Pre Assignment of HCPs to WCAs

J Newman made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Atos uses HCPs with widely varying levels of clinical expertise, but they all receive more or less the same level training in disability assessment. Atos insists that regardless of clinical experience, all of its HCPs are equally qualified to undertake any WCA, regardless of the claimant’s condition or history. The fact remains that some conditions are considerably more complicated than others.

Does Atos make any attempt whatsoever to match claimant’s condition with HCP expertise? In view of the above, the answer should be no and that WCAs are assigned to HCPs randomly, but I would like you to confirm that this is the case.

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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

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

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Department who will respond to you direct. 

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

1 Attachment

Dear J Newman

Please see attached response to your FoI request 183

Kind regards

DWP Central FoI Team

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Dear DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request,

thank you and all very interesting, but you have not exactly answered my question - yes or no?

Yours sincerely,

J Newman

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

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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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 'Pre Assignment of HCPs to WCAs'.

On 14th Feb I pointed out to you that you had not answered my question. I did not request a review as there was nothing to review at that point. I have heard nothing since, so I guess now I must request a review on 2 grounds:

a) you have not answered my original question (note that if I ask for a yes/no answer and you provide anything other than this, you have NOT answered the question)

b) My question is outstanding well over 20 days.

My money is on the fact that in the review you will ignore a) and claim that the one response you did make (albeit not what was requested) was within 20 days, so everything is fine.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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

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

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

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Newman,

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

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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 'Pre Assignment of HCPs to WCAs'.

This is not ‘additional’ information – it is exactly what I asked for in the first place and had I not wanted clarification over your ambiguous first response, I would have been none the wiser and left with what amounts to a WRONG answer.

Why did you not provide this information first time?

1)Inadequate investigation? or

2)An attempt to mislead me?

You may regard this as a fairly trivial error, but inaccurate or incomplete responses undermine all of the principles behind FoI and are illegal. The nature of your answer will determine whether or not I complain to the ICO.

In the light of this ‘new’ information:

1)What and when is the ‘filework’ stage?

2)What special skills does the reviewing HCP have to determine which conditions need more expert assessment? Remember, HCPs do not necessarily have and you say do not need any particular diagnostic or clinical expertise.

3)To ensure consistency of approach and in fairness to patients, there must be clear guidelines for this reviewing process – for example, what is a ‘complex neurological’ illness? It is not in the WCA handbook, so where is it?

4)Where is there any evidence that this reviewing process takes place at all – again, no mention of it in the WCA manual, so this might just be hearsay?

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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

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

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

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

Our Ref: VTR 3026-IR140

Dear J Newman,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Internal Review request that
was received by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Adelphi on 13
March and forwarded for response by DWP Medical Services Contracts
Correspondence Team (MSCCT) Freedom of Information (FoI) Internal
Reviewing Officer (IRO).

You asked in your email:-

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 'Pre Assignment of HCPs to WCAs'.

On 14th Feb I pointed out to you that you had not answered my question.
I did not request a review as there was nothing to review at that point.
I have heard nothing since, so I guess now I must request a review on 2
grounds:

a) you have not answered my original question (note that if I ask for a
yes/no answer and you provide anything other than this, you have NOT
answered the question)

b) My question is outstanding well over 20 days.

My money is on the fact that in the review you will ignore a) and claim
that the one response you did make (albeit not what was requested) was
within 20 days, so everything is fine.

The MSCCT IRO has read your letter and accepted this as a request for an
Internal Review in order that the handling of your request was dealt
with appropriately, and would like to apologise for the delay in
providing you with a response to this request.

Your request for an internal review of your original request relating to
the 'PreAssignment of HCPs to WCAs (FOI 2789-183) was received on 14
February 2012 (FOI 2902-IR80).
The Freedom of Information (FoI) Act allows 20 working days from date of
receipt of the request in which to respond. MSCCT endeavour to answer
promptly and no later than the 20 day deadline, unless the deadline is
extended to consider if an exemption applies.
In reviewing your request the MSCCT FOI IRO does not uphold your
complaint as the Department responded to both requests (FOI 2789-183)
and (FOI 2902-IR80) within the 20 day target, and I should note that FoI
is about providing recorded information held. It is not to provide
yes/no answers to confirm a statement of your belief.

