Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I have recently completed my complaint procedure with the DWP, which is now with the Independent Case Examiner, the case examiner has said I would like to remind you that if you wish to provide any further information or evidence in relation to my complaint, please send it to us and we will ensure it is considered once the investigation into your complaint starts.

Having read The Civil Service code for the DWP staff Under the Civil Service values which says ‘honesty’ is being truthful and open ‘objectivity’ is basing your advice and decisions on rigorous analysis of the evidence.

Also under the same code Under the Standards of behaviour
set out the facts and relevant issues truthfully, and correct any errors as soon as possible, and that the DWP staff must not ignore inconvenient facts or relevant considerations when providing advice or making decisions.

The below are extracts from:

Department of Social Security
Report by the
Comptroller and Auditor General

Ordered by the House of Commons
To be printed 15 March 2000
HC 320 Session 1999-00
March 2000

The Pensions Act 1995 made changes to state pension age.

There is a similar period of time between the passing of the legislation and it coming into force as with inherited SERPS, with changes not due to take effect until 2010.

To ensure that staff are aware of the future changes now, the following action has been taken:

Bulletins have been issued with comprehensive guidance for staff.

My Freedom of Information request is:
Please could you supply me The Bulletins that were issued to staff that had the comprehensive guidance with regards to the 1995 Pension Act.

A project team has been set up to oversee the publicity over the next 10 years, including major stakeholders from the Department’s Policy Group and the Benefits Agency.
A communications strategy is being planned with a media campaign taking place in 2000.

My Freedom of Information request is:
Please could you supply me the details of the communication strategy that was planned inclusive of the media campaign that was taking place in 2000.

A ‘mystery shopping’ exercise to test local offices’ understanding of the guidance has been undertaken.

A further bulletin has been issued to give local offices immediate follow-up information based on the results of this exercise.

My Freedom of Information request is:
Please could you supply me the bulletin that was issued to local offices based on the results of that exercise.

The Benefits Agency are considering the best means for maintaining staff awareness over the next 10 years.

We consider all provisions with long lead times should be treated with
Particular care, and plans put in place, covering the implications of the delayed
Implementation; future publicity requirements and timings; reminder bulletins for staff; and arrangements for monitoring awareness of the provision amongst staff.

Such arrangements should be considered and agreed upon when the work for a
Particular piece of legislation is finalised.

In January 1995 the project team issued a paper identifying areas where the successful implementation of the project might be at risk and possible actions to reduce or remove such risks.

My Freedom of Information request is:
Please could you supply me the issued paper identifying areas of risk and the actions to reduce or remove such risks especially on the Insufficient public awareness outlined below.

The risks considered related to:

The timing of the bill and its content.
The timing of implementation.
Conflicts with policy initiatives of other departments.
Understanding of existing law changes.
Problems with the National Insurance Recording System computer.
Insufficient funding available.
Staff and accommodation.
Operational problems in Department of Social Security Headquarters.
Change of Government.
Action by those outside Government.
Insufficient public awareness.
Other risks, including failure to identify all the risks.

The project support team maintained a risk register which was updated for each Policy Steering Committee meeting and which rated risks and showed contingency plans for each of them.

Work on contingency continued throughout the project and from early 1996 a separate group dealing with risks and contingency met after each Pensions Policy Implementation Board.

The Minister of State replies “The Department arranged publicity about the Pensions Act 1995 with an advertising and direct mailing campaign in the Autumn of that year.

Information on the halving of the Additional Pension from the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) featured in leaflet PEC3, “The 1995 Pensions Act”, which was part of this campaign and available to the public until August 1997.

The Benefits Agency supported this campaign in spring 1996 by issuing leaflet EQP 201, “Changes to Your Future”, to answer simple inquiries about changes arising from the Pensions Act 1995.

My Freedom of Information request is:
Please could you supply me a copy of leaflet EQP201.

Pensions Act 1995 receives Royal Assent, proposing to phase in a state pension age for women at 65 (equalising it with that for men)

I believe that The Department (DWP) do not have a duty to provide information on benefits or changes in the law.

However, when they decide to provide such information, they have a common law duty of care to those likely to read the information that they publish in their leaflets and other literature, and an obligation to take reasonable care to ensure that information is complete and correct.

They can expect members of the public to rely on it.

My Freedom of Information request is:
To raise further awareness of the state pension age equalisation under the Pensions Act 1995, in July 1995 the department issued leaflet EQP1a, Equality in State Pension Age: A Summary of Changes, to advise the general public on the changes, did this leaflet had missing information in it with regards to the 1995 Pension Act as no record of the leaflet being printed in 1995, I can only see that in 1993 and in 1996 that the EQP1a leaflet was printed 2 years before the 1995 Act and 1 year after the 1995 Act.

Yours faithfully,

P Langton

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Operations FOI Requests, Department for Work and Pensions

5 Attachments

Dear P Langton,
 
Please find attached the reply to your recent Freedom of Information
request reference number FOI 333 with four associated documents:
 
 
Thank you,
 
DWP Freedom of Information Team
 
 
 
 

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