Success of those found "fit for work"

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Statistics published by DWP suggest that 57% of new ESA claimants and 37% of those migrated from IB have been found "fit for work". These figures have been much publicized by messrs Grayling and Co as evidence justifying the work capability assessment programme.

Can you supply me with up-to-date figures of how many (as a percentage and actual numerical figure) of the 37% and 57% found "fit for work" are actually now working i.e. in proper sustainable remunerative employment.

In answer to previous responses to FoI requests (e.g. Daily Mirror asking how many people found "fit for work" had died) DWP have stated that they do not hold records of people who have "left benefits". I can understand that this may cause problems answering my request so to preempt this problem if you do not have figures of how many are working can you instead provide figures of how many have NOT "left benefits" and quote what percentage are on what benefits e.g. how many found "fit for work" are still claiming JSA - this should include those who are part of a joint claim.

I am hoping that the answers to my questions will give a clearer picture on the "success" of the WCA system. I would suggest that finding someone "fit for work" by an arbitary and frequently changed yard stick is not the same thing as getting people back into gainful employment.

Yours faithfully,

Paul Malpas

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...

show quoted sections

References

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

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

Our Ref: VTR3238

Dear Mr Malpas,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Request of 21 August 2012. You
asked:

Statistics published by DWP suggest that 57% of new ESA claimants and 37%
of those migrated from IB have been found "fit for work". These figures
have been much publicized by messrs Grayling and Co as evidence justifying
the work capability assessment programme.
    
Can you supply me with up-to-date figures of how many (as a percentage and
actual numerical figure) of the 37% and 57% found "fit for work" are
actually now working i.e. in proper sustainable remunerative employment.
    
In answer to previous responses to FoI requests (e.g. Daily Mirror asking
how many people found "fit for work" had died) DWP have stated that they
do not hold records of people who have "left benefits". I can understand
that this may cause problems answering my request so to preempt this
problem if you do not have figures of how many are working can you instead
provide figures of how many have NOT "left benefits" and quote what
percentage are on what benefits e.g. how many found "fit for work" are
still claiming JSA - this should include those who are part of a joint
claim.
    
I am hoping that the answers to my questions will give a clearer picture
on the "success" of the WCA system. I would suggest that finding someone
"fit for work" by an arbitary and frequently changed yard stick is not the
same thing as getting people back into gainful employment.

It is difficult to determine from administrative data why applicants close
their claims or their subsequent destinations.  Claimants leaving
Employment and Support Allowance are not required to inform the Department
of their destinations and hence the information that is collected on
destinations, or reasons for leaving, is incomplete and not robust enough
for publication.

However, the Department has conducted various research projects to
understand the experiences of claimants to ESA. 

DWP research report 791: Destinations of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income
Support and Employment and Support Allowance Leavers 2011.

Earlier in the year, the Department published research on a sample of ESA
customers, which included questions on the current status of those who had
closed their claim. The report can be found here:
[1]http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rpor...

Section 4 shows that of all ESA leavers in the survey, 37 per cent said
they had moved into work. Individuals were roughly equally likely to end
their claim for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) to set up a claim
for another out of work benefit (41 per cent).

Among those who entered paid work, roughly equal proportions worked
full-time for an employer, part-time for an employer or started a period
of self-employment. Most who started work for an employer did so on a
permanent or open-ended contract.

The remaining individuals in the ESA leavers cohort (22 per cent) had
neither entered paid work nor set up a new claim for an out-of-work
benefit.

DWP research report 745: Employment and Support Allowance: Findings from a
follow-up survey with customers

In 2011 the Department published research on ESA customers who made a
claim for ESA between April and June 2009. This report presents the
findings of a follow-up telephone survey with claimants who took part in
an earlier baseline face-to-face survey. Please see section 4 on
destinations of those leaving ESA. The report can be found at the
following link:
[2]http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rpor...

People who reported that they had left ESA (whether because they were
found fit for work (FFW), or their claim was closed by Jobcentre Plus, or
withdrawn before a decision on it was made) were asked what they had done
immediately after their claim ended (see section 4.1). As they are
concerned with immediate post-claim destinations, these data are also not
necessarily consistent with the destinations reported at the time of the
follow-up survey, which could have been over a year after their ESA claim
ended.

Among those who were found fit for work 76 per cent had either claimed
another income replacement benefit (48 per cent) or returned to work (28
per cent); the remaining 25 per cent gave a different response. These
‘other’ responses were fragmented and included retirement, being sick or
unemployed without receiving benefit, and relying on savings or a
partner’s income, or moving into education; many said simply that they did
not know.

See section 4.4 for activities of ESA leavers at the time of the follow-up
survey. It provides details at both waves of the survey to capture shifts
over time. Information is reported separately for the FFW group and the
claim closed or withdrawn groups. It is important to note that this data
refers to a single point in time, i.e. the date of the follow-up survey,
regardless of the point at which their claim ended. Claims could have
ended at any time after the group sampled for the survey made their
initial claim, which was sometime in April–June 2009. This means that, for
instance, those found FFW could have a claim which ended anywhere up to 15
months previously.

The follow-up survey asked those found FFW, or whose claim was closed by
Jobcentre Plus, or withdrawn before a decision on it was made, what they
were doing at the time of the survey.

At the baseline survey, around 14 per cent of those found FFW were in
work, around quarter (26 per cent) were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance
(JSA); four per cent were claiming other income replacement benefits; and
55 per cent were neither in work nor claiming an income replacement
benefit.

By Wave 2 of the survey, a greater number (29 per cent) of the FFW group
were in work. As before, a significant proportion continued to claim JSA
(22 per cent), and much smaller numbers (six per cent) were receiving
other income replacement benefits while 43 per cent were neither working,
nor claiming an out-of-work benefit. The numbers who have received JSA at
some point are likely to be much higher than this, as there may be a delay
in claiming after being found FFW, and many JSA claims are also known to
be of short duration.

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

show quoted sections

Paul Malpas left an annotation ()

Reading through the response it is not quite what I was looking for - the statistics quoted Mr Grayling were very straight forward and to the point bu the response here seems a bit "round the houses" although it does contain a fair amount of information.
I find the percentage figures of those found FFW and not claiming bens and not working rather worrying - what are these people living on? - or are they simply on JSA but the claim not processed at the time of the data collection (a suggestion in the text of the response - which also seems to indicate considerable delays in JSA claim processing).

A C Smithson left an annotation ()

Paul

Many of those found fit for work by the WCA won't be eligible for JSA because they really are not well enough to work, a fact that is supported by the high level of success at appeal.

Claimants in this category often do not appeal because they can't face the stress of the appeals process. They rely on help from family, friends and charitable organisations. Some borrow money from doorstep lenders, putting them into dangerous debt. That's why I asked about any financial support available to these claimants (http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/cl...) and I am waiting for a response. The DWP doesn't seem to be interested in this group of claimants and that's understandable - they wouldn't want to do anything that would expose the inadequacies of the WCA.