Legal challenges to DWP / ATOS

P. Smith made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

The request was refused by Department for Work and Pensions.

From: P. Smith

22 January 2012

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

What legal challenges (if any) have been made to the DWP and to
ATOS since the current government took office, and by whom?

What were these challenges concerning?

Who made them?

Were they successful or not?

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

22 January 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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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References

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

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

17 February 2012


Attachment FoI 264 17.02.12.pdf
11K Download View as HTML


Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Link to this

J Newman left an annotation (17 February 2012)

Quote-marks Hi.

It is hard to believe that this info is not to hand, so the trick lies in finding the right question. With Atos it might be to do with limiting the question to the DWP contract. Contracts of this nature are usually explicit about what risks there are to the customer (DWP) if the contractor (Atos) breaks the law, particlarly if there is a hint of compensation to be paid. DWP would demand early warning from Atos somewhere within the contract.

The guys who run this site may be able to help with the question. You might start with asking about compensation paid and work backwards. Good luck.

Link to this

From: P. Smith

17 February 2012

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Thank you for your response.

(I am just pasting your response here so that people searching for
this kind of information can find it:

" DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Annex A
e-mail: freedom-of-information-re

[email address]

Our Ref: 264/12

17 February 2012
Annex A

Dear [P. Smith]

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 23
January in which you ask:

“What legal challenges (if any) have been made to the DWP and to
ATOS since the current
government took office, and by whom? What were these challenges
concerning? Who made
them? Were they successful or not?”

I can confirm that we hold information falling within the
description specified in your request.
However, we estimate that the cost of complying with your request
would exceed the
appropriate limit of £600. The appropriate limit has been specified
in regulations and for
central Government it is set at £600. This represents the estimated
cost of one person
spending 3½ working days in determining whether the Department
holds the information, and
locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Under section
12 of the Freedom of
Information Act the Department is not obliged to comply with your
request and we will not be
processing your request further.
ATOS is a separate organisation from DWP and can be contacted on
customer-
[email address]
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting
the reference number
above.
Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team". )

Please could you provide us with a copy of the document upon which
you made your calculations / estimate. This would include the
number of challenges (how many are there? Could you specify how
many challenges from or on behalf of individuals and how many from
organisations or groups etc)

I find it hard to believe that you know where the information is,
but cannot supply it for less than your quote. Why so expensive?

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith].

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

17 February 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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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References

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

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

13 March 2012


Attachment FOI716 response 13.03.12.pdf
16K Download View as HTML


Dear [P. Smith],

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: P. Smith

14 March 2012

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

RE: My initial question: What legal challenges (if any) have been
made to the DWP and to ATOS since the current government took
office, and by whom?
What were these challenges concerning?
Who made them?
Were they successful or not?"

Surely you keep a list of these somewhere, with at least summaries
of what the challenges were about, and whether or not they were
successful?
What about an index of cases successful, and those not successful?
an index must surely exist if good office practise exists.
Please just name / list all Legal Challenges / cases if there are
no summaries.

As the annotation by J Newman kindly suggests:

Are there any cases where compensation has had to be paid out as a
result of legal challenges to DWP / ATOS?
and
"With Atos it might be to do with limiting the question to the DWP
contract. Contracts of this nature are usually explicit about what
risks there are to the customer (DWP) if the contractor (Atos)
breaks the law, particlarly if there is a hint of compensation to
be paid. DWP would demand early warning from Atos somewhere within
the contract."

Does this help you to narrow your search?

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

14 March 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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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References

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

Link to this

From: P. Smith

22 March 2012

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

I would appreciate a proper response please.

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

22 March 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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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J Newman left an annotation (23 March 2012)

Quote-marks Hi.
Just to repeat my earlier point in case it helps. There are all sorts of accusations that could be levelled against an HCP as a result of a WCA, justified or otherwise and Atos & DWP will be very aware of this. They will therefore have a list somewhere as part of the contract that confirms which Atos would be liable for and which DWP would ultimately be liable for. Very much standard practice with an outsourced contract and gross negligence not to have one. Even if DWP cannot be fussed, believe me the Atos lawyers will have made sure that there is a know limit to potential liabilities - they would not have left it to chance.

Likewise, any hint of litigation and Atos would simultaneously alert their own lawyers + DWP and each case would tracked through joint management meetings to its conclusion. Again, standard practice.

Link to this

From: P. Smith

27 March 2012

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 'Legal challenges to DWP
/ ATOS'.

I think the information must exist somewhere.

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

Yours faithfully,

[P. Smith]

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

27 March 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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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References

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

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From: P. Smith

7 April 2012

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

"Atos have been found breaking the law on both advertising and
their contract with the DWP, not to mention those found fit for
work who later go on to die. Any other business would have been
charged with corporate manslaughter and closed down. It seems Atos
have Govt protection."

