Universal Credit timetable

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In November 2011 DWP released a timetable for the roll out of UC - the following was announced by the BBC
1 November 2011 Last updated at 12:34
Universal Credit timetable published

• From October 2013 to April 2014 about half a million new claimants will receive Universal Credit instead of Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
• At the same time, another half a million existing claimants and their families will be transferred to the new credit when their family circumstances change significantly, for instance if they get a job or have another child.

This would indicate that the plan as of Nov 2011 was to have approx 1 million (0.5m new claimants and 0.5million existing claimants) on UC by April 2014 (I've noted that recently IDS has said he doesn't want to be tied to this "false" date)

I have noted that the pilot scheme for UC is very specific - I beleive the criteria is as follows (if this is wrong please feel free to correct me):
Pathfinder criteria
In order to be accepted to claim Universal Credit instead of Jobseeker's Allowance you must:
• be single, with no partner living with you
• be aged between 18 and 60 years and six months
• be a British citizen who has lived in the country for the last two years and has not left for more than four continuous weeks
• not be already on income based JSA, income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Income Support, Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit, Working Tax Credit
• not be entitled to any of those benefits or to contributory JSA or contributory ESA or waiting for a claim or appeal to be decided for any of those benefits
• not be pregnant
• accept that you are fit for work
• not have had a claim for JSA which finished in the last two weeks
• not have had a claim for ESA which finished in the last two weeks unless it was decided that you were fit for work
• not be likely to earn more than £330 in the next month if you are aged 25 or over (£270 if under)
• not have savings of more than £6,000
• not be homeless within the meaning of section 175 of the Housing Act 1996
• not be in exempt accommodation
• not be an owner occupier or shared owner
• not be responsible for a child
• not be responsible for providing care to someone who needs it (unless this is for a part time job or volunteering activity)
• not be about to take up self-employment
• not be in education or training and must be unlikely to take up this in the next month
• not have a formal appointee
• have a national insurance number
• have a bank, building society or post office account.

The most recent timetable for UC that I can find is:

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/s...

April 2013 – start of Universal Credit pathfinder
Starting in April 2013, DWP, with our delivery partners in HMRC and local authorities, is introducing Universal Credit for claimants within certain areas of the north-west of England.
October 2013 – introduction of Universal Credit
We will introduce Universal Credit in a managed way, progressively rolling it out nationally from October 2013. The transition from the current system of benefits and tax credits to Universal Credit will be gradual and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

Given that the current pilot is so small and the claimant criteria so restricted I find it difficult to understand how the previously quoted timetable can be achieved.

My request:

1) Please supply information regarding "introduced in a managed way... .. from Oct 2013" i.e. please give information regarding geographical locations and dates for roll out, expected numbers monthly (for new and existing claimants) any details on restricted criteria (i.e. anything preventing someone who would be entitled to current benefits from being in the UC roll out) - I would imagine that if this roll out is starting in less than three months these plans must already be in place

2) Please supply any information held in regard to change of plans to only roll out to 6 JobCentres in Oct 2013 i.e. how many JobCentres were originally scheduled, who made the decision to reduce it to 6, what data was this decision based on e.g. data gleaned from existing Pathfinder? I'm assuming that 6 JobCentres was not the original plan due the government announcement in 2011 that.. “[from Oct 2013] all new claims for out-of-work support would be treated as claims to universal credit”.

3) Will the 6 JobCentres to be rolled out in October 2013 also have the same criteria for "vetting" suitable "easy" claimants or will the criteria be different (please state what the criteria is if this is the case) or will there be no criteria and all claimants will processed (which one would presume is the ultimate goal)

4) Is the DWP still officially referring to the Oct 2013 roll out as "National Roll Out"? - (I am aware that although there are only 6 JobCentres, they are quite well spaced - Hammersmith, Rugby, Inverness, Harrogate, Bath and Shotton)

5) Recently IDS made the following statement regarding UC:
“I'm determined to get this right and will not follow the old ways of governing - launching with a big bang and having to clear up the mess afterwards. I will bring in this radical reform safely, and I'm committed to doing it by 2017 and to budget."
Can you tell me what the "budget" is. If the Minister is sure it can be achieved "to budget" the budget must surely be known (please note there is no need for a complex breakdown - just a single figure rounded to the nearest £100,000).

6) In regard to the budget figure requested in (5) can you tell me how much has been spent to date (1st July 2013) - again if the Minister is sure about keeping to budget then surely regular checks on current and past expenditure must be known (or you wouldn't know how much you still had left)

Yours faithfully,

Paul Malpas

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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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DWP Central FoI Team
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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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DWP Central FoI 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 timetable'. Apologies for the delay in making this request - under the curcumstances if you wish to treat it as a new FoI request then please do so.

