Mandatory Reconsideration Process - When is a MR request acted upon by a human being
Dear Department for Work and Pensions,
I read the following excerpt on the rightsnet discussion forum regarding Mandatory Reconsideration (“MR”):
“Don’t be misled by the fact that the law allows you to lodge these in writing, and think that means that the Dept will therefore receive them, read them and ... you know ... reconsider.
Oh no. They will just be scanned in and sit there indefinitely in the document imaging system. You have to ring the helpline, as only the helpline can create a ‘task’ and not the post opening scanning person.”
My requests for information listed below are framed as questions about the MR process. Therefore I remind the DWP of the following ICO guidance:
“A request in the form of a question will be valid under Section 8(1)(c), provided it still describes distinguishing characteristics of the information, as in the examples below where the information is differentiated by its subject matter. (sickness absence policy, overseas aid spending, and measures to tackle vandalism respectively);
• ‘Why has the Council changed its policy on sickness absence?’
• ‘How much money did the department spend on overseas aid last year?’
• ‘What is being done to tackle vandalism in the local park?’
If the question fulfils the above criteria but is ambiguous or unclear then it will still be a valid request under 8(1)(c), although the authority will have to go back to the requester to ask them for clarification in accordance with its duty to provide advice and assistance under Section 16.”
RFI1: Is the statement above correct that a MR submitted in writing will not be acted upon by a human being until a task is created via the helpline?
RFI 2: At what point in the MR process and why whom (the role not the person) is an active task created such that the request for a MR from a claimant is acted upon by a human being?
RFI 3: Is submitting a MR in writing rather than via the telephone treated any differently by the DWP in terms of it being acted upon?
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You can expect a reply by 14 July 2016 unless I need to come back to you to clarify your request or the balance of the public interest test needs to be considered.
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