Please would you supply any information, in any recorded form,
which would reflect government protection for ATOS.

Thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

7 April 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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...

Link to this

From: P. Smith

8 April 2012

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Re: "I can confirm that we hold information falling within the
description specified in your request.
However, we estimate that the cost of complying with your request
would exceed the appropriate limit of £600. The appropriate limit
has been specified in regulations and for central Government it is
set at £600. This represents the estimated cost of one person
spending 3½ working days in determining whether the Department
holds the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the
information. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act the
Department is not obliged to comply with your request and we will
not be processing your request further."

I believe my request to very much be in the Public's interest.
Surely you have designated information officers who are already
paid for storing and retrieving information?
Surely you must have modern computer databases that can print out
information as a result of all kinds of database searches?
Please could you let us have the instructions for your computer
systems, and maybe someone out here can help you do the job more
cheaply and efficiently?

You must have a log of all freedom of information and other types
of information requests, so please could you print out the log re
my FoI request, as we would like to see all the reasoning and
statistics behind your decision to withold this information.

You have confirmed that you DO hold this information, so why not
knock this cost off the £600 and proceed with my request?

Many thanks,
Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

8 April 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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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References

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

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

16 April 2012


Attachment FoI IR 184 16.04.12.pdf
11K Download View as HTML


Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Link to this

P. Smith left an annotation (19 April 2012)

Quote-marks Response from Dept of Justice to same request:

ess & Compliance Unit
Information Directorate
Post point 10.34
102 Petty France
London
SW1H 9AJ

F 020 3334 4455
E xxxx.xxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx.xxx.xx

www.justice.gov.uk
Pat Smith
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx

17 April 2012 Our Ref: 75858

Dear Mr Smith,

SUBJECT: Freedom of Information Request

Thank you for your email of 7 April 2012, in which you asked for the following information from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

How many legal challenges have been made to The Department of Work and Pensions and ATOS (e.g.: over the biased conduct and findings of Work Capability Assessments,) and concerning DWP decision-making re ESA claims, (e.g.: when evidence is repeatedly excluded from decision-making,) in the years since the WCA / ESA was introduced?

Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

I can confirm that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) does not hold the information that you have requested.

You can find out more about information held for the purposes of the Act by reading some guidance points we consider when processing a request for information, attached at the end of this letter.

You can also find more information by reading the full text of the Act, available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000... and further guidance http://www.justice.gov.uk/information-ac...

However, you may wish to contact the Department for Work and Pensions as they may hold some of the information you have asked for.

You can contact the Department for Work and Pensions at the following website:
http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

You have the right to appeal our decision if you think it is incorrect. Details can be found in the ‘How to Appeal’ section attached at the end of this letter.

Yours sincerely

Data Access and Compliance Unit

Freedom of Information - How to Appeal

Internal Review
If you are not satisfied with this response, you have the right to an internal review. The handling of your request will be looked at by someone who was not responsible for the original case, and they will make a decision as to whether we answered your request correctly.

If you would like to request a review, please write or send an email to the Data Access and Compliance Unit within two months of the data of this letter, at the
following address:

Data Access and Compliance Unit,
Information & Communications Directorate,
Ministry of Justice,
102 Petty France,
London
SW1H 9AJ

E-mail: xxxx.xxxxxx@xxxxxxx.xxx.xxx.xx

Information Commissioner’s Office
If you remain dissatisfied after an internal review decision, you have the right to apply to the Information Commissioner’s Office. The Commissioner is an independent regulator who has the power to direct us to respond to your request differently, if he considers that we have handled it incorrectly.

You can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at the following address:

Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Internet address: https://www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us...

EXPLANATION OF THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

The Freedom of Information Act gives any person legal right of access to any and all recorded information which is held by a public authority.

Section 84 of the Act states that in order for a request for information to be handled as a Freedom of Information request, it must be for recorded information. For example, a Freedom of Information request would be for a copy of an HR policy, rather than an explanation as to why we have that policy in place.

Section 1(3) of the Freedom of Information Act. We have included some extracts from the legislation, as well as some of the guidance we use when applying it. We hope you find this information useful.

The legislation

Section 1: General right of access to information held by public authorities.
(1) Any person making a request for information to a public authority is entitled—
(a) to be informed in writing by the public authority whether it holds information of the description specified in the request, and
(b) if that is the case, to have that information communicated to him.
(2) Subsection (1) has effect subject to the following provisions of this section and to the provisions of sections 2, 9, 12 and 14.
(3) Where a public authority—
(a) reasonably requires further information in order to identify and locate the information requested, and
(b) has informed the applicant of that requirement,
the authority is not obliged to comply with subsection (1) unless it is supplied with that further information.
Guidance
Is the request clear and specific?
If the request is unclear or vague, the public authority are obliged to provide reasonable assistance to the person who made the request.
This means more than simply telling them that their request is not specific enough, the public authority should take reasonable steps to provide assistance to the requester. The aim should be to assist the requester to refine their request so that it becomes specific enough for the public authority to identify the information they want. Once the original request has been clarified, the public authority can continue to process the request in line with the Freedom of Information Act.

