RFP 27 - Recording Medical Assessments

John Slater made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

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The request was successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

RFP 33 Harrington Recording Pilot, dated 29/03/2011 v1 Final contains the following text on page one:

“In RFP 27, DWP asked Atos Healthcare to consider options for conducting audio recordings of medical assessments for various possible DWP requirements scenarios.”

Given that the DWP has released RFP 33 please provide me with a copy of RFP 27. I assume that commercial details can be redacted as per RPF 33. However, DWP will need to explain why redaction was necessary given the age of the data.

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

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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 'RFP 27 - Recording Medical Assessments'.

Yet another request that has not been answered within the 20 day statutory deadline. It must be nice working for an organisation that believes it is perfectly acceptable to flout English Law. The real shame is that the organisation is a government department! Is the department going to answer or shall I simply by-pass the usual game of the DWP refusing despite IRR and refer to matter straight to the ICO?
Which option would the DWP prefer?

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

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

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

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Jim Otram left an annotation ()

Well said, JS.

J Newman left an annotation ()

It has reached the point ICO needs the fullest & clearest possible picture of DWP's contempt for FoI - letter not to mention spirit.

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 'RFP 27 - Recording Medical Assessments'.

IRR sent on 27th October and still no reply. Last chance to comply with the law or it goes to the ICO.

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

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...

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DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Slater

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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Dear DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence,

DO NOT IGNORE THIS

Yet another classic DWP response! Admit it hasn't complied with the law but still not provide the reqested data. To be clear unless the requested data is provided to me by 17.00 on the 7th December 2012 I will have no option but to issue a complaint to the ICO.

I am not sending an IRR as the DWP will use it as an excuse to do nothing for at least 20 days!

THIS IS YOUR FINAL CHANCE

Yours sincerely,

John Slater

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Slater

Please see your FOI response attached

<<3954-3775 Mr Slater Response.pdf>> <<RFP 27.PDF>>

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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John Slater left an annotation ()

People may find the supplied document interesting reading! It states:

"1.2 A number of complaints and enquiries from MPs have been about why medical assessments cannot be recorded. Due to this legal advice has been obtained to confirm that recording of assessments must be allowed without unreasonable obstructions.”

"without unreasonable obstructions" - would anyone not consider the ongoing behaviour of the DWP and Atos in relation to recording WCA as placing unreasonable obstructions in the way of recording?

The "pros and cons" at the end of the document also make interesting reading and give an insight into the thinking within the DWP.

Jim Otram left an annotation ()

It certainly does make interesting reading, John.

And not only has the DWP been obstructive; it has demonstrably MISLED the public about the nature of the legal advice it has received, for a long time.

It would be difficult to imagine a clearer example of a case in which, on the ICO's own analysis, the public interest in disclosure of ALL the legal advice the DWP has received in this connection outweighs non-disclosure on the basis of legal professional privilege (under s. 42 FoI Act) i.e:-

- large amount of money involved;

- large number of people affected;

- lack of transparency in the public authority's actions;

- misrepresentation of advice that was given;

- selective disclosure of only part of advice that was given.

(http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/...)

John Slater left an annotation ()

Hi Jim,

This one is already with the ICO but I have sent them a copy of this document. The DWP is engaging section 36 (LPP) but this document proves beyond doubt that the legal advice provided has been shared widely within the DWP, with Atos and now with us! This invalidates the exemption and I hope the ICO will insist that the full legal advice is released. I fully expect the advice to be legally correct and that the DWP has been true to form and ignored it!

J Newman left an annotation ()

John,
I’d like to know more about who has been deciding what on what basis so would like to pursue :

• Author, approved by and authorised by – job titles if not names.

• Why all names other than James Bolton have been redacted from the distribution list.

• It takes recording as a given – the only option is all or on request (2.2) – no hint of any other provisos – with the latter being made available IMMEDIATELY (2.12)

• Note no mention of a trial.

• Milestone plan and Achievement criteria – where are they?

• What clarification was requested (if any) by Atos (4.1)

• Is RFP33 the response to this requested in para 4.5 here? If it is, it does not contain all of the 8 bulleted requirements listed.

