Code of Ethics followed by ATOS and DWP?

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Department for Work and Pensions should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please could you provide copies of the Code(s) of Ethics followed by ATOS and the DWP regarding the assessment of and decision-making process about people with disabilities / medical health conditions? I.e.: around the WCA, the interpretation of the ATOS (LIMA generated) report, and subsequent decision-making.

E.g.: Regarding confidentiality, fairness of representation of patient's problems, honesty and accuracy of assessment and decision-making, harm to patients / clients etc.

Thank you,

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

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

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. 

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do please contact us.

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

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References

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

Our Ref: FOI 2254-1985

Dear [P. Smith],

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 8 July 2011 that
was received by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Adelphi and
forwarded for response by the DWP Commercial Management of Medical
Services (CMMS) Freedom of Information Officer.

In your email you asked to be provided with information answering the
following questions:-

Please could you provide copies of the Code(s) of Ethics followed by
ATOS and the DWP regarding the assessment of and decision-making process
about people with disabilities / medical health conditions?

In answer to your question copies of Employment and Support Allowance
(ESA) Work Capability Assessment (WCA) Handbook and Decision Makers (DM)
Guidance can be found using the following websites.The links are (WCA)
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/speci... and (DM)
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/speci...
de/

The WCA handbook has been produced as part of a programme for HCPs to
carry out medical assessments as approved HCPs. All HCPs undertaking
these medical assessments must be registered medical or nursing
practitioners who in addition, have undergone training in disability
assessment medicine and more specific training. The training includes
theory training in a classroom setting, supervised practical training,
and a demonstration of understanding as assessed by quality audit. This
document must be read with the understanding that, as experienced
medical or nursing practitioners, the HCPs will have detailed knowledge
of the principles and practice of diagnostic techniques and therefore
such information is not contained in this document. In addition, this is
not a stand-alone document, and forms only a part of the training and
written documentation that a HCP receives. As disability assessment is a
practical occupation, much of the guidance also involves verbal
information and coaching. Thus, although the document may be of interest
to non-medical readers, it must be remembered that some of the
information may not be readily understood without background medical
knowledge and an awareness of the other training and guidance given to
HCPs.

All information supplied to you through these website links continues to
be protected by copyright. You are free to use it for your own purposes,
including for private study and non-commercial research, and for any
other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law.
Documents (except photographs) can be also used in the UK without
requiring permission for the purposes of news reporting. Any other
re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the permission
of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by the DWP and/or Atos Healthcare will be
protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be
re-used under the Open Government Licence
(http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). For
information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information
please see The National Archives website
-http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
ing-framework.htm .

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For
information about obtaining permission from a third party see the
Intellectual Property Office's website at www.ipo.gov.uk.

DWP staff have to adhere to the Civil Service Code, which is published
on the Civil Service website and can be viewed by using the following
link http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/val... and I
would advise you view, in particular Section 21. Addition page 2 of the
Code lists the following values for civil servants:
* 'integrity' is putting the obligations of public service above
your own personal interests;
* 'honesty' is being truthful and open;
* 'objectivity' is basing your advice and decisions on rigorous
analysis of the evidence;
* 'impartiality' is acting solely according to the merits of the
case and serving equally well Governments of different political
persuasions.

This link
http://www.atoshealthcare.com/index.php?...
146&Itemid=419 to the Atos Healthcare website gives you access to their
customer charter which is also displayed in all Medical Examination
Centres.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely,

CMMS Freedom of Information Officer

show quoted sections

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Thank you for your response.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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

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. 

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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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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

So why is it that Work Capability Assessments continue to be conducted in unethical manner?

http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/employm...

http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/not_wor...

http://www.cas.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/A5216...

http://www.disabilityalliance.org/dbc5.htm

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/policy/welfare-ref...

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

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

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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J Newman left an annotation ()

It will be interesting to see the response to a question that has no acceptable answer. Although the absence of integrity and honesty is demonstrable, Messrs Duncan-Smith & Grayling continue to live in denial. The various Charters and Codes produced by both DWP & Atos sadly mean nothing.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

The Church is also worried by the government's lack of ethics, understanding and humanity it might appear?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/...

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

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

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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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Thank you for your acknowledgement.

WHO is supposed to CHECK that the DWP and ATOS adhere to the appropriate ethical code(s) or charter(s), and HOW are they supposed to do this?

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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

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. 

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do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
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[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Please could you supply contact details for the DWP ethics committee, and any committee that is supposed to oversee ATOS regarding ethics, or the appropriate bodies concerned with ethics re ATOS & DWP?