Please see the link to FOIA: Please see the link to FOIA: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

Link to this

P. Smith left an annotation (19 April 2012)

Quote-marks The response:

DWP Central Freedom of Information Team
Annex A

e-mail: freedom-of-information-re

[email address]

Our Ref: VTR184/IR/2012

16th April 2012
Annex A

Dear Pat Smith,

An Internal Review has been conducted to the responses to the original request:

“What legal challenges (if any) have been made to the DWP and to ATOS since the current
government took office, and by whom?
What were these challenges
concerning?
Who made them?
Were they successful or not?”

We do not hold records that would provide a breakdown that is specific to Legal Challenges to
DWP and ATOS.
Furthermore, the role which ATOS undertakes in the decision making process is to provide an
independent report to the decision-maker. ATOS do not make decisions on benefit entitlement
themselves.

We do hold records of individual legal challenges to DWP but not in a single aggregated form.
The scope of the request is very wide as there are large numbers of cases and various types of
matters that may be considered as challenges against DWP. Therefore it would be difficult and
time consuming to recover what, if any, information is held.

This would take considerable amounts of time and thus the reason for using section 12.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
above.
Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Link to this

From: P. Smith

19 April 2012

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

RE: "We do hold records of individual legal challenges to DWP but
not in a single aggregated form. The scope of the request is very
wide as there are large numbers of cases and various types of
matters that may be considered as challenges against DWP. Therefore
it would be difficult and time consuming to recover what, if any,
information is held."

Thank you for this response.

If not in single aggregated form, then what form? It must all
surely be on a "searchable by heading or question" database?
What headings are searchable on your database?

If not,
Please would you send us a sample? Maybe on behalf of people who
only scored 0 in their WCA, despite having been acknowledged as
having a medical condition, or having lost their job on ill-health
grounds, or those who were dying but refused ESA, or maybe from
people whose most relevant documents were not looked at at all
during the decision-making process, for example?

OR please send a list of legal challenges from the last year or
quarter, so as not to incur too much search time / cost.

Many thanks,

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

19 April 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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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References

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

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

23 April 2012


Attachment FoI IR 170 23.04.12.pdf
12K Download View as HTML


Dear [P. Smith]

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

show quoted sections

Link to this

From: P. Smith

27 April 2012

Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

Please see my last response. I do not know how much further I can
narrow it down as I do not know how many / what type of challenges
there are!

That's what I am asking you!

How am I supposed to know?

This sort of information should be readily available in any
official organisation worth it's salt.

How is such information stored, by what searches? If I know this,
then I can ask more specifically can't I?

Does this help you to narrow it down: Please supply a list of legal
challenges from the last 2 years.

Thank you,

Yours sincerely,

[P. Smith]

Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

27 April 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

10 May 2012


Attachment FOI Response 3136 1551.pdf
15K Download View as HTML


Dear [P. Smith]

Please see the DWP's response to your FoI request.

Kind regards
Central FoI Team

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Link to this

From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

6 June 2012


Attachment FoI IR 184 and 216 06.06.12.pdf
11K Download View as HTML


Dear Mrs Smith

Please see the attached letter regarding your FoI requests.

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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Link to this

J Newman left an annotation ( 7 June 2012)

Quote-marks It looks like at last you may be getting somewhere.

As an aside, the ICO will help with totally unbelievable claims by DWP that they do not hold information using a kind of plausibility test.

Link to this

From: DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence
Department for Work and Pensions

15 August 2012


Attachment P.Smith IR150 Response.pdf
17K Download View as HTML


Dear [P. Smith]

Please find enclosed a response to your request for an Internal Review of
your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act. MSCCT
apologise for the delay in providing you with a response.

<<[P. Smith] IR150 Response.pdf>>

Kind regards

Medical Services Contract Correspondence Unit, Department for Work and
Pensions, Room 306, Block 3, Norcross, Norcross Lane, Blackpool, FY5 3TA
Tel 01253 611556, extn 69956

Please consider the environment before printing

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John Slater left an annotation (22 November 2012)

Quote-marks This response is outrageous! It is part of the FOIA to narrow the request in order to help the public authority. You may wish to remind the DWP or simply complain to the ICO as I suspect it will not be happy!

Link to this

P. Smith left an annotation (22 November 2012)

Quote-marks It is indeed outrageous.

Link to this

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