Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In its response dated 25 April 2017 (FOI ref: FoI 5067, ICO reference – FS50637830) the Department referred to 3 activity streams in respect of the management of the Universal Credit programme (“UC”):
• Governance and Project Management
• Transformation and Planning
• UC Product Development

RFI1 - Please confirm if these constitute all of the activity streams for UC? If there are more than these 3 activity streams please disclose what they are called and their scope?

RFI2 – Who sits on the UC Programme Board and how frequently does it meet?

In my RFI of 10 April 2017 I asked:
“RFI3 - What deliverables (I assume documents or some sort) are provided to the UCP
Programme Board to allow them to review progress at the programme level and give direction/guidance to the team? (Please note I want to know what the deliverables are not their contents). “

The Department responded:
“The response to RF1 above gives details about how the Universal Credit programme reviews progress. The Board also checks progress by review of specific tasks and actions. Status is assessed by balancing the development of building digital features, the readiness of operations and the latest data, underpinned by scrutiny of the Programme from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. The Programme Board also evaluates the critical activity in the next 6 months and the relative priorities of these activities.

All of this is reinforced by the business case process, overseen by the Treasury, which sets the parameters for the Programme in terms of inputs, outputs and the outcomes sought for the reform.

In addition, the Programme Board provides second line assurance to the Senior Responsible Owner, who is accountable for the delivery of the Programme to Parliament under responsibilities outlined in paragraph 5.6 of the Ministerial Code. The Programme Board draws on a number of sources in order to discharge these second line assurance functions. “

As there is no mention of what deliverables (i.e. documents) are provided to the UC Programme Board, the requested information was not supplied. It isn’t credible that the members of the UC Programme Board would have to individually source the information from the “number of sources” referenced above. The relevant information would normally be provided to members of the board for each meeting. This would usually take the form of a “pack” of some kind, either in paper form or electronically. In addition to the “pack” it is not unusual for presentations to be made to a programme board by members of the programme team.

RFI3 – Please disclose the “pack of information” provided to the UC programme board members for the 3 most recent UC programme board meetings. If available also include any presentations made to the board or documents handed to the board “on the day”.

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

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Please see the attached reply to your Freedom of Information request.

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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Please see the attached reply to your Freedom of Information request
 
Yours sincerely
 
DWP Strategy Freedom of Information Team

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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 'Universal Credit Programme Board Meetings - Information Packs.'.

Thank you for your response of 14 September 2017. The Department is perfectly aware of the Commissioner’s guidance that she believes a final response to any request for information should be made within 40 working days. The Commissioner has criticised the Department for abusing section 10 (3) in order to delay providing its final response and will no doubt do so again.

My own experience suggests that the Department will continue to cite section 10(3) repeatedly unless the Commissioner steps in. Therefore I feel I have no option but to ask to Commissioner to instruct the Department to issue its final response so that she can commence her investigation.

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

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

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John Slater left an annotation ()

DWP misusing S.10(3) yet again to delay having to provide its final response. This delays a complaint to the ICO that would allow an investigation into engagement of S.36 and the issue of a decision notice. Complaint has been issued to the ICO about the DWP use of S.10(3).

DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

Thank you for your Freedom of Information review request.

Please note that it is our internal target to answer reviews within 20 working days unless I need to come back to you to clarify your request, or the balance of the public interest test needs to be considered which we will keep you informed about.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

DWP Strategy FoI Team

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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. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

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.org.uk/Global/contact_us or telephone 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745

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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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Please see the attached reply to your Internal Review request
 
Yours sincerely
 
DWP Strategy Freedom of Information Team

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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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Please see the attached reply to your Freedom of Information request
 
Yours sincerely
 
DWP Strategy Freedom of Information Team

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John Slater left an annotation ()

A second complaint sent to the Commissioner today as the DWP has citied section 10(3) FOIA for a 3rd time to avoid having to provide its final response. This is a delaying tactic used by the DWP previously on requests for information it doesn't want to comply with.

Hopefully the Commissioner might actually do something this time.

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 'Universal Credit Programme Board Meetings - Information Packs.'.

These are outrageous delaying tactics being used by the Department and not for the first time. The Department has been criticised by the Information Commissioner for doing this before and she made it clear that apart from exceptional circumstances a final response should be made within 40 working days from the original request for information, including carrying out the public interest test.

