Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I am writing to submit a Freedom of Information (FOI) request under the UK Freedom of Information Act 2000, seeking documents detailing internal discussions, policies, and guidelines related to safeguarding disabled claimants and ensuring accountability for potential harm caused by policies.

Specifically, I request access to the following information that was applicable for the period of January 1, 2017, to August 19, 2023:

1 Copies of policies, guidelines, or protocols that outline the measures and procedures in place to ensure the safety and well-being of disabled claimants who interact with government agencies or benefit programs.

2 Correspondence or documentation that discusses how the department monitors and addresses potential harm caused by policies, especially as it pertains to disabled individuals.

If providing all of the requested information in its entirety presents challenges due to cost or other considerations, I am willing to accept summaries, key excerpts, or relevant portions that provide insights into the internal discussions and policies on safeguarding and accountability.

I kindly request that the provided information be in electronic format, for ease of access and efficient communication.

I understand that certain information might be subject to exemptions or limitations under the UK Freedom of Information Act. If any such exemptions apply to the requested information, I kindly request a clear explanation along with references to the specific sections of the Act that pertain to the withheld information.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. I appreciate your efforts in facilitating access to relevant documents that shed light on the department's approach to safeguarding disabled claimants and ensuring accountability for potential harm.

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and corruption

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

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

3 Attachments

Dear Amanda Hart,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 19th
August.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Thank you for your response dated 15th September 2023, reference FOI2023/64052, which was submitted on 19th August 2023. We accept that you wish to engage Section 12 and deem that our request falls outside the cost limit.

Therefore, I am writing to submit a revised FoI request, with the aim of narrowing the scope of my original request to ensure it falls within the cost limit specified in the Act. Hopefully, this version will be more manageable:

Specifically, I request access to the following information that was applicable in the period of August 2023:

1. Copies of summaries or up to the first 10 matching elements of policies, guidelines, or protocols that outline the measures and procedures in place to ensure the safety and well-being of disabled claimants who interact with government agencies or benefit programs.

2. Summaries or up to the first 10 matching elements of correspondence or documentation that discuss how the department monitors and addresses potential harm caused by policies, especially as it pertains to disabled individuals.

I understand that providing extensive details may still be challenging within the cost limit, so I hope this revised request will facilitate a more manageable response.

If you believe that providing summaries or the first 10 matching elements applicable in August 2023 is still too costly, please let me know, and I will attempt to further refine the request to align with the cost limit.

I kindly request that the provided information be in electronic format, for ease of access and efficient communication.

If any information within this revised request is subject to exemptions or limitations under the UK Freedom of Information Act, please provide a clear explanation along with references to the specific sections of the Act that pertain to the withheld information.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I appreciate your efforts in facilitating access to relevant documents that shed light on the department's approach to safeguarding disabled claimants.

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

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

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
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Timescales for responding
 
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Amanda Hart left an annotation ()

Internal review if no valid response by 15th October 2023

freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

18 Attachments

Dear Amanda Hart,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 15th
September.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

We deeply appreciate your response dated 12th October 2023 ref FOI2023 71247. With regard to our point number 2 where you asked us to clarify the information being requested we are happy to provide details of our clarified point below:

I request access to the following information that was applicable for the period of January 1, 2017, to the most recent:

Please kindly provide summaries or up to the first 10 matching elements of correspondence or documentation that discuss how the department monitors and addresses potential harm caused by policies in relation to claimants of benefits and services, including those who are vulnerable or disabled.

I understand that you have already provided information on policies, guidelines, or protocols in point 1 of my previous FOI request. Therefore, you do not need to duplicate that information in response to this request. This part of the request is about the 'monitoring' and addressing of potential harm caused by policies.

I look forward to receiving the requested information within the statutory time frame of 20 working days. If, for any reason, you are unable to fulfill this request, please notify me promptly, providing a clear explanation.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Kind regards,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

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2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

1 Attachment

Dear Amanda Hart,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 14th
October.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Request for Internal Review - FOI2023/78698

To the designated authority responsible for Freedom of Information reviews at the Department for Work and Pensions,

I am writing to formally request an internal review of the Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) handling of my Freedom of Information (FOI) request titled 'Safety and accountability,' reference FOI2023/78698.

In the outset, I wish to express our appreciation for the information that has been provided thus far.

The rationale behind our request for an internal review arises from the following pertinent facts concerning your response to part 2 of my request, following your requests for clarification:

1. It is crucial to acknowledge that the request under consideration was initiated as a result of your second request for clarification.
2. Our revised request thoughtfully took into account the information that you chose to bundle in as a response to part 1. We explicitly asked you not to duplicate such information in response to part 2.
3. Our refined request unambiguously sought information concerning point 2 that had not been provided.
4. Given the contextual framework of our revised request, it was incumbent upon you to indicate whether you held any further information of relevance and subsequently either provide the requested information or establish a valid exemption for its non-disclosure.

