DWP Fraud department visits at Jobcentre Plus South Wales

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

The request was refused by Department for Work and Pensions.

From: J Atkinson

31 January 2013

Dear Department for Work and Pensions/JobcentrePlus,

I am writing to you via this website because I am concerned about
things that I have heard going on at local jobcentres around my
area, one specifically. I have heard from two sources now that the
local jobcentre has been visited by staff from your own DWP fraud
department and that following that/those visits staff have suddenly
it seems vanished. I know two people who attend the local jobcentre
in Pontypool and have confirmed goings on that seem suspicious,
with current staff reportedly saying things like 'I cant talk about
that' or 'I cant say'. I feel it is entirely in the public interest
and as a matter of trust in our civil service and servants to be
confident that all is above board and we can have confidence and
trust in them.

My questions are as follows

1- I understand there was a visit or visits to the local jobcentre
in Pontypool by staff from the DWP fraud department starting at
about the end of October 2012 and maybe more recently. Staff were
seen and identified themselves as being from DWP fraud department.
Was there a visit or visits and if so how many?
and how many staff visited and on what dates?

2- What was the purpose of the DWP fraud department staff visit/s
to Pontypool jobcentre? was there a specific purpose or tip off and
if so what?

3- After the visit/s at the end of October I have it on good
authority that some Pontypool jobcentre members of staff, including
the manager, where not present the following day and where not seen
again.
Is this true?
If so did they leave of were they sacked?
If sacked what were they specifically sacked for?
If you cannot say specifically can you confirm if any of those
sacked were sacked due to the fraud staff visit?

4- Was the manager at that time sacked or did they leave?

5- Were any incidents of fraud found due to the visits/s? and if so
what were they?

6- Is there any report or documentation on the fraud staff visit/s
to Pontypool, if so please provide a copy?

7- I understand that at Pontypool some of these DWP fraud staff sat
in on claimant appointments. Is this true? and if so what was the
purpose/s of this?

8- I also understand that these DWP fraud staff were sitting in on
claimants appointments without the prior knowledge or consent of
those claimants . Is this true? if consent was requested prior to
appointments how was this done and who did it?

9- Have there been any other visits to other local jobcentres in
the South Wales areas over the last year or two. If so please
detail and detail the main purpose for each visit to each site and
what was the result.

10- if there are any other reports into fraud or corruption
relating to or by jobcentres in the South Wales areas please detail
what exists and provide a copy of each.

Yours faithfully,

J Atkinson

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

31 January 2013

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

26 February 2013


Attachment FoI 499 26.02.13.pdf
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Dear J Atkinson

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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From: J Atkinson

4 March 2013

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 Pension's handling of my FOI request 'DWP Fraud department
visits at Jobcentre Plus South Wales'.

Mt reasons are as follows

Firstly I am very surprised and dissapointed this response took so
long. Why was it left to he last possible moment to respond when
instead of providing clear answers I have obviously just gotten
generic cut n paste waffle. I left it thinking you would be
responding properly, instead you seems to have attempted to be as
vague and indirect as possible.

re Q1
I asked specifically
''Was there a visit or visits and if so how many?
and how many staff visited and on what dates?''
This has not been answered, instead I just got a generic non
specific reply.
So I would like a list of specific dates for visits to this and the
other jobcentres in South wales over the last 2 years

re Q2
I am assuming an exemption is claimed on this question but I feel
it is in the public interest for taxpayers to know weather this was
a general visit or one specifically in relation to specific
suspicions.

Re Q3
you have stated that staff leaving or 'changing roles' was not due
to the visit by the fraud dept staff.
Can you tell me then why a manager and a number of staff would
suddenly leave directly following this visit? also if staff there
suddenly sounded afraid and guarded saying they cant talk about it
something must have gone on. Why were these staff suddenly not
there.
How many left and/or changed roles to another workplace? I think we
have a right to know why public servants are there one day and not
the next, particularly if current staff have obviously been told
not to say anything! Why would that be?

re Q4
No answer provided. A manager has alot of responsibility and its in
the public/taxpayers interest to be able to say if a manager has
left, moved or was sacked.

Re Q5
Not answered, please answer. Also please state how many cases of
fraud have been successfully investigated over the last 2 years
across south wales jobcentres please.

Re Q6
Not answered, please answer yes or no. If yes provide copies of all
dis-closeable documentation.

Re Q7/8
The response is unclear. you state fraud dept staff can sit in on
appointments if there is 'a clear business need to do so'. What was
the business need in these cases for that visit to Pontypool?
Its my understanding that if a client has an appointment with an
advisor then that appointment is pre-arranged private and
confidential. Is this not the case? please provide a clear specific
answer to that.
If so then you need to request consent and agreement for any other
type of meetings do you not?
If not why would you assume consent for that meeting, particularly
as it would seem any such meeting would be based on a lie to the
client.

You have also stated that ''the DWP Fraud Investigation Service is
to identify/investigate benefit fraud by customers''
Therefor can you confirm that for those who had one of these staff
sitting in on their private appointments, were they all being
investigated? or only some of them?

NB please do not claim this information is exempt as claimants have
the right to know whether or not they are being investigated. If
you think otherwise then is this not a form of entrapment or
coercion by deception.
Please explain why this would not be outside of the Civil service
code of conduct found here
(http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/wp-conten...)

This states as well as the other points therin,
(6) You must:
always act in a way that is professional and that deserves and
retains the confidence of all those with whom you have dealings

Re Q9, not answered, please answer.
Re Q10 not answered, nothing provided. Please answer and provide
material if it exists.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Atkinson

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

4 March 2013

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 OPD COO FOI Requests
Department for Work and Pensions

11 April 2013


Attachment Review IR 219 response.pdf
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To J Atkinson
 
Please see copy of your FoI request attached
 
 
 
 
DWP Freedom of Information Request Team
 
 
 
 
 

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From: J Atkinson

17 May 2013

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 'DWP Fraud department
visits at Jobcentre Plus South Wales'.

Complaint
I requested a review and I did not get one. Instead what I got was
just clear obfuscation by yourselves, outside of the public
interest and spirit of the FOI act.
I belive you have falsly hidden behind an exemption stating that
you do not have to answer because these fraud visits may lead to
crminal prosecutions.
However I have it on good authority (from staff) that no
prosecutions are planned or were even contemplated due to there
being no evidence found. If this is the case then you need to
answer the FOI questions put to you. Do you have any proceedings
ongoing? if not then you need to comply.
Also you conducted these extra unrelated fraud staff sit ins for
private and confidential appoitments without requesting the consent
of the customer first it seems. I know of two cases where this is
so and no proceeding were bought against them! Therfore you are in
breach.
Please comply with my FOI questions properly

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

Yours faithfully,

J Atkinson

Link to this

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

17 May 2013

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...

show quoted sections

References

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

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From: Operations FOI Requests
Department for Work and Pensions

13 June 2013


Attachment Review Response 446.pdf
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Dear J Atkinson,

 

Please find attached DWP response to your recent Freedom of Information
request.

 

 

Yours Sincerely

 

 

DWP Operations

FOI Team

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