly partition requests in this manner. Even if it did, it is
already 2 months old (from 28th May), so warrants yet another IRR.
You will no doubt suggest that the 20 day clock did not start
running until 11th July, when it actually started on 28th May.

I pointed this all out on 28th June, but after a month I have not
had a response to this note either.

The end result is that my original request is still incomplete
after over 5 months and as I have pointed out previously, this is
routine management information.

Clearly one for the ICO.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

Link to this

From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests
Department for Work and Pensions

28 July 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.

By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 

If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.

Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying,
distribution or other

action taken in reliance of the information contained in this e-mail is
strictly prohibited.

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those of the Department

for Work and Pensions.

If you have received this transmission in error, please use the reply
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and then permanently delete what you have received.

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From: DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence
Department for Work and Pensions

4 September 2012


Attachment Mr Newman VTR IR473.pdf
19K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Newman

Please find attached a response to your Freedom of Information request.

<<Mr Newman VTR IR473.pdf>>

Thank you

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J Newman left an annotation ( 4 September 2012)

Quote-marks My understanding of FoI is that requests should be answered in full first time. We'll see what the ICO makes of this.

Link to this

From: J Newman

4 September 2012

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, FoI legislation does not allow organisations that are
subject to it to arbitrarily hive off parts of a request into
another self-generated request, simply to artificially extend
allowable response times as has happened here. This “new“ request
relates to either matters from the original request still not
addressed or statements made in your response that are
unsubstantiated and/or require clarification, neither of which are
“new” issues, unless of course you are being vexatious.

Ironically however, although this “new” request was initiated
11/07, no response has yet been published after 2 months – somewhat
longer than 20 days. So here we have IRR #4!!!!

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

Link to this

From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests
Department for Work and Pensions

4 September 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.

By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 

If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.

Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying,
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action taken in reliance of the information contained in this e-mail is
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If you have received this transmission in error, please use the reply
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From: DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence
Department for Work and Pensions

14 September 2012


Attachment FOI 3550 2445 Newman J WDTK Response.pdf
21K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Newman,

Please find attached response in connection with your Freedom of
Information request.

<<FOI 3550-2445 Newman J (WDTK) Response.pdf>>
Thank you

Correspondence Team
DWP Medical Services Contracts Correspondence Team | Department for Work
and Pensions | DWP Contracted Customer Services Directorate | 306, Block 3
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From: J Newman

26 September 2012

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of
Information reviews and with respect, someone who fully understands
FoI legislation :

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'.

In relation to the time it has taken to address this request, I
would point out that:

• With well over 100,000 employees it is hard to believe that there
is only one who is familiar with the information relevant to this
request. This explains a lot if so few people understand routine
MIS.

• The FoI legislation (rightly) requires organisations to manage
staff resources effectively to meet its demands. There is no
provision for extra time based on absenteeism or
“non-availability”.

• There is a suggestion that the question is complicated (hence the
delay), but in fact it is about routine management information. If
it is not readily available, it is not being properly managed. This
too would explain a lot.

• Oddly, it was not until day 20 (19th March) that anyone realised
that the deadline would be missed – not by a day or two, but by TWO
WEEKS. With so much work outstanding, you would have thought
someone would have recognised the problem at least a week if not
two earlier.

• A response was promised for 31st March, but not provided until
18th May 6 WEEKS LATER without any explanation or apology in the
interim. It is surprising that DWP did not collapse completely with
such a vital member of staff out of circulation for so long.

I do not particularly require a response to the above, but by all
means comment if you wish. You will no doubt dismiss the facts as
opinion again.

As regards the other points I raised on 28th May which are the
subject of this IRR:

Points 1) & 2): I specifically requested recorded information to
support your suggestions. If you do not have any, please say so.
Without it, your statements can only be regarded as speculation as
there are other equally plausible explanations.

Point 3: Your previous response on 18/05 stated that implementation
of the Harrington recommendations “empowered” DMs, which means that
a previous constraint was removed and my question was to identify
what it was. You are now saying there were no constraints, so what
actually changed? The two responses are completely contradictory.