In light of the above, we must respectfully disagree with your claim that our request seeks information that had already been provided.

Legal Reasons:
a. Section 14(2) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000, as cited in your response, is not germane to my request. The request made on 14 October 2023 was neither identical nor substantially similar to the previous requests—namely, FOI2023/68443, FOI2023/69072, and FOI2023/71247. I took great care to clarify the scope and nature of my request in response to your queries, ensuring its distinctiveness from prior requests.
b. If there were genuinely no relevant information held by the DWP in response to my request, you should have responded with "no information held" instead of invoking Section 14(2).

Non-Legal Reasons:
a. The handling of my request by the DWP has been inconsistent and does not align with the expected spirit of transparency and cooperation associated with FOI requests. Despite my proactive efforts to provide clarification and narrow the scope of my request, the DWP did not engage adequately with my clarified request, which raises legitimate concerns about the department's responsiveness to FOI requests.

Flaws and Inconsistencies:
a. The DWP's reliance on Section 14(2) without a thorough consideration of the distinctions between my clarified request and previous ones suggests a procedural flaw in the decision-making process.
b. The omission of any substantive response or engagement with the specific content of my request, as elucidated in my responses to your queries, indicates a concerning lack of thoroughness on the part of the DWP.

In addition to the legal and non-legal grounds detailed above, I posit that there exists a profound public interest in the release of the requested information. To underscore this point, I provide ten cogent public interest statements:

Public Interest Statements:

1. Transparency and Accountability: The divulgence of the requested information is paramount for fostering transparency and accountability within the DWP.

2. Safeguarding Vulnerable Claimants: The information sought is directly related to the oversight and mitigation of potential harm arising from policies, particularly concerning vulnerable and disabled claimants. This issue is of paramount public interest.

3. Policy Impact Assessment: Access to this information is instrumental in facilitating an impartial assessment of the impact of policies on claimants, thereby enabling the formulation of evidence-based policy enhancements.

4. Public Confidence: The release of the requested information has the potential to bolster public confidence in the DWP's commitment to the welfare of claimants.

5. Policy Evaluation: The information, if disclosed, can be invaluable in conducting independent evaluations of DWP policies to ascertain their alignment with intended objectives.

6. Preventing Harm: Comprehensive insight into the monitoring and remediation of potential harm is indispensable for preventing adverse outcomes for claimants.

7. Academic Research: Scholars and researchers can harness this information for rigorous studies and analyses, making significant contributions to knowledge and policy refinement.

8. Advocacy and Support: Advocacy groups and organizations can employ this information to champion the rights and well-being of disabled and vulnerable claimants.

9. Public Scrutiny: Accessible information on the impact of policies facilitates public scrutiny of governmental actions and decisions, thereby promoting transparency and accountability.

10. Legal and Ethical Considerations: The release of this information aligns seamlessly with legal and ethical obligations that mandate the protection of the rights and well-being of individuals.

It is my sincere hope that the DWP will undertake a meticulous reevaluation of its position and, in the larger context of promoting transparency and accountability, choose to provide the requested information. Nevertheless, it is imperative to convey that if a satisfactory response is not forthcoming, we will not hesitate to vigorously present a compelling case to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) for the release of the remaining pertinent information held in accordance with our request.

I anticipate a prompt response to this request for an internal review. Kindly acknowledge receipt of this request at your earliest convenience.

A comprehensive history of my FOI request and all associated correspondence is accessible online at the following address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Kind regards
Amanda Hart
Stop UK lies and Corruption.

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

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
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Timescales for responding
 
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If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Internal Review (IR) Requests
 
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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

1 Attachment

Dear Amanda Hart,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 1st
November.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Re: Review IR2023 83876
Thank you very much for your response which I largely agree with, but I have a query regarding your statement of the cost limit being exceeded.

I note you stated that the period of January 1, 2017, to the present was too wide and I'm grateful for that information.

I request that you confirm,however, that it was still too wide even though I specified the following after the date range: "Please kindly provide summaries or up to the first 10 matching elements of correspondence or documentation that discuss how the department monitors and addresses potential harm caused by policies in relation to claimants of benefits and services, including those who are vulnerable or disabled."

This is because although I did specify a wide date range I would have thought my request for summaries or up to the first 10 matching elements would have brought it within the cost limit. Please would you kindly confirm that even that was not enough to bring the request within the cost limit.

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

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

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
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related email then we may not be able to action it.
 
