The audio-recording by claimants of DLA\PIP assessments

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

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The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

The audio-recording by claimants of DLA\PIP assessments

On the 19th December 2012 the DWP made a statement (via the Atos website) concerning the audio-recording of disability assessments.
http://blog.atoshealthcare.com/2012/12/r...

"…a customer may use their own recording equipment, providing it meets the required standards…"

Specifically as regards assessments for DLA\PIP, and under CURRENTLY RECORDED arrangements:-

Q1. Please specify exactly and in full what those 'required standards' for a claimant's recording equipment are.

Q2. In the unlikely event that a claimant can afford equipment matching such specifications, please state exactly and in full what further obstructions a claimant must overcome in order to audio-record his or her DLA\PIP assessment. Or can he or she just turn up on the appointment day with equipment that meets the purported 'standards' ?

Yours faithfully,

Rick Sykes

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

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DWP LS FOI, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sykes

Please find attached FOI response to your recent request.

Regards,

Central FOI Team

<<Reply Sykes R FOI 5138.pdf>>

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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 'The audio-recording by claimants of DLA\PIP assessments'.

Your evasion is blatant, obstructive and irrelevant.

1. As regards DLA, the questions remain: as at 24 12 12. i.e:-

Q1. "Please specify EXACTLY AND IN FULL what those 'required standards' for a claimant's recording equipment are".

Q2. "In the unlikely event that a claimant can afford equipment matching such specifications, please state exactly and in full what further obstructions a claimant must overcome in order to audio-record his or her DLA [ ] assessment. Or can he or she just turn up on the appointment day with equipment that meets the purported 'standards?"

2. As regards, PIP you have attempted to evade my question as regards the CURRENTLY RECORDED (i.e as at 24 012 12) 'required standards' for equipment used for AUDIO-recording of PIP assessments BY CLAIMANTs by stating that the PIP process doesn't start until April. But the questions remain: as at 24 12 12. i.e:-

Q1. "Please specify EXACTLY IN FULL what those 'required standards' for a claimant's recording equipment are". If you had no CURRENTLY RECORDED 'required standards' for recording equipment to be used BY CLAIMANTS in the imminent PIP process as at that date, you should have said so. You didn't

Q2. "In the unlikely event that a claimant can afford equipment matching such specifications, please state exactly and in full what further obstructions a claimant must overcome in order to audio-record his or her [ ] PIP assessment. Or can he or she just turn up on the appointment day with equipment that meets the purported 'standards?" Again, if you had no CURRENTLY RECORDED arrangements as regards 'further obstructions' for recording by claimants in the imminent process, you should have said so. You didn't.

The DWP is floundering under the ICO's monitoring of the department's ongoing and grave breach of statute. Producing responses which obstructively and contemptibly don't answer the questions you have been quite properly asked will not help you.

Your response today will in any event be added to the illustrations of 'lack of transparency'' I will draw to the ICO's attention in connection with my outstanding request for the production of the full legal advice the DWP has received confirming its illegality in obstructing the recording of sickness\disability assessments.

Delay and further childish evasion in dealing with this IR, will just make your position worse.

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

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. 

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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 LS FOI, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Dear Rick Sykes

Please find attached FOI Internal Review response to your recent request .

<<FOI 47 IR 29-01-2013.pdf>>

Regards

Central FOI Team

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John Slater left an annotation ()

Sadly the DWP is acting unlawfully yet again. As the obstructions to prevent claimants from recording their own WCA are simply DWP policy and have no statutory backing the policy must be published in full and the DWP must be able to show that it is following it. You may wish to ask the DWP to provide its full published policy regarding recoding (by the DWP and by claimants) and remind them that Lumba v. Secretary of State for the Home Department (2011) UKSC 12 means that they are acting unlawfully if they are unable to do so.

You may be interested to know that the DWP can’t make its mind up regarding the so-called audio consent form (which I believe is also unlawful). I have one FOIA response that states the form is intended to create a legally binding agreement (this is different to a contract) and one that states that there is no intention to create a legally binding agreement or contract.

Rick Sykes left an annotation ()

JS. I am glad to see that Gerald Jones here asked the dead on 'have you a policy' question you suggest on 30 01 13. One to follow.

It is extraordinary that, with the commencement of PIP assessments only weeks away, the DWP should say that it still didn't know what its policy was at the date of this request. But then again...

Still, that link to the new PIP rules is revealing, and appears to be set to cause the most almighty head-on conflict starting next April. If, as the rules revealed state, there is to be no HCP-provided recording of PIP assessments, then the permitted specification for (overt') 'personal equipment' becomes even more crucial. And on that, the DWP is in a disgraceful, duplicitous and illegal muddle already.

I don't know which is worse: the bogus and ignorant political masters of the DWP, or the likes of Weeny-1-Wobert Devereux ('permanent secretary'), its oleaginous and repellant civil servants.

Jane Cleverly left an annotation ()

The DWP & ATOS policy on no recording and ATOS policy of no advocate allowed without permission is unlawful and amounts to a number of criminal offences inc: Section 1 (1A) Harassment, Conspiracy to Commit Harassment and anyone involved is an accessory and abettor, this would include the DWP Minister and the ATOS MD.

This would also include the requirement to provide a copy of what is private and copyright material.

No one can be required to cooperate with any process that involves a policy that breaches criminal law.

In addition the acts would also amount to harm and can give rise to claims for damages in Tort.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997
Section 1(1A) was inserted by section 125(2)(a) of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. It prohibits a person from pursuing a course of conduct “which involves harassment of two or more persons” with the intention of persuading any person (not necessarily one of the persons harassed) to do or refrain from doing something they are lawfully entitled to do or not do.