I am asking because whoever they are, they do not seem to be working. There is bias & misrepreseanation of clients for example. If you read the links that I have provided from reputable sources, there seems to be an accepted institutionalise bias against the sick and disabled in the DWP and ATOS?

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

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

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. 

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do please contact us.

For further information on the Freedom of Information Act within DWP
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[1]http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/...

What has happened to this investigation, please?

Thank you,

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

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

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

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Lowe Debbie LEGAL GROUP INFORMATION-DEVOLUTION AND GOVERNANCE, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Dear Lowe Debbie LEGAL GROUP INFORMATION-DEVOLUTION AND GOVERNANCE,

Thank you for your response.

How is this code of ethics informed? What is it's moral yardstick / compass? It seems to be failing those in need badly, and isn't doing what it says on the tin.

The Church of England is the national religion. Do ANY basic positive Christian principles inform the code of ethics AT ALL?

It must otherwise be concluded that if there is some sort of stringent code of "ethics" followed by ATOS & DWP - those who administer / execute government policy - yet those who are sick, disabled, elderly, and vulnerable continue to be actively adversely affected, the only cause of such harm and neglect must be government policy and attitudes itself.

Has there been any resistance to the relevant government policy by ATOS employees, the DWP, or associated civil servants themselves, to try to temper it? Or are DWP executives going along with government policy and willingly inflicting harm on fellow citizens of the UK, "just obeying orders"?

Where is DWP / ATOS resistance / input / advice to Government ministers re welfare policy and reforms?

I would like to see copies of any exchanges / discussions / correspondence.

Is there any opposition to government policy and in what form?

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith].

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

Dear [P. Smith]

I will forward your FoI request on to the information owner.

Kind regards

Debbie Lowe
Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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

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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J Newman left an annotation ()

Hi. What I find odd, is that there appears to have been no published "project definition" for Prof Harrington's work before it all started so he began with a number of givens and nobody will explain why. If this PD had been constructed properly, it would have spelt out the framework by which your question would be addressed. As it is, in all of his work, this is conspicuous by its absence. There is a general Civil Service Code which sets out basic standards of honest, integrity etc, and there is strong argument (I think) that parts of the overall WCA process to not comply with it. I have a complaint lodged with JC+ that covers this point and I am waiting for a reply.

P. Smith left an annotation ()

http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2011...

(Even the Daily Mail carried a similar article this week.)

There is concern that the Government's welfare "reforms" could contravene basic human rights.

I think the negative psychological impact on the UK population as a whole is highly toxic - the realisation for people that the government are completely indifferent to suffering. Disability and sickness - dependency - seems to qualify people for scorn and hated.

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

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Please clarify:

Where do the loyalties of a civil servant, of any rank, primarily / ultimately lie, with a government - even if it is corrupt, dishonest, and ruthlessly using propaganda to scapegoat and negatively target sections of society - or with the public, (that both are supposed to serve)?

What are the appropriate rules / legislation / protocols etc?

How is this monitored and remedied?

Thank you,

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith].

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

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

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

J Newman left an annotation ()

Hi. If you are after some sort of admission of guilt, don't think you'll get it, particularly through this route. I too have been concerned about the same issue and tried from different angles, which has tended to confirm what they are not committed to rather than are committed to.

They categorically will NOT confirm that a claimant's health and well-being is a Decision Maker's very first concern and there is no reference to anything like this in the manuals.

They do claim to undertake a case by case risk analysis (the risks of declaring someone FFW, perhaps wrongly), but its workings are vague and not fully documented. There is no equivalent of a doctor’s sign up to the Hippocratic Oath.

In countermanding my GP’s recommendation, DWP must assume responsibility for my heath and the consequences of what they do. I don’t see how they can side-step this, but it probably requires a formal legal challenge to prove and I don’t think this has happened yet.

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

I would like to see any DWP or ATOS documents that refer to or reflect a policy / procedures / strategies / approaches relating to the various means by which disability and sickness is being dismissed, ignored, denied, and fitness procalaimed despite a patient / client's submitted evidence from GPs and specialists, please.

Of course such documents will contain a lot of cloaking language and euphemism, but they will ultimately mean the same thing.

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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

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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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Re: General checks and balances in the DWP / civil service, which might be envoked in the case of a corrupt and ruthless government working against the interests of it's own citizens:-

If the UK government and civil service are primarily supposed to serve the interests of, and uphold the welfare of the UK people ... (???)

Have any checks and balances that might exist in the civil service / DWP, against corrupt, unscrupulous, or ruthless government rules / legislation, been envoked in the last five years?
I would like to see any documents relating to this please.

