Universal Credit Deductions Data

Caroline Selman made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I am writing to request the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the FOIA”):

1. The Equality Impact Assessment on Universal Credit (UC) Third Party Deductions that was conducted in September 2020 and is referred to at paragraph 48 of the judgment in R (Blundel & Ors) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2021] EWHC 608 (Admin)

2. Any other Equality Impact Assessments that have been carried out in relation to DWP’s policy on or approach to UC deductions.

3. The latest version of the Repayment Negotiation Framework referred to at paragraph 5.71 of DWP’s Overpayment Recovery Guide.

In addition, we would be grateful if you could provide the following data in relation to UC claims for each Financial Year 2016/17 to 2021/22 year to date, broken down by Debt Type and, if available, Claimant Characteristic:

4. The number (actual figure, not rounded to the nearest 10) and value of debts loaded onto Debt Manager by Debt Type that relate to a UC claim;
5. The number and value of debts loaded onto Debt Manager by Debt Type recovered by way of a deduction from UC;
6. The number and proportion of UC claims with a deduction applied, that have a rate of deduction of 25% of the UC Standard Allowance;
7. The number (actual figure, not rounded to the nearest 10) and proportion of debts recovered by way of deduction from UC, which have been the subject of a request for:
a. A reduction in rate of repayment
b. Suspension of repayment
c. Waiver of the repayment,
8. For each of 7 a) to c), the number and proportion where the request were successful.

By Debt Type we mean broken down by:

1. Advance Payment
2. Other Government Debt:
a. UC Overpayment (fraud)
b. UC Overpayment (Official error):
c. UC Overpayment (Claimant error)
d. Tax Credits
e. Hardship payments
f. Other
3. Third party deduction.

By Claimant Characteristic we mean broken down by:

1. Ethnicity
2. Age
3. Gender
4. Disability status
5. Lone parent status
6. UC Claimants in receipt of DLA, PIP or the LCW element of UC

If it is not possible to provide the information requested due to the cost of compliance limit identified in s.12 FOIA, please answer the questions in numerical order until the cost limit is reached.

We look forward to receiving the requested information within 20 working days as provided for by the FOIA.

Yours faithfully,

Caroline Selman

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J Roberts left an annotation ()

DWP Central FOI Team,

1 Attachment

Dear Caroline Selman,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 2nd
February.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Thank you for your response to our request of 2 February 2022 (Ref: FOI2022/08333). I am writing to amend our request in line with the suggestions set out at page 2 of your response.

Please could you therefore provide the following information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the FOIA”):

1. The Equality Impact Assessment on Universal Credit (UC) Third Party Deductions that was conducted in September 2020 and is referred to at paragraph 48 of the judgment in R (Blundel & Ors) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2021] EWHC 608 (Admin)

2. Any other Equality Impact Assessments that have been carried out in relation to DWP’s policy on or approach to UC deductions.

3. The latest version of the Repayment Negotiation Framework referred to at paragraph 5.71 of DWP’s Overpayment Recovery Guide.

In addition, we would be grateful if you could provide the following data in relation to UC claims for each Financial Year 2018/19 to 2021/22 year to date, broken down by Debt Type and, where available, Family Type:

4. The number and value of debts loaded onto Debt Manager by Debt Type that relate to a UC claim;

5. The number and value of debts loaded onto Debt Manager by Debt Type recovered by way of a deduction from UC;

6. The number and proportion of UC claims with a deduction applied, that have a rate of deduction of 25% of the UC Standard Allowance.

7. The number and proportion of debts recovered by way of deduction from UC, which have been the subject of a request for:
a. A reduction in rate of repayment
b. Suspension of repayment
c. Waiver of the repayment,
And for each of those, the number and proportion where the request was successful.

In relation to Question 4, please can these be provided as the actual figure, not rounded to the nearest 10.

By Debt Type we mean broken down by:

1. Advance Payment
2. Other Government Debt:
a. UC Overpayment (fraud)
b. UC Overpayment (Official error):
c. UC Overpayment (Claimant error)
d. Tax Credits
e. Hardship payments
f. Other
3. Third party deduction.

In your response of 11 February 2022 you stated that DWP holds the information falling within the description specified in our original request. You also stated that the information is “contained across multiple systems, some of which is stored as free text that would require identifying, checking and extracting relevant information from individual records across a number of years.”

I would be grateful if you could clarify whether this means that DWP does hold information on each of the Claimant Characteristics set out in our original request of 2 February 2021 (ethnicity, age, gender, disability status, lone parent status and whether the claimant is in receipt of DLA, PIP or the LCW element of UC) but that this is held across multiple systems including in free text form.

Yours faithfully,

Caroline Selman

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I am writing further to my Freedom of Information Act request of 15 February 2022 entitled Universal Credit Deductions Data.

By law, you should normally have responded promptly and by no later than 15 March 2022.

I would be grateful if you could provide a response to this request as soon as possible.

If you require any further information or would like to clarify any of the questions raised, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours faithfully,

Caroline Selman

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

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP FOI mailbox.
 
If your email is a valid Freedom of Information request, as per Section 8
of the FOI Act 2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working
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the response may be treated as Spam or Junk mail.  
 
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gov.uk here - [2]http://www.gov.uk/dwp
 
 

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

4 Attachments

Dear Caroline Selman,

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

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

J Roberts left an annotation ()

This request refers to third party deductions.

The Guardian (23/9/22):

'A disabled former police officer has won a legal challenge against the Department for Work and Pensions over its policy of allowing utility companies to automatically deduct hundreds of pounds a year from individuals’ benefits without their consent.'

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022...

Timson v SSWP and Severn Trent Water PLC [2022] EWHC 2392 (Admin)

187. As I have said, it is clear from the structure of the legislation that Parliament envisaged that there will be cases in which it is not in the interests of the claimant to be subjected to a TPD, even if there is no doubt that a debt has been accrued. The 1987 Regulations do not specify what those circumstances might be. I can think of three types of case...

292. For the reasons given above, the claim for judicial review succeeds on one aspect only. This is that the Defendant’s written guidance to decision-makers in relation to TPDs is unlawful because, by implication and omission, it has the effect that, read as a whole, the guidance presents a misleading picture of the true legal position to decision-makers, in that it does not make clear that claimants should be offered the opportunity to make representations and/or provide relevant information to the decision-maker before the TPD decision is taken. The claims in relation to the ECHR are dismissed.

https://caselaw.nationalarchives.gov.uk/...

TPD = Third Party Deduction

J Roberts left an annotation ()

Some people might be interested in this:

UIN 88916

Guy Opperman answered this parliamentary question from Chris Stephens on 22/11/22:

'To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many benefit claims were subject to sanctions in the last three months for which data is available by constituency; and how much was the (a) total and (b) average sum of benefit income lost by claimants due to sanctions in each constituency.'

https://questions-statements.parliament....

Total reduction of households' UC award due to a sanction (June 22)

For example:

Birmingham Ladywood - £205,000
Tottenham - £170,000
Leeds Central - £165,000
Brent Central - £151,000
Slough - £147,000
Peterborough - £139,000
Walsall South - £124,000

'Figures obtained by Chris Stephens from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) show that a total of £2.3 million was clawed back from claimants in Scotland in August this year - an average of £250 per household sanctioned.'

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/polit...