As we all know, FoI does not just cover published reports and the gaps in and around this must be recorded somewhere.

Happy to do this myself through a separate request if OK with you.

John Slater left an annotation ()

John,
I believe that this RFP is the precursor to the one that the DWP released on WDTK some time ago (RFP 33 Harrington Recording Pilot dated 29/03/2011 v1 Final).
I would assume that the milestone plan and achievement criteria are redacted in the RFP 33 document but it makes sense to confirm that.

I am very happy for you to pursue this through a separate FOI request. To be honest you would be doing me a favour (not feeling brilliant at the moment) and it would be good to get a fresh pair of eyes looking at it. I do have an ICO complaint on the go about the legal advice the DWP received in relation to recording WCA.

Given the age of the data I think the DWP willstruggle to justify FOIA exemptions.
Regards
John

J Newman left an annotation ()

Thanks John.

I still think is important to expose spurious and dishonest claims for what they are.

John Slater left an annotation ()

I couldn't agree more! If I won a lot of money on the lottery I would very happily pay for a barrister to make the DWP life hell by challenging the decisions it takes and conditions it imposes (I can dream!!)

Jim Otram left an annotation ()

JS. Sincere best wishes for a return to strength which will to enable you to keep questioning, and I hope more.

It is needed.

I can't link it, because it is behind the B & W site's pay wall, but they have been good enough to broadcast the last response you extracted here, in their 'benefits news' section, and that reaches a pretty wide readership.

A C Smithson left an annotation ()

Mr Slater, I hope you are feeling much better now. Thanks for persevering with these requests.

That RFP 27...interesting stuff in there. So the DWP chose to ignore legal advice and misrepresent the position on audio-recordings while allowing Atos to employ questionable tactics in order to avoid recording assessments. Nice.

The DWP and Atos keep claiming that the assessment is a functional assessment yet that RFP refers to it as a medical assessment. They can't seem to make up their minds. For how long do they plan to continue with this farce?

John Slater left an annotation ()

Jim,

I subscribe to B&W (worth every penny!) the news item is shown below:

WP disclosure re: recording
Yesterday, the DWP disclosed that it has been sitting on legal advice, for over two years, to the effect that its WCA '​recording rules'​ were illegal

"​…​Legal advice has been obtained to confirm that recording of assessments for claimants must be allowed without unreasonable obstructions. The majority of the claimants who request that their medical assessment is recorded, do not have the financial means the provide the specified recording equipment​."​

- from a DWP\Atos memo of Sept\Oct 2010 revealed in a Fredom of Information Act response to John Slater, on 7 December:

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

The document can be downloaded from this link
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08 Dec 2012 - News - by Jim Otram

Lets hope it causes the DWP a lot of trouble!

J Newman left an annotation ()

This has just appeared on the Atos website.

http://blog.atoshealthcare.com/2012/12/t...

Nothing new here and for obvious reasons misses out as much relevant information as it includes, but Atos does (rightly) place DWP in the frame for the current situation.

I have yet to leave a comment on any Atos blog that their moderator has seen fit to retain.

Jim Otram left an annotation ()

JN. Many thanks for the 'heads up', all the same. Now passed on to co-conspirators at CAG, and I would drop B&W a post right away, but their site is down until tomorrow. I expect they will apply some withering commentary as soon as they can, in any event.

It is staggering that any organisation should have the brass neck to promulgate distorted information in this fashion. Elementary consideration of the purported 'stats' in Atos' own report (para.3.1, in particular) reveals that their article is seriously misleading.

For any 'passers-by', see: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wca-recording...

I don't think it is a co-incidence that DWATO should decide to try 'spin' at the end of a week that has seen the response JS extracted here about the illegality of obstructing recording reach many sites on the net – and still going!

J Newman left an annotation ()

It was the last political regime that "legitimised" spin which has become the sourge of the 21st century. A good case for an 11th commandment - Thou shalt not spin.

DWP DWP Medical Services Correspondence, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Slater

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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