First draft: Report of the NatCen research project entitled The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits

John Slater made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was refused by Department for Work and Pensions.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In the article:

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dw...

about the publication of the report of the NatCen research project titled The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits, the journalist John Pring reported that a whistleblower explained

"After being shown the first draft of the report, DWP told NatCen to reduce the number of references to “unmet needs” and to delete some of its analysis.

The whistleblower, who is close to the team that prepared the report, said: “It was obvious to me that the findings about unmet needs and adequacy of benefits were not what the government wanted to hear.”

They said that the final version, which was submitted to DWP in September 2020, had far fewer references to unmet needs."

RFI1: Please disclose the first draft of the NatCen report "The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits" referenced above.

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

DWP freedom-of-information-requests, 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 'First draft: Report of the NatCen research project entitled The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits'.

The Department should have provided its response by now. It has failed to meet its statutory obligations under the FOIA. I would be grateful for a response without further delay. I have written to the ICO to complain about the Department's failure to comply with the FOIA yet again.

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

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

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

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
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If your email is a valid Freedom of Information request, as per Section 8
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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
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DWP Central FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FoI) request received on 4th
December You asked for:

In the article:

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dw...

about the publication of the report of the NatCen research project titled
The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits, the journalist John Pring
reported that a whistleblower explained

"After being shown the first draft of the report, DWP told NatCen to
reduce the number of references to “unmet needs” and to delete some of its
analysis.

The whistleblower, who is close to the team that prepared the report,
said: “It was obvious to me that the findings about unmet needs and
adequacy of benefits were not what the government wanted to hear.”

They said that the final version, which was submitted to DWP in September
2020, had far fewer references to unmet needs."

RFI1: Please disclose the first draft of the NatCen report "The Uses of
Health and Disability Benefits" referenced above.

DWP Response

We can confirm that we may hold information falling within the terms of
your request; however, we need more time to consider aspects of your
request.

We are writing to advise you that the following exemption apply to the
information that you have requested:

Section 35(1)(a) Formulation of government policy

Section 10(3) of the FoI Act provides that, where public authorities have
to consider the balance of the public interest in relation to a request,
they do not have to comply with the request until such a time as is
reasonable in the circumstances.

We have not yet reached a decision on the balance of the public interest.
We need to consider all the circumstances of the case, to determine where
the balance of the public interest lies in relation to the information
that you have requested. Therefore, we will not be able to respond to your
request in full within 20 working days of the initial receipt of your
request.

We are therefore aiming to let you have a full response by 3 February
2022.

Please note that we have received your application for an Internal Review
on the handling of this request as you believe we have not responded
within the statutory timescale of 20 working days. According to our
records your FOI was received into the Department on 4 December 2021 and
your 20 working days would end on 6 January 2022.

As defined under Section 10 of the FoI Act "working day" means any day
other than a Saturday, a Sunday, Christmas Day, Good Friday or a day which
is a bank holiday under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 in any
part of the United Kingdom. For example, 4 January 2022 was only a bank
holiday in Scotland but the non-working day status applies to any and all
FoI received across the United Kingdom, regardless if they observe that
day as a bank holiday or not.

We hope that helps to provide some information on the status of your
request and we will look to formally respond to the Internal Review
request at the same time we respond to your original FoI request.

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

The attached letter confirms the details of this email.

Yours sincerely,

Central FOI Team,
Department for Work and Pensions

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 'First draft: Report of the NatCen research project entitled The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits'.

Thank you for your response relying on Section 10(3) to delay my request. I’m familiar with the Department abusing this tactic in other requests for information (“RFI”). I believe that the Department is doing so again in this instance.

I believe this because of the Department’s responses to my RFI for the “final report of the NatCen research project entitled The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits” here:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/f...

In its responses of 03 November 2021 and 26 November 2021 the Department was adamant that:

“On balance, we are satisfied that in this instance, and at this time, the public interest in
maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure. Therefore, the
information you seek will not be released.”

The information I am seeking is the first draft of the same report. Now the Department is claiming reliance on Section 10(3) to carry out a PIT barely a month after it was unequivocal that the public interest favoured withholding the final report. I do not believe the Department’s position is credible and suspect that it is abusing Section 10(3) to delay the mater being referred to the ICO. On this basis I will be making a complaint to the ICO today.

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

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

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

1 Attachment

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

1 Attachment

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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John Slater left an annotation ()

Complaint about the DWP handling of this request was sent to the ICO on 07 January 2022.

DWP Central FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Dear John Slater,

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

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

DWP Central FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FoI) request received on 4th
December You asked for:

In the article:

https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dw...

about the publication of the report of the NatCen research project titled
The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits, the journalist John Pring
reported that a whistleblower explained

"After being shown the first draft of the report, DWP told NatCen to
reduce the number of references to “unmet needs” and to delete some of its
analysis.

The whistleblower, who is close to the team that prepared the report,
said: “It was obvious to me that the findings about unmet needs and
adequacy of benefits were not what the government wanted to hear.”

They said that the final version, which was submitted to DWP in September
2020, had far fewer references to unmet needs."

RFI1: Please disclose the first draft of the NatCen report "The Uses of
Health and Disability Benefits" referenced above.

DWP Response

We wrote to you on 6 January 2022 informing you that we may hold
information failing within the scope of your request but that we needed
additional time to consider aspects relating to it.

Unfortunately, we have still not been able to complete these aspects and
as such we require more time to fully consider all elements of your
request in order to provide you with a full response.

We are writing to advise you that the following exemptions may apply to
the information that you have requested:

Section 35(1)(a) - Formulation of government policy

Section 36( 2)(b) and 36(2)(c) - Prejudice to effective conduct of public
affairs

Section 10(3) of the FoI Act provides that, where public authorities have
to consider the balance of the public interest in relation to a request,
they do not have to comply with the request until such a time as is
reasonable in the circumstances.

For the avoidance of doubt, we are not suggesting that both Section 35 and
Section 36 exemptions would apply at the same time, we know this cannot
happen. We have not yet reached a decision on the balance of the public
interest in relation to these two exemptions. As we need to consider all
the circumstances of the case, to determine where the balance of the
public interest lies in relation to the information that you have
requested. Therefore, we will not be able to respond to your request in
full within 20 working days of the initial receipt of your request.

We are therefore aiming to let you have a full response by 3 March 2022.

Please note the attached letter confirms the content of this email.

Yours sincerely,

Central FOI Team,
Department for Work and Pensions

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 'First draft: Report of the NatCen research project entitled The Uses of Health and Disability Benefits'.

The DWP is once again abusing section 10(3) to delay issuing its refusal. This in turn delays the matter being referred to the DWP. It is not the first time that the DWP has used such cynical tactics and I will ask the Commissioner to intervene.

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

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

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
 
 

show quoted sections

References

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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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John Slater left an annotation ()

The ICO is going to write to the DWP about its continued use of Section 10(3) to delay this request for information.

DWP Central FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Dear John Slater,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 4th
December.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

John Slater left an annotation ()

The Commissioner and the DWP have agreed that I do not have to submit and internal review request. The Commissioner will proceed with my complaint and look at the reliance on Section 36 by the DWP to refuse disclosure.