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Equalisation of State Pension Age 1950's Women

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

From a Pensions Bill [Lords] 20 Jun 2011 4.27 pm
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr Iain Duncan Smith): I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Fiona Mactaggart (Slough) (Lab): Which of the facts that the Secretary of State has cited was he unaware of 12 and a half months ago, when in the coalition agreement the Government signed up to not introducing these changes before 2020?

Mr Duncan Smith: As a coalition, we are, and continue to be, bound by the agreement. [ Interruption. ] The hon. Lady can shout at me in a second, but let me try to explain.

There is a slight problem with that element of the coalition agreement. It was done in that way at the time, and that is fair enough, but we have since looked at it carefully and taken legal advice. The agreement talks about men’s pension age being accelerated to 66, which would breach our legal commitment to equalisation and then not to separating the ages again. There are reasons for needing to revisit that, and we have done so and made changes.

20 Jun 2011 : Column 49
Rachel Reeves (Leeds West) (Lab): The coalition agreement states that the parties agree to “hold a review to set the date at which the state pension age starts to rise to 66, although it will not be sooner than 2016 for men and 2020 for women.'”
The Secretary of State’s provisions clearly breach the coalition agreement, so what has changed?

Mr Duncan Smith: With respect, I have just said that there are certain elements that would not be legal. That is all that I am saying. The hon. Lady can go on about this point as much as she likes, but I have answered her. She might not like my answer, but that is the one I have decided to give. The fact that the women who will be affected will remain on the same level of retirement but will be in retirement for two and a half years longer than men is an important feature. I stand by the need to equalise women’s state pension age in 2018.

Rachel Reeves: Is the Secretary of State honestly saying that the policy has been changed because of legal advice? If that is the case, will he publish that legal advice today before the winding-up speeches and before we vote? Will he also confirm that this is a breach of the coalition agreement?

Mr Duncan Smith: I do not publish legal advice, but if the hon. Lady reads the coalition agreement, she will see the reasons. I ask her to study it carefully.

Fiona Mactaggart: I heard the Secretary of State refer in his speech today to legal advice that said that the Government could not keep to their original proposals in the coalition agreement. He did not make the House aware of why the Government
cannot legally do what they originally intended, so has he made my right hon. Friend aware of why that is?

Mr Byrne: My hon. Friend makes an extremely good point, because I think that that was news to the House. We would certainly expect that legal guidance to be published before we get to the Minister’s winding-up speech. That guidance is a material point in a debate that is important to many people, as well as many right hon. and hon. Members, because this Bill has such a poor effect on women in this country—the people we represent.

Rachel Reeves: said
Is the Secretary of State honestly saying that the policy has been changed because of legal advice? If that is the case, will he publish that legal advice today before the winding-up speeches and before we vote?
Will he also confirm that this is a breach of the coalition agreement?

My Freedom of information request is:

Mr Duncan Smith had said There is a slight problem with that element of the coalition agreement. It was done in that way at the time, and that is fair enough, but we have since looked at it carefully and taken legal advice.

What Legal advice did Mr Duncan Smith obtain that changed the policy as set out in the above, please forward me a copy of that legal advice.

The Secretary of State’s provisions clearly breach the coalition agreement, so what has changed?

Mr Duncan Smith said:
With respect, I have just said that there are certain elements that would not be legal. That is all that I am saying.

My Freedom of information request is:

What was the certain elements that would not be legal, that Mr Duncan had said in the above please send me the details.

Mr Duncan Smith said:
I do not publish legal advice, but if the hon. Lady reads the coalition agreement, she will see the reasons. I ask her to study it carefully.

My Freedom of information request is:

Did Mr Duncan Smith make this Legal advice available to MP before the debates on the Pensions Bill was it available to the public could you give me the details to which this legal advice was published.

Nic Dakin (Scunthorpe) (Lab): I welcome the Secretary of State’s comments about his willingness to consider transitional arrangements. My constituents, the class that left Foxhills comprehensive school in 1970, who were all born in 1953-54, have written to me to ask why the pensions goalposts should be moved twice so close to their retirement. What would he say to those women?