I wish to draw your attention to Q2 of my request and your response to it:

2) Please supply any information held in regard to change of plans to only roll out to 6
JobCentres in Oct 2013 i.e. how many JobCentres were originally scheduled, who made the
decision to reduce it to 6, what data was this decision based on e.g. data gleaned from existing
Pathfinder? I'm assuming that 6 JobCentres was not the original plan due the government
announcement in 2011 that.. “[from Oct 2013] all new claims for out-of-work support would be
treated as claims to universal credit”.

your response:

2) We have not changed our roll out plans, we have always said that we will deliver Universal
Credit over a four year period by 2017, we remain committed to this timescale and within.

It is quite clear I am asking you for information - if any exists - regarding the change of plans for the Oct 2013 roll-out. You have answered in regard to complete introduction of UC. Saying you have not chnaged your roll out plans is simply not true and I have asked for data relating to the changes that have clearly been made. Or perhaps you are suggesting that the government did not announce in 2011 that from Oct 2013 all new claims for out of work support could be treated as claims for UC.
If you intend to stand by your answer to Q2 then please provide documentation showing the proposed timetable for the introduction of UC from 2011, this can be press releases, simplified timetables etc clearly showing that it was always your intention to roll out to 6 Jobcentres with strict criteria for claimants from Oct 2013 - evidence of this should be easy to find if you have "not changed your roll out plans"
Further it was announced that "by April 2014 approx 1 million claimants would be receiving UC" is this still the case or has this chnaged?
Finally there have clkearly been changes to the roll out timetable - I'm not saying this is good or bad that is not the function of requests for information I simply want Q2 to be answered correctly and for you to supply the information you must hold.

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,

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...
 

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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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Thank you for your Freedom of Information request; please see the attached acknowledgement.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.
Yours sincerely,

DWP Central 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.

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

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Dear DWP Strategy Freedom of Information,

I sent an IRR on 16.10.13 and received an auto response the same day, on 18.10.13 I received an acknowledgement quoting my IRR and stating:

"You can expect a reply by 13 November unless I need to come back to you to clarify your
request or the balance of the public interest test needs to be considered.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number
above."

13.11.13 has now been and gone, I have not yet had a response, a request for clarification or an explanation for the delay

Yours sincerely,

Paul Malpas

DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

Dear Paul Malpas,

There is no statutory deadline for replying to an internal review; however we aim to reply within 20 - 40 days. The 20 day deadline would have been 13 November; unfortunately we have been unable to meet that deadline. We aim to provide a response to you by 11 December and will make every effort to get the response to you before that.

My apologies for the delay.

DWP Strategy FoI Team

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Dear DWP Strategy Freedom of Information,

I am aware that there is no statutory deadline for IRR the time frame I was expecting a response within and which I quoted was set by you in your response of 18.10.13 which is why I quoted it. There was no mention in the mail of 18.10.13 of a 20 to 40 day target period it merely advised me to expect a response by 13.11.13 and so the passing of that date is what prompted my letter - statute or not I would expect you to keep to your deadline or provide reasons and or apologies for not doing so - I wonder if you would have advised of this delay had I not written to you.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Malpas

Dear DWP Strategy Freedom of Information,

Having looked at the guidance for IRR I find your response a little worrying and would seek clarification on what you mean by "aiming to respond to IRR with 20 to 40 days" - the relevant guidance I can find states:

Freedom of Information Good Practice Guidance No. 5

Time limits on carrying out internal reviews following
requests for information under the Freedom of Information
Act 2000
The spirit of the Code is that internal reviews should be completed as soon as
possible. For example:

• a complaints procedure should be designed to allow prompt
determination of complaints (para 39)
• target times should be set for dealing with complaints (para 42).
• the code also recommends that the target times are reviewed regularly
and that each authority should publish them together with information
on its success in meeting those targets.
• there is also an implied recommendation, supported by guidance
issued by the Department for Constitutional Affairs, that the
complainant should be kept fully informed throughout the review
process.

The Commissioner supports these recommendations and intends, from time
to time, to monitor conformity with them.
Some other factors to be noted are as follows:

• FOIA requires a request to be complied with “promptly and in any event
not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt”
which suggests that internal reviews should also be completed
promptly.
• Internal review is an important second opportunity for the public
authority to engage with an applicant and there are clear benefits to
both parties if the review is concluded within a reasonable timeframe.
• The Freedom of Information Act (Scotland) 2002 stipulates an internal
review should be completed within 20 working days following receipt of
the request for review.

In view of all the above the Commissioner considers that a reasonable time
for completing an internal review is 20 working days from the date of the
request for review. There may be a small number of cases which involve
exceptional circumstances where it may be reasonable to take longer. In
those circumstances, the public authority should, as a matter of good practice,
notify the requester and explain why more time is needed.

In our view, in no case should the total time taken exceed 40 working days. In
such cases we would expect a public authority to be able to demonstrate that
it had commenced the review procedure promptly following receipt of the
request for review and had actively worked on the review throughout that
period.