Please could you supply a copy of a job description and person specification for anyone wanting to join the civil service, where it might relate to how government policy is supposed to be enacted / implemented. (Hopefully this would relate to objectivity, balance, openness where possible, fairness, justice, and ensuring the interests of UK citizens and their well-being are of the utmost importance?)

Take the case of a corrupt and ruthless government coming to power & using unscrupulous negative propaganda against it's own citizens - what is supposed to happen to ensure UK citizens are protected from the dictats and whims of their own government? Take the case of: a government's actions harming, undermining, threatening and making fearful, vulnerable sick and disabled citizens.

I would like to see any related documents please.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith].

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

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.

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

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

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

P. Smith left an annotation ()

Reply is copied and pasted here for ease of viewing:

To Pat Smith
C/o [FOI #79376 email]

DWP Central Freedom of Information Team

e-mail: [DWP request email]

Our Ref: VTR 2636-3659
DATE 06 March 2012

Dear Pat Smith,

It has come to our attention that we haven't answered all the separate questions you have put
to us on this What Do They Know (WDTK) request. I apologise for this and the delay in respect
of your Freedom of Information request that was received by the Department for Work and
Pensions (DWP) Adelphi on the 22 November 2011 and forwarded for response to the DWP
Medical Services Contracts Correspondence Team (MSCCT) Freedom of Information Officer.

In your email you asked to be provided with information answering the following questions:-

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/...

What has happened to this investigation, please?

In answer to your request the article in the Guardian is referring to investigations being carried
out by the General Medical Council (GMC). It would be inappropriate for DWP to comment
upon an ongoing investigation by the GMC or the outcomes. It would be for the GMC to decide
on the conclusion of the investigation what information is released.

Atos Healthcare do respond to any enquiries received from the GMC although this information
would not be released as it contains personal information of both customers and employees,
and any request for information would be exempt from release under Sections 40 and 32 of the
Freedom of Information Act.

I can advise that all Healthcare Professionals (HCP) employed by Atos Healthcare to carry out
assessments on behalf of DWP have passed strict recruitment and experience criteria and are
registered with the appropriate professional body such as the General Medical Council, Health
Professions Council or the Nursing and Midwifery Council. They also receive training in
claimant rights, equal opportunities and professional standards. In order to undertake the
assessments they have to be approved by the DWP’s Chief Medical Adviser (CMA). HCPs
who are recruited to carry out assessments are, or have had at least three years post-graduate
experience in general practice, occupational or rehabilitation medicine.

Maintenance of the HCP’s approval by the CMA is conditional on the HCP continuing to
demonstrate satisfactory standards in their work, and is dependent upon the HCPs

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
undertaking work for Atos Healthcare in the particular benefit area that the training permits and
his/her continuing utilisation whilst fulfilling the following criteria:
 to satisfy the required standards.
 completes any mandatory training required.
 the
utilised
availability
within the last 12 months is acceptable to the Medical Manager
and is broadly in line with his/her agreed utilisation.

All HCPs undertaking assessments are continually monitored. This quality assurance and
control takes the form of random and targeted studies of completed reports. There is an
ongoing training programme, which ensures that HCPs are kept fully informed of
developments in their area of work including report completion. As an addition to their formal
training, HCPs are also issued with copies of guidance appropriate to the Benefit(s) that they
are trained in, which covers all aspects of the work. Should any problems of quality of
performance arise, further action will be taken. This action may involve appropriate retraining,
closer monitoring or supervision or even termination of contract.

Quality Assurance And Audit – a rigorous and comprehensive system is in place to ensure
HCPs work meets Atos Healthcare’s medical professional standards. These standards are
stringent and every HCP’s work is regularly audited against these standards as a matter of
course.

In addition, there are a variety of other mechanisms used to monitor the quality of HCPs work
and where there is any case for concern, proactive management intervention ensures that
remedial action is taken promptly as appropriate.

If the work of the HCP is not satisfactory, appropriate feedback is given, allowing the HCP an
opportunity to improve. The exact course of events is dependent on the circumstances of each
particular case but, if following remedial action, a satisfactory standard cannot be attained and
there is evidence of persistent failure, despite remedial action by Atos Healthcare, to meet a
satisfactory standard may result in revocation of approval to carry out medical assessments by
the CMA.

If you have any queries about this response, please contact me quoting the reference number
above.

Yours sincerely,

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-
[email address]. or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, 5th Floor The Adelphi, 1-
11, John Adam Street, London WC2N 6HT. 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

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Re: "Quality Assurance And Audit – a rigorous and comprehensive system is in place to ensure
HCPs work meets Atos Healthcare’s medical professional standards. These standards are
stringent and every HCP’s work is regularly audited against these standards as a matter of
course.