Mr Duncan Smith: The only answer is that, so far, it is seven years away for women. I recognise the concerns, but I have had letters from the public stirred up by a number of people, and the facts have been simply incorrect. I am trying to set out the facts as we see them. The hon. Gentleman may disagree with us, but often people fear that something is going to happen overnight. There is some warning.

My Freedom of information request is:

Mr Duncan Smith had said , it is seven years away for women. There is some warning.
What is the notice period in what he had said There is some warnings, what are the warnings that Mr Ducan Smith had remarked upon?

The Minister and the Secretary of State did not spell out to the House what the legal problems were. Some Members have speculated that they relate to matters of European law. I hope that when the Pensions Minister

20 Jun 2011 : Column 106
winds up the debate, he can outline the legal issues. They certainly were not outlined to the country when the coalition agreement was signed, or during the press conference

Yours faithfully,

LANGTON

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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 'Equalisation of State Pension Age 1950's Women'.

over the 20 day period

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

Yours faithfully,

LANGTON

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

3 Attachments

Dear Mrs Langton,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 26
November.

Your response is attached

Yours sincerely,

DWP Operations FOI Team

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 'Equalisation of State Pension Age 1950's Women'.
I am not happy not happy with your response I wish to request an internal review

The DWP had said:

Whether a request is vexatious is assessed with reference to all the circumstances of an individual case. In this case, the Department is treating the following requests as vexatious:

FOI 2018/02420
FOI 2018/04464
FOI 2018/04488
FOI 2018/04727
FOI 2018/04876 FOI 2018/06401
FOI 2018/07320
FOI 2018/07295
FOI 2018/09010
FOI 2018/09022
FOI 2018/09014
FOI 2018/09018
FOI 2018/10157
FOI 2018/10158
FOI 2018/10172
FOI 2018/11226 FOI 2018/11478
FOI 2018/12314

The DWP had also said:

DWP accepts that meeting our commitment to transparency and openness involves absorbing a certain level of disruption and an administrative burden. However, the number and frequency of your requests, as well as the “scattergun” nature of them, the lack of clarity in terms of what recorded information they are trying to obtain, the fact that they often overlap - requesting information already in the public domain as well as information we have already provided, and also that each response only seems to result in further requests, suggests to the Department that there is no clear objective to them.

I feel that you have not taken into account any of the above my requests and the reasons I have listed below, that’s why I wish to request an internal review as the Department is treating the following requests as vexatious:

The DWP have said it’s a as the “scattergun” nature of them and also the DWP had said the lack of clarity in terms of what recorded information they are trying to obtain, , all of my FOI’s has a heading as Equalisation of State Pension Age 1950's Women which is a clean indication of what the overall subject is aboult, with regards to the clarity of what recorded information is I am trying to obtain how do I know what recorded information the DWP have on file? Many of my questions do ask what I require, the nature of my requests are very clear to obtain information from the DWP.

I had followed all my FOI with detailed information with references in order that the DWP could give an appropriate answer; all I was trying to do is get to the recorded truth, I strongly refute what the DWP had said “the lack of clarity in terms of what recorded information they are trying to obtain” you cannot say my FOI lack clarity or indeed what recorded information I was trying to obtain, my questions in my FOI which you have class as vexatious are precisely set out and it was the DWP who I asked for recorded information, if you could not supply the requested information you should have responded to my FOI appropriately at the time of each FOI’s and not grouped them after failing to keep to the correct response time.

The DWP did fail in the legal requirements to answer my individual FOI in the timely manner, if the DWP had responded to the correct time scales then I would have received a response to each of my FOI over the three months.

The DWP also failed to respond to the individual Review requests that I had to also send in order for the DWP to take action to the failure of keeping to the FOI response times, because of this second failure by the DWP of not responding it led to a accumulation of outstanding FOI from me as an individual, I kept to the lawful manner and the DWP did not.

The DWP had also failed to keep me updated of my outstanding FOI’s which is also against the Legal requirements of the FOI’s.

