Refusals to record WCAs: 9 or 99,999

Rick Sykes made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Refusals to record WCAs: 9 or 99,999

In a response to Mr J Otram, at this (WhatDoTheyKnow) Site, concerning the 'take-up' by claimants of the option of having their WCAs audio-recorded by Atos (dated 6 11 2012, your reference VTR IR564), you stated that the DWP only started monitoring the statistics concerned in March 2012, and that since that time (to 01 10 12) only 9 claimants had been refused the opportunity.

"…and to date 9 requests have been refused," was your wording

Question One: Can you please make absolutely clear what you mean by 'refused' in this context?

For instance, does the criterion monitored include or exclude those who only secured a recorded WCA after getting help from constituency MPs, having initially been told, by Atos, that they must go ahead with an unrecorded WCA?

Does it include or exclude those who were told they could have a recorded WCA, – only to find that having travelled – in some cases a long way and in pain – that there was no equipment available?; - or no hcp who was prepared to conduct a WCA?; - and in such circumstances consented to an unrecorded WCA under protest to avoid having to repeat the exercise, or in fear of being a reported as a refusal to submit to examination? Were or were not these cases classed as refusals in terms of the statistic you are reporting'

The supplementary illustrations of the ambiguity on your part are just that: illustrations. I would like a full and clear explanation of the purported statistic concerned, please.

Question Two: When and where did the alleged 'refusals' you refer to take place?

I note from the DWP response of 06 11 12 in question that the scant information you say you are monitoring does not include 'regions'.

You could nevertheless check nine specific data items as to time and place, within a limited and recent period concerning which you say most of the (limited) information concerned is being monitored weekly in any event, could you not? I would like the information concerned to be entirely clear as to region\MEC\and specific date of 'refusals to record'.

Question Three: what is or are the relevant 'refusal to record' figure(s) as captured SINCE 01 10 12

Yours faithfully,

Rick Sykes

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Refusals to record WCAs: 9 or 99,999

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 'Refusals to record WCAs: 9 or 99,999'.

You have failed to give any substantive response within the time statute prescribes.

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

Yours faithfully,

Rick Sykes

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.

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information owner within the Department who will respond to you direct. 

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Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
please contact us.

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DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sykes

Please see your FOI response attached

Kind regards

Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)/Department for Work and Pensions/Room 306/Block 31/Norcross/Norcross Lane/Blackpool/FY5 3TA

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Pam Williams left an annotation ()

The information provided in this response within the 3rd bullet point of the pilot 'Results' tells us all we need to know (and indeed confirms what has long been suspected) about how this 'pilot' was carried out and why they have been able to report, and subsequently rely on, the results that they got.

It is perfectly clear that NO claimant who is told that the trial is to assess a facility that would be for THEIR benefit is likely to be "angry at being asked to take part" or feel "intimidated by having their assessment recorded". Some may decline to take part for various reasons but they wouldn't have THOSE reactions.

I have read that the participants were all NEW claimants who were selected and approached individually by Atos with a request to take part in this pilot.

Clearly a new claimant is far less likely to have any awareness of the reasons why a recording could be useful (and potentially even essential) to their claim and further, there are numerous other ways in which a cohort of participants could be selected, briefed and primed to produce the required results.

It is evident from the various responses and information that DWP have given on this recording fiasco that they were deliberately manipulative in how they dealt with Harrington's recommendation.

What he was calling for was a pilot study to determine if the recording of assessments would assist the CLAIMANT and/or improve the quality of the ASSESSMENT, i.e. the accuracy, relevancy and completeness of the information obtained and reported - RIGHT FIRST TIME.

What DWP/Atos did however, is represent a pilot to a selected cohort of new claimants as an internal quality study of their processes, which they then evaluated using their normal criteria for 'quality' of product, from which they could conclude that recording did not appreciably improve that 'quality', or result in any real interest from the claimants in obtaining a copy. RESULT!

What DWP did NOT test, and absolutely does NOT want to test, is how a recorded WCA may affect the results of claims and change the numbers of claimants being placed in the 3 different categories and at what stage, i.e. at the initial decision point by the DM, at a reconsideration or at appeal.

What the government/DWP did not bargain for was that the disabled community that they are so ruthlessly trying to 'process' off of disability benefits would so quickly and easily detect and expose their duplicity.

John Slater left an annotation ()

Pam,
Sadly the DWP has been completely dishonest about the recording pilot data. There is one very obvious error relates to those people that requested a copy of their recording. The Harrington Recording Pilot Report stated that 1.7% of people requested a copy while the DWP is regularly reporting that this was less than 1%. This is a small error but shows a clear intent to deceive.

The major fraud relates to the claims regarding the people that agreed to a recording and those that actually took part on the day. Of the 344 people that agreed to take part 78 did not attend a WCA (no doubt for perfectly valid reasons). A further 11 people were prevented from having a recording due to technical or HCP issues. The DWP decided to take those 89 people and add them to the group that declined to take part in the first place. We have to remember that the size of the pilot (500 people) was already too small to be statistically significant. If the DWP then completely skews the data by moving 78 people from ‘agreed to take part’ to ‘declined’ then what little validity the pilot had simply vanishes.

