Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

The PIP contracts between the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Atos IT Services UK Ltd (2 lots) (“Atos”), and Capita Business Services Ltd (“Capita”) specify that the both parties must supply the Department with regular management information (“MI”). The periodicity for the “MI” varies, e.g. in some cases it is monthly while in others it appear to be once per year.

The requirement for the MI is prescribed in the Service Specification FINAL v2.0 and associated annexes (11 in total). For the avoidance of doubt the term MI in this request refers to all management information described in the document Service Specification FINAL v2.0 and its associated annexes. This is to include information regardless of periodicity (i.e. it is not limited to that provided monthly). It is also to include any additions that logically fall within management information agreed between the Department and Capita and Atos.

RFI1 - Please disclose the MI provided to the Department by Capita (Lot 2) and Atos (Lots 1 and 3) that covers the period January 2017 to December 2017. Please note that if any disclosure does not mirror the contractual requirements in Service Specification FINAL v2.0 and its 11 annexes I expect the Department to cite the relevant exemption or explain why this information is not held (e.g. changes to contract have been agreed).

This request is made on the assumption that the Department will carry out relevant redaction of personal information exempt under the FOIA (Section 40 (2)).

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

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

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DWP Health Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear J Slater,
 
Please see our response to your recent Freedom of Information requests.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Correspondence Team
Contracted Health and Employment Services
 

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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 'PIP Contracts - Management Information 2017'.

The Department has aggregated the following requests for information (RFI”) using the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.

THE REQUESTS FOR INFORMATION
1. PIP Contract Meetings - Minutes and Change Requests for 2016
Date submitted: 4th February 2018
URL: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

2. ESA & PIP Mandatory Reconsideration Data
Date submitted: 6th February 2018
URL: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

3. PIP Contracts - Management Information 2017
Date submitted: 8th February 2018
URL: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/p...

4. ESA - Info created during Re-referral, Pre-board checks.
Date submitted: 9th February 2018
URL:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

5. ESA - Contractual Performance Monitoring of CHDA Ltd
Date submitted: 12th February 2018
URL: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

6. ESA - ESA113 form fees & monitoring
Date submitted: 13th February 2018
URL:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

7. ESA - Contract with CHDA Ltd - Quality Assurance
Date submitted: 18th February 2018
URL:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/e...

DWP REASONS FOR REFUSAL
The Department has justified citing S.12 by claiming
“We consider each of the seven requests to be of a similar nature as they all relate to either decision making or performance delivery of disability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions. In particular, all of the requests would be allocated to the same team for response as it falls within their specialised area.”

THE LAW
Before I explain why the Department’s reliance on aggregation is unlawfully it may be helpful to explain what the law actually say.

So far as it applies to these requests Regulation 5 states:
“5.—(1) In circumstances in which this regulation applies, where two or more requests for information to which section 1(1) of the 2000 Act would, apart from the appropriate limit, to any extent apply, are made to a public authority—
(a) by one person, or
(b) by different persons who appear to the public authority to be acting in concert or in pursuance of a campaign, the estimated cost of complying with any of the requests is to be taken to be the total costs which may be taken into account by the authority, under regulation 4, of complying with all of them.
(2) This regulation applies in circumstances in which–
(a) the two or more requests referred to in paragraph (1) relate, to any extent, to the same or similar information, and (b) those requests are received by the public authority within any period of sixty consecutive working days.”

WHY DEPARTMENT CANNOT RELY ON AGGREGATION
The FOIA and Regulation 5 refer to requests covering the same or similar information. Whilst it does not define ‘same’ and ‘similar’, most reputable dictionaries offer definitions of both words as:

Same: “Identical; not different”

Similar: “Having a resemblance in appearance, character, or quantity, without being identical”

This clearly means that any similarity was relate to the contents of the information requested. This is entirely consistent with other aspects of the FOIA such as assessing the public interest test. Therefore for the Department to lawfully aggregate the RFIs the specific content of the information requested must be the same or similar according.

However this is not what the Department has done. Its justification is that the requests relate to:
1. “decision making or performance delivery of disability assessments”; and
2. “would be allocated to the same team for response as it falls within their specialised area.”

Point 1 is clearly an attempt to suggest that the requested information falls within a particular theme or thread. This is often raised as justification for aggregation and is flawed. This was addressed in Benson v IC and the Governing Body of Buckinghamshire New University (EA20110016) at [29]:

“Whilst the Tribunal understood the Commissioner’s analysis the Tribunal felt that it was not compelling and relied on concepts that were not actually within the legislation – e.g. ‘overarching theme’. The Tribunal felt that any consequent uncertainty should, on balance, be resolved in the Appellant’s favour.”

The Department is clearly making the same mistake of attempting to rely on concepts that are not within the legislation.

Point 2 is irrelevant. It matters not which team within an organisation RFIs are dealt with. There is no statutory exemption to refuse a RFI purely because it falls to be dealt with by a particular team.

For the avoidance of doubt I list the information being requested by each RFI and then explain why the RFIs refused by the DWP cannot lawfully be aggregated.

RFI1: PIP Contract Meetings - Minutes and Change Requests for 2016
Information: Minutes of meetings and change requests.

RFI2: ESA & PIP Mandatory Reconsideration Data
Information: Datasets held by the Department about Mandatory Reconsiderations (“MR”). Questions about the type of data held by the DWP in respect of MR for ESA & PIP and how it can be interrogated using the DWP standard IT systems.

RFI3: PIP Contracts - Management Information 2017
Information: Management information submitted to the DWP each month by its two contractors for 2017.

RFI4: ESA - Info created during Re-referral, Pre-board checks.
Information: Information created/recorded by a healthcare professional when deciding to call a person to attend a face to face assessment.

RFI5: ESA - Contractual Performance Monitoring of CHDA Ltd
Information: The performance monitoring report” and “Balanced Scorecard report” supplied to the DWP by CHDA Ltd each month for the period 2016.

RFI6: ESA - ESA113 form fees & monitoring
Information: Fees paid to GPs to complete the form ESA113 required by the DWP and various questions about the process.

RFI7 - ESA - Contract with CHDA Ltd - Quality Assurance
Information: Audit reports that relate to quality assurance.

No reasonable person can conclude that the information being requested in the RFIs listed above is the “same” or “similar”.

I trust the common sense will prevail and the Department will reconsider what I believe is a genuine mistake and deal with each of the RFIs separately and on their own merits. I note that the Department has suggested that at least one of the RFIs would breach S12 on costs. If this is the case I expect the Department to provide a detailed estimate of its costs and an explanation why it is not possible to provide the requested information within the statutory limits.

However, should be Department persist with this flawed approach and it ends up before a Tribunal I will seek an order for costs to be made against the Department.

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

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 accepted by the DWP FoI mailbox.
 
By the next working day your request will be forwarded to the relevant
information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 
 
If your email is a Freedom of Information request you can normally
expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Should you 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...

DWP Health Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear J Slater,
 
Please see our response to your recent requests for an Internal Review.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Correspondence Team
Contracted Health and Employment Services
 

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John Slater left an annotation ()

The DWP has aggregated this and the following requests for information under S.12 FOIA. I have complained to the Information Commissioner as I do not believe it is possible to claim that all 7 requests are for information that is the “same or similar”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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