Therefore, the Department should explain exactly what exceptional circumstances mean that a final response has not been provided within 40 working days? Is it because a Minister hasn't provided a reasonable opinion? Perhaps the Department is simply abusing section 10(3) to delay the process? To quote the Commissioner in FS5064028s:
"The Commissioner considers that any extension beyond 40 working days should be exceptional and
requires the public authority to fully justify the time taken."

The Department's behaviour will form part of my complaint to the Commissioner . Assuming the case ends up before a Tribunal I will ensure that it is raised there as the Department is clearly in breach of 17(3) FOIA.

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

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

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

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Should you have any further queries in connection with this request do
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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

Thank you for your Freedom of Information review request.

Please note that it is our internal target to answer reviews within 20 working days unless I need to come back to you to clarify your request, or the balance of the public interest test needs to be considered which we will keep you informed about.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

DWP Strategy FoI Team

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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. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

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.org.uk/Global/contact_us or telephone 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745

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Dear DWP Strategy Freedom of Information,

Further to my IRR of 12 October 2017 I understand that the Information Commissioner has written to the Department on 18 October 2017 giving it 10 working days to provide its final response. I assume that the Department will comply.

Given the Department’s delaying tactics please take my IRR of 12 October 2017 to include its claims that Section 36 (2) (b) and (c) FOIA are engaged. This means that the Department’s response to my IRR of 12 October will exhaust the internal review procedure and allow the matter to be dealt with by the Commissioner.

Yours sincerely,

John Slater

John Slater left an annotation ()

On 18 October 2017 the Information Commissioner wrote to the DWP giving it 10 working days to provide its response. Sadly the Department has ignored such letters in previous requests for information.

J Newman left an annotation ()

What's that old saying about having nothing to fear if there is nothing to hide?

John Slater left an annotation ()

The DWP has now failed to comply with the Commissioner's instruction to provide a response within 10 working days. I have contacted the Commissioner and asked her to take further action.

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 'Universal Credit Programme Board Meetings - Information Packs.'.

The Commissioner has issued a decision notice FS50700939 in respect of the Departments abject failure to comply with the FOIA. It states:

“The Commissioner's decision is that DWP has breached section 10(1) of the FOIA as it has failed to give a substantive response to the request within the reasonable timeframe specified by section 10(3).

The Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation. DWP must issue a substantive response to the request in accordance with its obligations under the FOIA.

The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court.”

Hopefully the Department's contempt for the Law will now cease.

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

Yours faithfully,

John Slater

John Slater left an annotation ()

The ICO has now issued a decision notice, ref FS50700939, that states:

“The Commissioner's decision is that DWP has breached section 10(1) of the FOIA as it has failed to give a substantive response to the request within the reasonable timeframe specified by section 10(3).

The Commissioner requires the public authority to take the following steps to ensure compliance with the legislation. DWP must issue a substantive response to the request in accordance with its obligations under the FOIA.

The public authority must take these steps within 35 calendar days of the date of this decision notice. Failure to comply may result in the Commissioner making written certification of this fact to the High Court pursuant to section 54 of the Act and may be dealt with as a contempt of court.”

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 Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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Please see the attached reply to your Freedom of Information request 3044
 
Yours sincerely
 
DWP Strategy Freedom of Information Team

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John Slater left an annotation ()

Information Commissioner has finally issued her decision notice:
- Reliance on S.43 & S.35 has been refused.
- Reliance on S.31 has been allowed

People looking at the correspondence here will be confused at DWP claimed S.36. When it unilaterally published some information on the Parliamentary Library is changed its mind & cited S.35 & S.43.

When the ICO got involved the DWP then changed its mind a second time and added S.31 to S.35 & S.43. This is the same Department that expects us to believe it is running Universal Credit well & yet it keeps changing its mind about a simple FOIA request. I despair.

I 'm happy with the ICO decision as I thin it is fair. I will now contact the DWP to ask it to disclose the info it relied on S.35 & S.43 to withhold.

Dear DWP Strategy Freedom of Information,

The Information Commissioner's decision notice (FS50723285) dated 25 March 2019 states that the information withheld by the Department while relying on S.35 and S.43 must be now be disclosed.

I would be grateful if the Department release the relevant information at its earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

John Slater

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