In addition, there are a variety of other mechanisms used to monitor the quality of HCPs work
and where there is any case for concern, proactive management intervention ensures that
remedial action is taken promptly as appropriate."

Please could you provide copies of these.

Many thanks.

Please could you reply to my question about all / any checks and balances which protect citizens from any possible corrupt and ruthless government or civil service tactics ... should this happen ever ...

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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

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

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

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

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith],

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

P. Smith left an annotation ()

(Here is the reply copied and pasted below, for ease of access.)

DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Annex A

e-mail: freedom-of-information-re

[email address]

Our Ref: VTR858

13 March 2012
Annex A

Dear Pat Smith

You asked under the Freedom of Information Act:

Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Code of Ethics followed by ATOS and
DWP?

I would like to see any DWP or ATOS documents that refer to or
reflect a policy / procedures / strategies / approaches relating to
the various means by which disability and sickness is being
dismissed, ignored, denied, and fitness procalaimed despite a
patient / client's submitted evidence from GPs and specialists,
please.

Of course such documents will contain a lot of cloaking language
and euphemism, but they will ultimately mean the same thing.

Firstly I can confirm that the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) is about non
personal recorded information. Therefore, I can also confirm that the information you request is
not available.

However, I can confirm that DWP decision-makers have to consider all the available
information before making a decision on benefit entitlement. Any evidence provided by a
customer’s GP or consultant is very important and fully considered. Processes are in place to
ensure it can be requested when it will help provide advice on benefit entitlement. However,
GPs are unlikely to have the knowledge of the benefit system or disability analysis to provide
the decision-maker with comprehensive information about the functional effects in relation to
work capability. Furthermore, as an advocate of the patient, the individual’s GP is not in a
position to provide independent advice to the decision maker on benefit entitlement. The Work
Capability Assessment is carried out by specifically trained healthcare professionals who are able
to provide independent and robust advice to decision makers regarding the claimant’s functional
capability.

Since the first Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment, we have made
changes throughout the process, including empowering Decision Makers so that they are able
to take the right decision and speak to claimants to explain their decision. We are also
strengthening procedures to ensure that if a customer disagrees with a decision they can

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
explain this to the decision maker, provide any additional evidence they may have, and ask for
their case to be reconsidered.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
above.
Yours sincerely,

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 address] or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, 5th Floor The Adelphi, 1-11, John Adam Street,
London WC2N 6HT. 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

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Re: "I would like to see any DWP or ATOS documents that refer to or reflect a policy / procedures / strategies / approaches relating to the various means by which disability and sickness is being dismissed, ignored, denied, and fitness procalaimed despite a
patient / client's submitted evidence from GPs and specialists, please.
Of course such documents will contain a lot of cloaking language and euphemism, but they will ultimately mean the same thing."
and your response:
"Firstly I can confirm that the purpose of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) is about non personal recorded information. Therefore, I can also confirm that the information you request is not available."

I was not asking about personal information at all, but to have sight of any documents at all that will undoubtedly reflect a general policy / procedures which deny MANY genuine claimant's disabilities / illnesses. It is happening FAR too often for this not to be the case / for such policies / procedures not to exist, for no bias or manipulation to exist.

Also please, I have heard that ATOS only get to see the initial form that a claimant fills out (??), and very little else. What else are they routinely / officially sent to help them decide a claimant's fitness to work?
Please list the documents that they are supposed to see to decide upon a WCA / patient's fitness to work.

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith].

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

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...

show quoted sections

References

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

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

Our Ref: VTR 2997-1033

Dear [P. Smith],

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Re: "Quality Assurance And Audit - a rigorous and comprehensive system
is in place to ensure HCPs work meets Atos Healthcare's medical
professional standards.
These standards are stringent and every HCP's work is regularly audited
against these
standards as a matter of course.

In addition, there are a variety of other mechanisms used to monitor the
quality of HCPs work
and where there is any case for concern, proactive management
intervention ensures that
remedial action is taken promptly as appropriate."

Please could you provide copies of these.

Many thanks.

Please could you reply to my question about all / any checks and
balances which protect citizens from any possible corrupt and ruthless
government or civil service tactics ... should this happen ever ...

In reply to your request, the DWP takes all complaints about its
suppliers and the services they provide on behalf of DWP very seriously.
There is continuous monitoring of the delivery of service and the
quality of those services provided on behalf of DWP by its medical
services supplier and where there is cause for concern raise this with
the Contractor. In addition, DWP continues to work with the contractor
to improve claimant service and the claimant experience.