Point 4: The fact that the Wrexham trial was such a stunning
success and that the benefits so greatly outweighed the costs that
not even a cursory justification was deemed necessary is something
worth pursuing on another occasion.

Point 5: Firstly, “overturn” = to reverse a previous decision. Your
data table headers are therefore wrong; a recommendation can be
ignored, but cannot be overturned. Clearly therefore even you
regard the Atos “output” as tantamount to a decision regardless of
the alternative propositions you circulate.

The “additional” information available to a DM used to account for
the high levels of reversal is a myth and proven by the Tribunal
Service’s own analysis, which confirms that this is rarely the case
– with the vast majority of appeals, the TS has no more information
than the HCP had originally. If a piece of evidence is so
substantial that its absence caused the HCP to conclude wrongly, it
begs the question as to why it was not available previously.
Moreover, it is absolutely critical that the HCP has ALL of the
information available to correctly construct the WCA (as explained
in the WCA manual) to produce the correct outcome and if this is
not working, clearly much more effort is needed to make sure it
does. Process remedy is not unlike medical remedy – always better
the treat the cause rather than the symptoms.

Clearly it is in everyone’s interests that Atos conclusions are
correct and the increase in these statistics shows beyond doubt
that they were not as correct as previously thought – the issue was
(on your own admission) that DMs did not challenge them as they
should have done. Once this came to light, it was obviously
important to ensure that the Atos procedures were amended to
reinstate an acceptable error rate.

My Q5 is specifically about what was done in this area – if the
answer is “nothing” please say so or produce the evidence to prove
something was done – again one would expect some form of record in
meeting minutes, emails etc.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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From: DWP freedom-of-information-requests
Department for Work and Pensions

26 September 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.

By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 

If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.

Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
please click on the link below.

[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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From: DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence
Department for Work and Pensions

6 December 2012


Attachment Newman 549 and 628 part 2.pdf
27K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Newman

Please see your FOI response attached

Kind regards

Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)/Department for Work and Pensions/Room 306/Block 31/Norcross/Norcross Lane/Blackpool/FY5 3TA

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If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or other

action taken in reliance of the information contained in this e-mail is strictly prohibited.

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for Work and Pensions.

If you have received this transmission in error, please use the reply function to tell us

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From: J Newman

8 January 2013

Dear DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence,

At last after almost 12 months, complete acceptance that the
initial request and no less than 4 IRRs where all badly handled,
but I am still left wondering why - was it just me or was everyone
making requests affected equally?

Your breakdown misses the fact that on 19/03 you promised a
response by 31/03 which arrived 18/05 without a word of explanation
between the dates. Being late is bad enough, but breaking a
specific promise is somewhat worse.

To empower is to give somebody power or authority and empowering
DM’s has been hailed as a major step forward. This of course means
they were not empowered (at least to the same degree) previously
and my request was attempting to discover what PRECISELY had
changed; what precisely do they now have more of and how does that
reflect itself in what they do day to day.

The latest response represents semantics in the extreme. Ironically
in objecting to my wording it confirms that whilst DMs may FEEL
more empowered, in reality they are not. The only possible
conclusion therefore is that nothing has really changed and this
yet another part of the illusion – make impressive sounding
statements that imply progress but have no tangible effects.

Returning to the original (12 month old) issue of how DWP reacted
to the marked change, the answer confirmed here is that it did not
in any way address the problem with Atos. Thankfully the Audit
Commission has recently highlighted how poorly the Atos contract is
managed which can only result in huge distress to claimants and
unnecessary cost.

Yours sincerely,

J Newman

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J Newman left an annotation ( 8 January 2013)

Quote-marks I will summarise for anyone travelling this way:

As regards FoI Act compliance, DWP failed abysmally not just with the original request, but with no less than 4 subsequent requests for Internal Review. In total close to a year has passed and in the end DWP has had to admit that is does not have some of the information requested despite initially pretending it did. This is at best an attempt to conceal considerable embarrassment, at worst a deliberate deception & misrepresentation.

It is quite clear that some of the statements made here may be an intention but are most certainly unsupportable and unevidenced, so cannot be regarded as reliable – but they do sound impressive!

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