 
Timescales for responding
 
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If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
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You can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
We will respond to all valid FOI and IR requests within our statutory
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why. Please note that we are not able to process your FOI or IR request in
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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

1 Attachment

Dear Amanda Hart,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 30th
November.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Background:

Ref: FOI2023 71247. On 15th September 2023 in part 2 we requested "Summaries or up to the first 10 matching elements of correspondence or documentation that discuss how the department monitors and addresses potential harm caused by policies, especially as it pertains to disabled individuals". On 12th October 2023 you stated that clarification was needed and asked us to be more specific.

Ref: FOI2023 78698. On 14th October 2023 we submitted the request again but the date range of January 1, 2017, to the present was deemed too wide, which we accept.

We would therefore like to place this revised FoI request.

FoI request:

I request access to the following information that was applicable in the period of August 2023:
Summaries or up to the first 10 matching elements of correspondence or documentation that discuss how the department monitors and addresses potential harm caused by policies towards disabled claimants.

Public Interest Statements:

1. Transparency and Accountability: The divulgence of the requested information is paramount for fostering transparency and accountability within the DWP.

2. Safeguarding Vulnerable Claimants: The information sought is directly related to the oversight and mitigation of potential harm arising from policies, particularly concerning vulnerable and disabled claimants. This issue is of paramount public interest.

3. Policy Impact Assessment: Access to this information is instrumental in facilitating an impartial assessment of the impact of policies on claimants, thereby enabling the formulation of evidence-based policy enhancements.

4. Public Confidence: The release of the requested information has the potential to bolster public confidence in the DWP's commitment to the welfare of claimants.

5. Policy Evaluation: The information, if disclosed, can be invaluable in conducting independent evaluations of DWP policies to ascertain their alignment with intended objectives.

6. Preventing Harm: Comprehensive insight into the monitoring and remediation of potential harm is indispensable for preventing adverse outcomes for claimants.

7. Academic Research: Scholars and researchers can harness this information for rigorous studies and analyses, making significant contributions to knowledge and policy refinement.

8. Advocacy and Support: Advocacy groups and organizations can employ this information to champion the rights and well-being of disabled and vulnerable claimants.

9. Public Scrutiny: Accessible information on the impact of policies facilitates public scrutiny of governmental actions and decisions, thereby promoting transparency and accountability.

10. Legal and Ethical Considerations: The release of this information aligns seamlessly with legal and ethical obligations that mandate the protection of the rights and well-being of individuals.

If you believe that providing summaries or the first 10 matching elements applicable in August 2023 is still too costly, please let me know, and I will attempt to further refine the request to align with the cost limit.

I kindly request that the provided information be in electronic format, for ease of access and efficient communication.

If any information within this revised request is subject to exemptions or limitations under the UK Freedom of Information Act, please provide a clear explanation along with references to the specific sections of the Act that pertain to the withheld information.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I appreciate your efforts in facilitating access to relevant documents that shed light on the department's approach to safeguarding disabled claimants.

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

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

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
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Timescales for responding
 
Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
 
If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Internal Review (IR) Requests
 
You can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
We will respond to all valid FOI and IR requests within our statutory
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why. Please note that we are not able to process your FOI or IR request in
any shorter timescales that you may indicate.
 
 
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[email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk by your email account
provider.  
 
 
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Should you have any further queries in connection with your FOI or IR
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More information on the DWP can be accessed on gov.uk here –
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
 

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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

1 Attachment

Dear Amanda Hart,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 5th
December.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Thank you for your response dated 8th December 2023 ref FOI2023 93842.

FoI request:

I kindly request access to Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) procedures for monitoring and addressing potential harm caused by policies affecting disabled claimants (for any type of benefit they are already in receipt of) valid in August 2023.

Public Interest Statements:

1. Transparency and Accountability: The divulgence of the requested information is paramount for fostering transparency and accountability within the DWP.

2. Safeguarding Vulnerable Claimants: The information sought is directly related to the oversight and mitigation of potential harm arising from policies, particularly concerning vulnerable and disabled claimants. This issue is of paramount public interest.

3. Policy Impact Assessment: Access to this information is instrumental in facilitating an impartial assessment of the impact of policies on claimants, thereby enabling the formulation of evidence-based policy enhancements.

4. Public Confidence: The release of the requested information has the potential to bolster public confidence in the DWP's commitment to the welfare of claimants.

5. Policy Evaluation: The information, if disclosed, can be invaluable in conducting independent evaluations of DWP policies to ascertain their alignment with intended objectives.

6. Preventing Harm: Comprehensive insight into the monitoring and remediation of potential harm is indispensable for preventing adverse outcomes for claimants.

7. Academic Research: Scholars and researchers can harness this information for rigorous studies and analyses, making significant contributions to knowledge and policy refinement.