It is very clear that the DWP had been instructed not to reply to my FOI’s, the only way out for the DWP was to clear my outstanding FOI was to class them as vexatious, if my FOI’s were classed as vexatious why was they not given individual vexatious responses when I sent them as a Lawful request? The DWP must have given their ruling at the point of each of my requests as the content has not altered, this is a case of acting against myself not at the individual requests.

It seems to me all my FOI’s were held back by the DWP and I think it was because a high court judge has granted a judicial review to determine whether recent increases to women's state pension age were lawful 30/11/2018.

From the Dealing with vexatious requests (section 14)
Frequent or overlapping requests it says:

The requester submits frequent correspondence about the same issue or sends in new requests before the public authority has had an opportunity to address their earlier enquiries.

The DWP had said: the fact that they often overlap, the subject matter that is within my FOI is the same subject matter that links many of my FOI, however each of my requests have been sent in good faith awaiting a response, if they do overlap I should be told by the DWP each and every time, but the DWP had failed to respond in the Legal Time to my requests and did not update me to this fact.

The DWP had said the requester submits frequent correspondence about the same issue or sends in new requests before the public authority has had an opportunity to address their earlier enquiries.
This cannot be right as all of the FOI’s that you have classed as vexatious and the DWP had the opportunity to address my earlier enquires but as allredy outlined to you the DWP had missed all the Lawful time period in which they should have responded.

All of my FOI were sent in a timely manner, it was the DWP who had not responded in the timely manner missing the lawful time period, indeed on many occasions an apology was often given by the DWP by missing the FOI response time, the DWP had said, the fact that they often overlap - requesting information already in the public domain as well as information we have already provided, this is not true I had none overlapping other than asking for a review as the DWP was slow in response time it was the only way that I could obtain my request, also on many FOI that I had requested and the DWP had not kept up to the Lawful period of response, the DWP had said that they would learn from the mistakes on previously FOI’s when they had failed to respond to my FOI’s, but the DWP had not learnt otherwise they would have kept to the Lawful response periods.

If the DWP had kept to their promises I would have received them instead of the batch which you have places as vexatious.

You have placed 18 of my FOI as vexatious and at a moment stroke cleared all of them without responding or gave me an opportunity to

From Under section 14(1) of the Act, public authorities do not have to comply with vexatious requests. There is no public interest test, I disagree that my FOI do have a public interest, as it relates to the Public as well as me.

You have said that
This being the case, public authorities should not regard section 14(1) as something which is only to be applied in the most extreme circumstances, or as a last resort, I cannot understand why the DWP had used 14(1) has a last resort or in the most extreme, I have under covered DWP major mistakes and many has been confirmed by the route of FOI, I have always had a response from the DWP without any signs or indeed of not keeping to the rules, my FOI request has not altered or changed its format, the DWP had said, “and also that each response only seems to result in further requests, suggests to the Department that there is no clear objective to them” this is untrue if the DWP gives a response it only uncovers further information in which a further request is instigated, as to the DWP said I have no clear objective to them is totally wrong, its not for the DWP to dictate my objectives its for them to supplied information.

The DWP have a clear knowledge of my Past FOI’s in which I have had responses and the DWP is fully aware of my unearthing wrong information which is subject to Public Interest, and to class all of my request as vexatious is wrong and ask you to reconsider your action, its not my fault that the DWP had failed to answer my FOI’s in the Lawful manner as I did keep within the time scales.

As an individual I had a greater right of access to official information with the intention of making public bodies more transparent and accountable, I have discovered failures in the DWP which have been recorded in previous FOI, and have found major discrepancies in dates and times that the DWP had said an action had occurred which are on record within my FOI which you have said are vexatious, the DWP had buried this information by acting out section 14(1).

Some of my FOI information would become most embarrassing if confirmed to the DWP and higher ranks in Government, it seems that all my FOI were held back due to a judicial review in November 2018, I feel that the DWP was told to hold my FOI subject to the judicial review.

