Decision not to raise legacy benefits in line with UC through COVID-19

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,

It was recently announced by the Chancellor that the base rate for Universal Credit would be raised to match Statutory Sick Pay in rate.

Please :

- advise whether or not this increase was made on the request or advice of the DWP?
- advise if the DWP made a similar request for an increase in ESA, JSA and/or Income Support?
- provide copies of any internal guidance or discussion regarding the increase and the decision not to raise the above legacy benefits in line with Universal Credit.

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

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[2]http://www.gov.uk/dwp
 
 

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no-reply@dwp.ecase.co.uk on behalf of DWP Central FOI Team, Department for Work and Pensions

Our ref: FOI2020/19088

Contact email: [1][email address]

Dear Finn Keaney,

Thank you for your request for information which was received on 17th
April. Your request is being considered under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000.

You can normally expect a response to your FoI request within 20 working
days. However due to the current situation with COVID-19 it may not be
possible for us to reply to you within this timeframe.

The DWP will make every effort to respond to FOIs as we would usually but
the current situation may mean that available Departmental resources are
needed on other high priority areas.

We kindly ask for your understanding during this unpreceden ted situation
and we will aim to deal with your FOI request as soon as is practically
possible.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact the department
using the email address and reference number above.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Department for Work and Pensions

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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 'Decision not to raise legacy benefits in line with UC through COVID-19'.

I am aware that under current circumstances you may not be able to act within the usual timeframe but this has now far exceeded the time by which I normally would have expected a response and I can see that you are still responding to other FOI requests as they come in.

I am writing to you in regards to my FOI request Co-production of the Universal Credit Transition Fund and similar partnerships. All correspondences relating to this request can be found at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

This FOI response is now delayed by around a month beyond the timeframe in which I could normally have expected a response. I understand that under the current circumstances there is some room for delays, but I have also seen on whatdotheyknow.com that you are still responding to other FOI requests. As such please advise whether or not you need to request an extension for this request, and if so for how long. If not please advise whether or not my FOI request is being worked on.

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FOI mailbox.
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally expect
a response within 20 working days.
 
However please be advised that due to the current situation with COVID-19
we cannot guarantee a response within this timescale.
 
Every effort is being made to respond to FOIs as we would usually but the
current situation means that available Departmental resources will be
needed on other high priority areas.
 
We kindly ask for your understanding during this unprecedented situation
and we will aim to deal with your FOI request as soon as is practically
possible.
 
Email FOI responses will be issued from [1][email address]
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk mail.  
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.
 
[2]http://www.gov.uk/dwp
 
 

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Just an update to my previous request + request for internal review to state that an adjacent request has now been directed toward HM Treasury, which can be found at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

f

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FOI mailbox.
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally expect
a response within 20 working days.
 
However please be advised that due to the current situation with COVID-19
we cannot guarantee a response within this timescale.
 
Every effort is being made to respond to FOIs as we would usually but the
current situation means that available Departmental resources will be
needed on other high priority areas.
 
We kindly ask for your understanding during this unprecedented situation
and we will aim to deal with your FOI request as soon as is practically
possible.
 
Email FOI responses will be issued from [1][email address]
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk mail.  
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.
 
[2]http://www.gov.uk/dwp
 
 

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2. http://www.gov.uk/dwp

DWP Central FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Dear Finn Keaney,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 17th
April.

Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to your Freedom of
Information request.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

DWP Central FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Dear Finn Keaney,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 24th
June.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

S. Gwilliam left an annotation ()

Surely citing an FoI exemption under section 35(1)(a) is invalid here?

The policy in question has already been implemented so there cannot be any 'risk of premature disclosure' of it's development.

Finn Keaney left an annotation ()

This has gone to the ICO on the grounds that a section 35 exemption does not apply as the policy in question has already been put into effect, and that the public interest is great enough such that it outweighs any possible exemption that may apply. Will update as possible.

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 'Decision not to raise legacy benefits in line with UC through COVID-19'.

I am writing further to advice from the Information Commissioner's Office who have confirmed that the Internal Review you carried out is not sufficient to mark this case as closed. Your review was of the time taken to respond.

I would like to request an Internal Review of your decision not to respond to this on the grounds detailed below.

The Information Commissioner’s Office guidance on FOI Act Section 35 states that “Arguments will be strongest when there is a live policy process to protect”[1]

The same document states that “the Commissioner does not accept that there is inevitably a continuous process or ‘seamless web’ of policy review and development,” and as this FOI is about policy which has long since been put into effect I would argue that this exemption does not apply.

To quote the same document, “As with the other limbs of section 35, this is qualified by the public interest test. Departments can only withhold the information if the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. “

The information in question in pertaining to a policy which has led to claimants of Universal Credit receiving an increase to the rate of their benefit which more than 13,000 [1][2][3] disabled and long-term sick claimants have not. As such I would argue that the public interest in disclosing this information outweighs the public information in maintaining an exemption which does not, as you have stated, risk premature disclosure of the information as the policy has already been put into effect.

[1]https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...
[2] https://www.leighday.co.uk/News/Press-re...
[3] https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/07/1...
[4] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020... )

Please review this FOI and respond accordingly.

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

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been accepted by the DWP FOI mailbox.
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally expect
a response within 20 working days.
 
However please be advised that due to the current situation with COVID-19
we cannot guarantee a response within this timescale.
 
Every effort is being made to respond to FOIs as we would usually but the
current situation means that available Departmental resources will be
needed on other high priority areas.
 
We kindly ask for your understanding during this unprecedented situation
and we will aim to deal with your FOI request as soon as is practically
possible.
 
Email FOI responses will be issued from [1][email address]
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk mail.  
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.
 
[2]http://www.gov.uk/dwp
 
 

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DWP Policy Group Freedom of Information,

1 Attachment

Dear Finn Keaney,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 7th
September.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Finn Keaney left an annotation ()

this latest refusal has gone back to the ICO's office today 01 10 20

Finn Keaney left an annotation ()

ICO upheld my complaint and have instructed DWP to release information by 22nd December, will chase if I have not had it by then

https://ico.org.uk/media/action-weve-tak...

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In their decision dated 17th November 2021 the ICO told you to update your response to this request with the information requested in part 3 of my initial request. I know that this request was marked as 'closed' due to the time since its original submission so you may not have been able to update it prior to it being reopened yesterday, but now that it has been please could you provide an update on the status of this request.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP FOI mailbox.
 
If your email is a valid Freedom of Information request, as per Section 8
of the FOI Act 2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working
days.
 
Please note that email FOI responses will be issued from
[1][email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk mail.  
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request please
contact us.
 
Information on the Department for Work and Pensions can be accessed on
gov.uk here - [2]http://www.gov.uk/dwp
 
 

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References

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1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.gov.uk/dwp

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP FOI mailbox.
 
If your email is a valid Freedom of Information request, as per Section 8
of the FOI Act 2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working
days.
 
Please note that email FOI responses will be issued from
[1][email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk mail.  
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with this request please
contact us.
 
Information on the Department for Work and Pensions can be accessed on
gov.uk here - [2]http://www.gov.uk/dwp
 
 

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2. http://www.gov.uk/dwp

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, Department for Work and Pensions

Dear Mr Keaney

Thank you for your email regarding this request.

I can confirm that following the ICO's Decision Notice, the DWP has decided to appeal that Decision to the First Tier Tribunal and we await the outcome of that process.

Regards
DWP Central FoI Team.

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Finn Keaney left an annotation ()

Quick update to say this is still awaiting a hearing date and not a settled matter, will update as soon as there is any news