8. Advocacy and Support: Advocacy groups and organizations can employ this information to champion the rights and well-being of disabled and vulnerable claimants.

9. Public Scrutiny: Accessible information on the impact of policies facilitates public scrutiny of governmental actions and decisions, thereby promoting transparency and accountability.

10. Legal and Ethical Considerations: The release of this information aligns seamlessly with legal and ethical obligations that mandate the protection of the rights and well-being of individuals.

I kindly request that the provided information be in electronic format, for ease of access and efficient communication.

If any information within this revised request is subject to exemptions or limitations under the UK Freedom of Information Act, please provide a clear explanation along with references to the specific sections of the Act that pertain to the withheld information.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I appreciate your efforts in facilitating access to relevant documents that shed light on the department's approach to safeguarding disabled claimants.

Yours faithfully,

Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

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

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
processed accordingly.
 
Please note that this mailbox is for Freedom of Information (FOI) or
Internal Review (IR) requests only – If you have submitted a non FOI or IR
related email then we may not be able to action it.
 
 
Timescales for responding
 
Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
 
If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Internal Review (IR) Requests
 
You can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
We will respond to all valid FOI and IR requests within our statutory
timescales, if we are unable to do so then we will contact you to explain
why. Please note that we are not able to process your FOI or IR request in
any shorter timescales that you may indicate.
 
 
Receiving a response from us
 
Please note that email FOI and IR responses will be issued from
[email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk by your email account
provider.  
 
 
Further Information
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with your FOI or IR
request please contact us.
 
More information on the DWP can be accessed on gov.uk here –
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
 

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Amanda Hart left an annotation ()

I would reject the assertion that requesting summaries always constitutes "the creation of information". Similarly requesting x number of documents would not universally constitute "working up to the cost limit".

freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

1 Attachment

Dear Amanda Hart,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 8th
December.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I am contacting you to initiate an urgent internal review of the decision made on FOI2023/95225, dated 11 January 2024. This request concerns the application of Section 14(2) of the Freedom of Information Act.

Incorrect Application of Section 14(2): The use of Section 14(2) for my recent request is not appropriate. The request, focused on DWP's monitoring and addressing procedures for potential harm to disabled claimants as of August 2023, is clearly distinct from earlier inquiries. The previously provided documents did not cover this specific aspect.

Requirement for Detailed Evaluation: The decision lacks an in-depth analysis of the request's refined nature. Our efforts to align with your prior guidance necessitate that each request be independently evaluated. The prior information, while informative, does not address the monitoring and mitigation of policy-induced harm to disabled claimants, which is the essence of my current inquiry.

Public Interest and Transparency: The information sought is of paramount importance for public understanding, especially given the international focus on the UK's treatment of disabled individuals. Transparent disclosure is in line with the public interest and the foundational principles of the FOI Act.

Legal and Ethical Urgency: Addressing the welfare of disabled claimants is a critical legal and ethical concern. Granting access to this information is imperative for safeguarding their rights and well-being, signifying the DWP's dedication to ethical standards.

I request a thorough re-examination of the FOI2023/95225 decision, with due consideration of the unique characteristics and significant public interest of my latest request.

For a comprehensive history of my FOI requests and all related correspondence, please refer to: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and await your considered response.

Yours faithfully,
Amanda Hart
for Stop UK lies and Corruption.

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

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
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related email then we may not be able to action it.
 
 
Timescales for responding
 
Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
 
If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Internal Review (IR) Requests
 
You can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
We will respond to all valid FOI and IR requests within our statutory
timescales, if we are unable to do so then we will contact you to explain
why. Please note that we are not able to process your FOI or IR request in
any shorter timescales that you may indicate.
 
 
Receiving a response from us
 
Please note that email FOI and IR responses will be issued from
[email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk by your email account
provider.  
 
 
Further Information
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with your FOI or IR
request please contact us.
 
More information on the DWP can be accessed on gov.uk here –
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
 

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References

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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

Dear Amanda Hart,

Thank you for your Internal Review request which was received on 12th
January.

Unlike FOI requests, the timescale for dealing with an Internal Review is
not fixed in legislation. We must deal with Internal Review requests
within a reasonable timeframe and we always aim to do that within 20
working days.

However if we are not able to do so then we will write to the requester
outlining that we need more time. This is what we are doing today.

We are still considering this Internal Review and we are aiming to respond
to you no later than 8 March 2024.

Our approach to handling Internal Reviews is in line with the advice on
the ICO w ebsite - available here - [1]Request handling, Freedom of
Information - Frequently Asked Questions | ICO

Yours sincerely,

Central FOI Team
Department for Work and Pensions

References

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