The DWP had said in the response that Parliament has published several comprehensive briefing papers many parliamentary debates to which government minister have responded, ministerial statement as well as responses to written and oral parliamentary questions.

Yes the DWP is right that much has been reported, it was what was reported which is different to what is often on record that I have questioned and the DWP has blocked me if finding out the Truth.

You had said in your response letter that whilst we accept that the requests relate to some issues in which the General Public has a legitimate interest, I feel that due to the failure of the DWP in responding to my FOI’s in the correct time frame you have blocked some issues that would embarrass the DWP.

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

Yours faithfully,

LANGTON

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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 'Equalisation of State Pension Age 1950's Women'.

I have added the latest additional information below to be taken into evidence for my ongoing Review on why I do not agree to make all my FOI as Vexatious, 1st January 2019 I had requesed an internal review.

I pointed the discripancy in a FOI 04727 27TH September 2018 that on a early FOI FOI2018/01058 Date:21 August 2018 the DWP had said that the letters sent out did not include any leaflets, and that the statement by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Pensions Mr Guy Opperman was saying to Parliament that they did include Leaflets, at that stage I asked in one Freedom of Information which statement was correct, the DWP over 3 months did not reply to my FOI and also classed this request as Vexatious, from an extract from House of Commond Hansard Work and Pensions, which shows a correction by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Pensions Mr Guy Opperman which was not including the words “with an accompanying leaflet”, and replacing it with “both lots of letters had appropriate supporting information”.

This correction by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Pensions Mr Guy Opperman seemed to have been made after I had made this error clear to the DWP in my FOI, how can my FOI on this subject be Vexatious when the Error was clearly wrong and it was my FOI in which the DWP was propted to change as clearly it was misleading in order to correct what I had found out.

It was not until I made it clear that this misleading Informtion was wrong as prior the DWP said it did not have any Leaflets but the the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Pensions Mr Guy Opperman said it did, this inquiry should exonerate the FOI that I had sent and I strongly believe it was buried by the DWP by making all of my FOI as Vexatious, once the time period are available you will see from what I was asking in my FOI to the correction by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Pensions Mr Guy Opperman comments it will show I was right and the DWP was wrong, I was pointing out the mistake and wanted comformation who was telling the truth the DWP or the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Pensions Mr Guy Opperman.

I will await your Review as now it is over the regulated time allredy I am dissapointed that I was treated this way when the DWP had new they were wrong and I was not given the truth which the FOI was created for.

[ GIVE DETAILS ABOUT YOUR COMPLAINT HERE ]

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

Yours faithfully,

LANGTON

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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 'Equalisation of State Pension Age 1950's Women'.

outstanding reply very long overdue

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

Yours faithfully,

LANGTON

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

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Email FOI responses will be issued from [1][email address]
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
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[2]http://www.gov.uk/dwp
 
 

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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 'Equalisation of State Pension Age 1950's Women'.

still waiting an answer to my request

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

Yours faithfully,

LANGTON

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

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Email FOI responses will be issued from [1][email address]
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
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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 'Equalisation of State Pension Age 1950's Women'.

I had the right to send a complaint with my dissatisfaction from your lack of an response to my many requests over a year, with regards to what I thought was wrong to my original requests after giving direct evidence you class my questions as vexatious, it is this I am dissatisfied with, I was lead to believe that you would at least reply back to my request to my reviews, it is very clear that you have whitewashed what I had uncovered due to high ranking serving MP's making damaging statements and mistakes and who tried to put them right after my directly uncovered questions. I will perhaps await another year before you contact me.

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

Yours faithfully,

LANGTON

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

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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

As advised in our response to your internal review request dated 29 January 2019, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the internal review, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for an independent review. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Civil Service Commission. We confirm that you have now exhausted that procedure.
 
Details of how to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner can be found at the foot of your internal review reply, however to be helpful you can access this via the link here: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/offi...
 
As we are unable to assist you further with this matter, the Department for Work and Pensions will not be responding to any further related correspondence.
 

Yours sincerely
 
DWP Policy Group FoI Team

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