If any individual Healthcare Professional's (HCP) work is found to be
deficient, he or she is contacted by a mentor who is a HCP with specific
responsibility in this area. The mentor will arrange for retraining if
it is considered necessary, or feedback face to face, by letter or
telephone call depending upon the severity and importance of the issue
raised. Targeted audit is used when a problem has been identified with a
particular HCP, as a result of random audit, a complaint, rework or as a
chance finding. It involves consideration of a number of reports
completed by the HCP concerned, in order to gauge the overall standard
of his or her work. Persistent failure, despite remedial action by Atos
Healthcare, to meet a satisfactory standard may result in revocation of
approval to carry out medical assessments by the Department's Chief
Medical Adviser.

MSCCT undertakes continuous monitoring of the contractors performance.
Information is gathered from various sources including claimant surveys,
results from mystery shopping activity (where independent visits are
made to the various examination centres to observe the contractors
processes in operation and the information provided to the people
attending an examination), and information from complaints that have
been received.

Other sources of information include reports which the contractor is
mandated to supply to DWP, and various checks are undertaken to ensure
that the reports are accurate. In addition the Team has access to staff
working at the DWP local offices who report issues when they arise.

The monitoring of Atos Healthcare and their HCPs performance and service
delivery is achieved through a variety of methods, which include:
* Monthly management information
* Claimant satisfaction surveys
* Feedback from complaints.

The Integrated Quality Audit System (IQAS) was developed by Atos
Healthcare for internal quality audit of medical reports. It is designed
for use by trained and accredited Atos Healthcare auditors. These are
registered medical practitioners who in addition have undergone specific
training in disability assessment medicine and audit.

Reports are audited in accordance with Atos Healthcare's own
professional standards. These are more stringent than the contractual
requirement that a report must be "fit for purpose" i.e.; that a DWP
Decision Maker (DM) can use it as evidence, and that it will not mislead
the DM into making an erroneous decision on benefit entitlement.

Atos Healthcare applies both capability and disciplinary procedures, and
all HCPs work to Atos Healthcare's Professional Standards and they are
registered with the relevant professional body.

Atos Healthcare aim to audit every HCP at least 6 monthly; the quality
monitoring of HCPs is carried out by a number of mechanisms within Atos
Healthcare. This includes regular audit of reports by accredited
auditors using the IQAS system and the monitoring of complaints.

Management information relating to monitoring activities is provided to
the Department on a regular basis. If the Department has any concerns in
relation to an individual HCP, these are raised with Atos Healthcare.
Further investigation and subsequent action is taken in consultation
with the Department.

HCPs working on behalf of the Chief Medical Adviser and experienced
auditors from within Atos Healthcare carry out a regular programme of
joint audit in order to ensure the quality of audit at individual units
is maintained.

In answer to your last request, please note that the role of the Freedom
of Information Act is about the supply of recorded information held by
the Department rather than providing an explanation to, or confirming
whether assumptions made by the author of the question are correct or
not.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the
reference number above.

Yours sincerely,

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 [DWP request email]. or by
writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, 5th Floor The Adelphi, 1-11, John Adam
Street, London WC2N 6HT. 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

show quoted sections

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

1 Attachment

Dear [P. Smith],

Please see attached response to your Internal Review request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

J Newman left an annotation ()

All very fine words which would sound plausible were is not for the fact that there is no evidence to support any of the claims and assurances. I do by contrast have evidence that shows:

•DWP exhibits no interest in complaints about its suppliers and plays lip-service to complaints about its own operation.

•DWP does nowhere near enough to ensure claimants are fully briefed and best prepared for a WCA and sanctions exactly the opposite by allowing the use of surreptitious methods of gathering data.

•There has been no measurable improvement in HCP or Decision Maker performance since 2008 and there are no targets set going forward.

•Atos HCPs still do not understand the basics of how a WCA has to be performed.

•The audit regime is failing badly with too many substandard reports slipping through the net.

To quote just a few examples.

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

It isn't true that the HCP sees all documents that a claimant sends in. Documents are often lost, "stored", (why are documents that are still active and useful to someone's claim "stored"?, and not shared between DWP and ATOS. It seems to be a policy of derailing claimants.

Also when a Decision Maker makes a decision they seem to exclude the most relevant documents, select documents that are less relavant, say that the claimant has not send in any more documents when they actually have, and not tell the claimant when they are about to make a decision or review a decision, so the claimant gets no chance to make sure the DM has the most relevant information to hand when making a decision.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

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

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...

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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