As you can see ICO guidance says you should set and publish target times for compliance with IRR as well as reports for meeting those targets - it also says authorities, such as yourselves should seek to respond to IRR within 20 days - however the target time you quoted in your recent mail states that YOUR target is from 20 to 40 days, which would imply that you do not even seek to respond within 20 days. Could you please clarify this for me. I would like to see your target times and policy for response to IRR and also any data you have in respect of meeting (or not meeting) your targets - also could you let me know if indeed you do publish this data (as per the guidance quoted). If you wish to treat this request for data as a separate FoI request then please do so - I will expect this data within 20 days whether as a separate FoI or not.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Malpas

John Slater left an annotation ()

Paul,

I suspect that the DWP will try every trick it can to delay responding to your request. It will then probably claim s.36 FOIA applies and refuse your request. If you then complain to the ICO it will take a few months for them to deal with it. If the ICO upholds your complaint the DWP will then probably appeal to the Information Rights Tribunal which will delay it even further.

I asked for the UCP risk register, issues register and high level milestone schedule on 14th April 2012 be through this process. I have a Tribunal hearing at the end of Jan 2014.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

Paul Malpas left an annotation ()

Hi John,

It's all a bit farcical, they s22'd me on my PIP request stating that they were going to publish some time in "early 2014" even tho it was obvious that public interest would be served by early release of PIP data.
This particular request is becoming a mute point as even the reduced 6 Jobcentres didn't go as planned - and as for the 20 to 40 days for IRR well they're just making it up as they go along.

Talbot Gina DWP FLDM MCT, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Please see the attached reply to your Freedom of Information request

Yours sincerely

DWP Strategy FoI team

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Dear Talbot Gina DWP FLDM MCT,

Thank you for your response to my IRR. Unfortunately I remain dissatisfied with the content of your response.
I acknowledge and accept that all the input for a iterative process the size and scope of UC roll out would be prohibitively large to collate.
Having said the above I take issue with a number of points in your response.
1 You acknowledge that Ministers announced that from Oct 2013 DWP would start roll out of UC. I believe you are intentionally understating what was actually announced and that is that from Oct 2013 ALL new claims for out of work support could be treated as claims to Universal Credit.
I'm sure you must agree that a change from having ALL new claims going as claims for UC to what has actually happened is a massive and substantial change to the roll out agenda - it is not minor tweeking of an existing plan. You say there was no one point where a decision was made, I would suggest that such a massive change must have been sanctioned at the highest level and whereas I agree that there must have been a myriad of reasons for changing someone (singularly or as part of a group) must have made the decision to only roll out to 6 JC+ (in hindsight even this figure wasn't managed) with restricted criteria for claimants. You say it was a succession of updates - if so can you tell me (as was requested in my original question) how many JC+ was UC originally going to go to (presumably all of them if the announcement in 2011 is to be believed) and what was this succession i.e. if there are 740 JobCentres then the reduction of 740 to 6 is a finite number of steps (unless they've been rising as well as falling) and the criteria from ALL claimants to current restricted version is also a finite number of steps. As far as I'm aware none of these updated plans were publicised so I would like this data (a simple list showing the planned number of JC+ to be rolled out to in Oct against the date the number was revised). I would also like to know when and by whom the decision was made and sanctioned to arrive at the final figure of 6 and equally when and by whom was the decision made to maintain the restrictive criteria in favour of the previously announced ALL new claimants.
2 You talk about a "succession of updates" "decisions to move from one confirmed plan to another" - clearly you now acknowledge that there have been changes - indeed there have been many. I would ask how this fits with your original response to my question where you said "we have not changed our roll out plans...." do you now acknowledge that this statement was not the right answer to my question, was misleading and was in fact a virtually verbatim copy of IDS's evidence to the select committee (you may well be sticking to your belief (misplaced belief in my opinion) that UC will be up and running for all claimants by 2017) but this is not what was asked, you did not supply the information and despite changing your stance somewhat you have failed to either apologise or give adequate explanation as to why the original response was given.
3. I see no acknowledgement of receipt or response to the points I have subsequently raised in regard to the time it has taken to receive this response to my IRR - as you have produced very little in the way of hard data I would suggest that there appears to be little reason for the delays in producing the response to my IRR

As you have now started to at least attempt to answer my question I am holding back on sending a complaint to ICO despite the fact that I am still not satisfied following an IRR, I will expect a response shortly from you in regard to the points raised (including in regard to the delay of the IRR response - again I offer to have sections of this treated as a separate FoI, if you want to treat it this way then please acknowledge this and supply a new and separate reference) - if you again tell me that there was no single point in time, single person or body or persons who made the decision to roll out to 6 JC+ (from whatever the last update was be that 739 or 7) then I will have no other option than to seek redress with ICO.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Malpas

Paul Malpas left an annotation ()

Please note although I have marked this request as partially successful I am still awaiting a further response from DWP as I was not happy with the results of their IRR and also the time taken to produce a response

DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

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Dear Paul Malpass,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request. Please find enclosed our acknowledgment of its receipt.

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

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Talbot Gina DWP FLDM MCT, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Please see the attached reply to your Freedom of Information request

Yours sincerely

DWP Strategy FoI team

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DWP Strategy Freedom of Information, Department for Work and Pensions

1 Attachment

Please see the attached reply to your Freedom of Information request

Yours sincerely

DWP Strategy FoI team

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