Use of two or three parts verification to confirm identity of people claiming to work for DWP in incoming phone calls

Arthur Tanner made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Department for Work and Pensions should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I wish to use two or three part identity verification for people phoning me claiming to work for DWP.
This is a simple process, staff at DWP are given a password or passwords that only they know. When phoning me they are asked a question or series of questions, to which only DWP staff have access to the answers.

I have reently had a number of what appear to be scam phone calls with people claiming to work for DWP, asking for passwords eg, pets name, date of birth, place of birth, school, NI number and so-on, but when I have asked them to positively identify themselves they have refused to answer simple security questions, claiming they don't have to answer. I am currently assuming that these phone calls are being made by scammers.

Is there any legislation in place that prevents me from using two or three part verification of callers? If so, can you specify what this legislation is, e.g. the name and section of the relevant acts of parliment and the date of the legislation. A link directly to the legislation would be useful, in the same way I can quote section 7 of the 1996 education act which can be found here:- https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/199...
Which takes me to the specific legislation I am discussing in this example.

If there is no legislation in place preventing me from using two or three part/step verification to confirm identity (to a moderately safe level) of people phoning me claiming to work for DWP please confirm this.

Yours faithfully,

Quentin Elphick

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

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
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More information on the DWP can be accessed on gov.uk here –
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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

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Dear Arthur Tanner,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 7th
November.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I quote ICO office guidance:-
"In most cases you should be able to consider requests without reference to the requesters identify. However, under section 8(1)(b) if you have reason to believe the requester hasn’t given their real name you can enquire about the requesters identity.<<"

I have identified, my name is Quentin Elphick. It has been for over 65 years.
Because I chose to use another account or email address does not mean t is not me that is making the request. Whilst I appreciate your caution, nothing has change with regard to my name.

My application for the information requested remains in place. You have until 6th of December to supply it.

I note that you have answered another question I put in without any refernce to a FOI without issues.

Given you were able to answer a question not following FOI protocols, perhaps you could find somone that is willing to answer the original question following FOI protocols and within the original time-scale.
or you could just be bloody minded civil servants. Please let me know which.

Yours faithfully,

Quentin Elphick

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

Thank you for contacting the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
 
This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received by the DWP Freedom of Information mailbox and will be
processed accordingly.
 
Please note that this mailbox is for Freedom of Information (FOI) or
Internal Review (IR) requests only – If you have submitted a non FOI or IR
related email then we may not be able to action it.
 
 
Timescales for responding
 
Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests
 
If your email is a valid FOI request, as per Section 8 of the FOI Act
2000, you can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
Internal Review (IR) Requests
 
You can normally expect a response within 20 working days.
 
We will respond to all valid FOI and IR requests within our statutory
timescales, if we are unable to do so then we will contact you to explain
why. Please note that we are not able to process your FOI or IR request in
any shorter timescales that you may indicate.
 
 
Receiving a response from us
 
Please note that email FOI and IR responses will be issued from
[email address]
 
We recommend that you add this address to your email contacts otherwise
the response may be treated as Spam or Junk by your email account
provider.  
 
 
Further Information
 
Should you have any further queries in connection with your FOI or IR
request please contact us.
 
More information on the DWP can be accessed on gov.uk here –
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
 

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References

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1. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

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

Dear Quentin Elphick

 

Thank you for your email.

 

This issue with this request was that two full names were provided,
Quentin Elphick and Arthur Tanner, as such we were not sure who was
actually making the request and treated the FOI as invalid under Section
8(1)(b) of the FOI Act.

 

We have advised that for an FOI to be considered valid it must satisfy the
conditions under Section 8 of FOI Act, in that it must:

• Be in writing.
• Contain a valid name and contact address.
• Describe the information being requested.

 

Any FOI submitted to DWP must satisfy these three points in the
email/postal request that is sent. Whilst you have confirmed your name as
Quentin Elphick, the last email you send did not contain a request for any
information, as such it would be invalid under Section 8(1)(c) of the FOI
Act for failing to specify what information you are after.

 

Please note we are not required to look back and piece together an FOI
request from multiple emails, it is up to the requester to supply the
information required under Section 8 in one communication. At the current
time, this FOI request is not valid, and the Department is not working on
a response.

 

This is not about us being difficult, but we are following our obligations
under the FOI Act. Every FOI is judged purposed blind and on its own
merits, so whatever may have happened with previous FOIs does not set a
precedent for how things will naturally be handled in the future.

 

Our advice is that you submit a new request that includes all the details
required under Section 8 in one email / postal request under one name.

 

 

 

Regards,

Central FOI Team

Department for Work and Pensions

 

 

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