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Published Complaints Raw Data (not revealing identity of claimants)

We're waiting for Mark Abraham to read recent responses and update the status.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I'd like to be able to access the raw data for complaint statistics, that doesn't reveal information about the claimants, particularly in the field of Universal Credit (I accidentally nearly used the word 'Complaints' instead of 'Credit' - how subconsciously Freudian!) .

This is in light of the following exchanges detailed in my journal:

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05/06/2020
Hi Mark

We have received your escalation complaint at Tier 2 My Colleague Jamie spoke to you yesterday (04/06/2020). your complaint has been allocated to me for investigation I will hopefully be able to respond to you in writing within 15 working days. If I have not completed my investigation by then I will update you here on your journal.

Please contact your work coach or case manager if you have any other enquiries regarding your UC claim.

Paul
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24/06/2020
Hi Paul,
looking forward to hearing from you tomorrow as to progress on my tier 2 complaint, and steps still to be taken, if a full response isn't possible by then.

Let me know if you need more information from me.

Mark Abraham
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24/06/2020

Hi Mark ,

I hope you are safe and well

I have forwarded your message on to Paul for you.

Stay Safe
Regards
Sabhia

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26/06/2020

Hi Paul,
it's now 15 working days, and I haven't heard from you to say you're still investigating, or from you in writing. I'm disappointed, but not entirely surprised.

If you've written, did you write to (address redacted)? I hope you didn't use (address redacted), as your idiot complaints resolution manager did back last year. And if you have written, I hope you have the capability to copy and paste the contents of a letter into the journal so I can receive it the same day? If you don't know how to do it, I can explain how to - it's really not that hard.

Writing a letter rather than emailing, using the journal, or even calling isn't instant. The purpose of making universal credit digital is to take advantage of it's quickness, and ease of reception. There may be guidance to write a response, rather than convey it electronically, but frankly that's a rule for your department, and doesn't help the customer. I'm writing to chase what's happening, and needlessly so; the journal is an acceptable form of delivery to me. An email is equally effective, but I'm aware that the DWP don't like to use emails, my best guess being that they don't become universal information for those using the UC system. Whatever reason you might have, if you promise something, and it doesn't happen, that only serves to aggravate the situation further.

I'm hopeful that wasn't your intention. Nonetheless, that's the effect not replying has had on me. I knew, in past employment, that reasons for my success were due to recognising the needs and expectations of the customer, and meeting them, and where the guidance was otherwise, arguing the case for meeting those expectations, and getting an explanation of why a path was being followed that was different, and explaining the reasons why? A tip for you if you're in that circumstance; get the person instructing to either write the explanation themselves; or get them to explain why and tell them you are going to relay that instruction for you to tell them, and explain that you can't do otherwise. But it seems strange, that a benefit system, designed to be digital, can't also be digital when it comes to complaints. I do hope to hear from you in response.

Mark
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29/06/2020
Hi Mark ,
I do apologise, I have asked for an update from Paul for you in relation to the contact update you were expecting .

He has completed a response to your complaint however this is currently with the quality team and should be posted out to you in the next couple of days. we usually advise to allow 2 weeks to receive mail.

Regards,

Sabhia
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29/06/2020
Hi Sabhia,
thanks, I'm grateful for your considerate reply.

However, it's Paul who should be contacting me to say that, not you. I say that as it's a courtesy to do so if promising to do something, and then not doing what they said to do.

Further, it's further complicated by not responding or ignoring my clear request by either copying and pasting the contents of the letter into the journal, or emailing me, as is possible, and in the spirit of digital delivery. No response on that point at all. I'd even have accepted a phone call, from Paul or the people he works with allegedly attempting to RESOLVE complaints.

It might have been an inadvertent omission by Paul, but in the circumstances, causes offence to me, and reinforces my impression that some individuals, or perhaps the DWP as a corporate entity take a discriminatory view against claimants who stand up for themselves, and I believe are only asking for their rights, as per statute, regulations and guidelines, and, frankly, plain common sense.
I am surprised that common sense is scant in some areas of the DWP; I believe it's a part of the expectations of an efficient civil service, and undeniably so. I can look up the published references meant to be used by the department. Yet any sight of any practice of common sense by some in the DWP seems obscured by a thicket of bone-headed bureaucracy. It's hard for the department as a whole to do right if individuals are letting it down.

As you can see, my feelings in this matter are strong, but I believe justified by the circumstances. Not everyone at the DWP behaves in the manner I've described, or is intentionally like this. The DWP operates on behalf of all the British people, so it's as much my responsibility to pursue this matter, as unless I act, the department will continue to do wrong. Knowing that wrong has been done, and stands uncorrected gnaws at my soul; the effect is demoralising, and doesn't make me want to carry on living. Perhaps that's some individuals intentions, or the inability of the DWP to act to deal adequately with problems.

I've participated and contributed with DWP Digital, to convey as a claimant my experiences of Universal Credit, both good, and sadly not infrequently, bad. The inability of the DWP to use the UC journal system, or an email, or even the phone is one. Again there is published guidance on what should be done in event of complaints; I wish the DWP would follow it.

Please tell Paul this response is to be regarded as an additional complaint also. He may not have intended it consciously, but the effect in the circumstances is the same.

There are good people at the DWP, and I regard yourself, the Bolton Service team, and Mohan, and the majority of the Croydon job centre team as fitting that category. But I'm afraid my ability to give credit here certainly isn't universal. Hoping from a response not from you, but from higher up, and quickly.

Best,

Mark Abraham
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I thought that from this particular section of journal entries you'll observe this complaint is now heading into 20 months, without even reaching the second and final level of individual DWP scrutiny, before allowing me to pursue the course of referring the matter to an Independent Case Examiner (also known as an Ombudsman). I'm interested to be able to analyse, with accuracy the data going to put together the published statistics by the DWP. I need to do so, as part of my complaint now, and as part of a possible reference to the National Audit Office.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Abraham

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