If we adjust for the 89 people that did not attend / could not take part the numbers look very different:

62% of the whole sample group consented to take part in the recording.

Of those that agreed to take part and attended for a WCA 90% proceeded with recording their WCA

Pam Williams left an annotation ()

Hi John,

I agree that they have been deceitful in the whole process. A 62% result for consent across the whole group is remarkable considering that the way the pilot was represented to the potential participants caused some of them to be angry at being asked and to feel intimidated by the prospect!

Imagine what the consent rate (and take up on copies) might have been if the group had been informed that the study could benefit them, and why, and that they were looking to see if recording might improve assessments and hence the accuracy of decisions made on claims, as Harrington had requested. I can't imagine that any person would feel "angry" or "intimidated" by that proposition, can you?

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sykes

Please see your FOI response attached

Kind regards

Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)/Department for Work and Pensions/Room 306/Block 31/Norcross/Norcross Lane/Blackpool/FY5 3TA

show quoted sections

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 'Refusals to record WCAs: 9 or 99,999'.

Refusals to record WCAs: 9 or 99,999

Your Reference: FOI 4623

It has been drawn to my attention that your response of 22 01 12 to this FoI request is inconsistent with an earlier response at WDTK.

With regard to ESA claimants wanting a recording of their WCAs, in a FoI response of 25 09 12. to Mr D. Paulley at the WDTK site (your reference: VTR 3655-3037) you said:

"… in the three months ending July 2012 there were 20 requests that were not complied with, of which 9 occurred in July. This is because of DWP’s recent request to Atos Healthcare not to delay the WCA if the audio recording equipment was not available."

It would be reasonable to infer from the above that a total of 11 requests were not complied with in May and June 2012, with a further 9 being refused in July.

However with a regard to the same wishes of claimants, in the FoI response of 22 January 2013 to me (at WDTK – your reference: FOI 4623 ), you say that during the whole of 2012 only 9 requests were refused by Atos:-

"Atos Healthcare confirms that they only refused 9 requests for audio recording of assessments, this occurred in July 2012. [sic] At that time, they didn't have sufficient dual recordings equipment to cope with the volume of requests." [sic]

So, how many such requests were actually refused during 2012?

20?
9?
Another number?

and in which month or months did these refusals actually take place?

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

Yours faithfully,

Rick Sykes

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...

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J Newman left an annotation ()

Interesting about the participant selection as DWP has stated categorically in FOI responses that it did not collect any profile information about them. It says they were randomly selected, but cannot describe the process they used to ensure randomness.

As you probably know, the initial Atos report acknowledged openly that the trial had no statistical rigour and its results could not therefore be used definitively in any respect. DWP clearly does not understand what it means.

Atos recommendations post trial were quite clear and I am trying to unearth the decision ‘audit trail’ between it and what they are telling us now – what was decided when and by whom. All in the interests of the public accountability we hear so much about.

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sykes

Please see your FOI response attached

<<144 Mr Sykes response - final.pdf>>

Kind regards

Health & Disability Assessments (Operations)/Department for Work and
Pensions/Room 306/Block 31/Norcross/Norcross Lane/Blackpool/FY5 3TA

show quoted sections

J Newman left an annotation ()

In relation to its overall approach to managing recording requests, from another Foi I have spotted it would appear that neither Atos nor DWP has a record of which HCPs are willing and able to undertake recorded WCAs. Beyond belief!

William Hammonds left an annotation ()

Use whatever you like to make a record of your audible presentation. Since when did atos acquire the authority to decide how you make a record.
Atos HCP can misrepresent a client in all wca reports.
The only way to put a stop to this is to have an audio recording made of the wca.
Atos will offer to supply the audio equipment. When you arrive at your wca they will ask you to sign a waiver which states that you will not use the recording for any other purpose than to assist your claim. After all, the recording will belong to them and they can decide what a copy can be used for.
If you have a wca booked you can take your own recording equipment as long as you give formal notice that you intend to record.It could go like this "I hereby give formal notice of intent to make audio recording of my audible presentation during wca on (date) at (address). This recording will include audio recording of any other person attending wca and will be used for any porpose including but not limited to private prosecutions of hcp"
You do not need permission to give notice. Just push it in front of the hcp, and go ahead and record with whatever you feel would be admissible in court.
This will make the recording yours, and you can use it to prosecute the HCP privately. The Hcp can not hide behind the corporation when accused of misrepresentation which has caused loss or harm.
Small claims courts were designed to simplify claims, and I can assure you that you will be surprised at how easy it can be to prosecute. One step above small claims courts are fast track courts. These courts are also a breeze. Try visiting any of these courts and ask an official how to make a claim, they will gladly help you as it is in their interest to have the business.