In this case you were provided with the information held that would
answer that question, which if you read the details will show that the
answer is generally no, but can be yes, as the additional information
provided to you to shows that Healthcare Professionals (HCP) are not
allocated prior to the claimant presenting themselves for their Work
Capability Assessment (WCA) at the Medical Assessment Centre (MAC),
although there can be exceptions to this where HCPs are canvassed in
advance to consider conducting a WCA which is being audio recorded and
if it is a neurological medical condition where the file will be marked
for Doctor only.

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

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

------------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------
Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act

If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal
review by e-mailing [DWP request email] or by
writing to DWP, Central FoI Team,
Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9NA. Any review request should be
submitted within two months of the date of this letter.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may
apply directly to the Information Commissioner's Office for a decision.
Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have
exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can
be contacted at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk

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

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Newman,

Please see attached response to your Internal Review request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

From: J Newman [mailto:[FOI #100654 email]]
Sent: 13 March 2012 15:17
To: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Pre
Assignment of HCPs to WCAs

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 'Pre Assignment of HCPs
to WCAs'.

This is not 'additional' information - it is exactly what I asked
for in the first place and had I not wanted clarification over your
ambiguous first response, I would have been none the wiser and left
with what amounts to a WRONG answer.

Why did you not provide this information first time?

1)Inadequate investigation? or

2)An attempt to mislead me?

You may regard this as a fairly trivial error, but inaccurate or
incomplete responses undermine all of the principles behind FoI and
are illegal. The nature of your answer will determine whether or
not I complain to the ICO.

In the light of this 'new' information:

1)What and when is the 'filework' stage?

2)What special skills does the reviewing HCP have to determine
which conditions need more expert assessment? Remember, HCPs do not
necessarily have and you say do not need any particular diagnostic
or clinical expertise.

3)To ensure consistency of approach and in fairness to patients,
there must be clear guidelines for this reviewing process - for
example, what is a 'complex neurological' illness? It is not in the
WCA handbook, so where is it?

4)Where is there any evidence that this reviewing process takes
place at all - again, no mention of it in the WCA manual, so this
might just be hearsay?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is
available on the Internet at this address:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/pr...

Yours faithfully,

J Newman



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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 'Pre Assignment of HCPs to WCAs'.

It seems my wager on 13th March was spot on.

My original request was dated 16th January. You responded on 13th February, but the response categorically DID NOT answer the question as you acknowledged in IR80 on 13th March. Although you described it as “additional information”, it was only what I had asked in the first place and you have not explained why it was not provided previously. Your response on 13th of February being worthless therefore doesn’t count. The legislation does not allow you to hedge a question or issue a meaningless response within 20 days and claim it as a success. The question was not answered until 13th March which is well over 20 days from when it was raised.

Finally, you accepted my IRR on 13th March, but did not respond to it (in part) until 21st June. You have not seen fit to explain this extended delay – well in excess of statutory requirements.

The new information you did not provide until 13th March required 4 points of clarification which I spelt out on 13th March. I did not receive any form of response to them until 25th June, again well over 20 days. As you have misrepresented the facts within it, I would like to give you a final opportunity to comment.

To repeat, I was only “dissatisfied” with 0183 because it did not answer the request. IR80 did not provide “additional” information, only the information I had requested in the first place. I do not understand your point about “detail” – my question was straightforward and if you found it ambiguous, you should have asked for clarification at the time. You have not provided a legitimate reason why the “additional” information was not provided previously, so the only conclusion can be that either the first response was poorly researched or it was deliberately attempted to withhold information.

Please be sure to answer this request point by point as I will be forwarding to the ICO and I’m sure they would appreciate clarity.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request, 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...

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References

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DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Newman

Please find enclosed a response to your request for a review of the
information previously supplied   under the Freedom of Information Act by
the Medical Services Contract Correspondence Team Freedom of Information
Internal Review Officer, who apologises for the delay in providing you
with a response.

<<FOI 3488 - IR 415 Mr Newman 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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