Welfare Reform Act - Clause 99

J Newman made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Work and Pensions

The request was partially successful.

From: J Newman

12 March 2012

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Clause 99 contains no reference to a time limit on ESA
reconsiderations although it makes them mandatory:

1) When is the intended implementation date?

2) As yet no decisions have been made regarding ESA payment levels
during the reconsideration period which could be indefinite. Can
give an assurance that this will be announced BEFORE
implementation?

3) What data will you collect so that the effects of this
legislation can be accurately analysed subsequently?

4) Where are the risk assessment, impact analysis and risk register
that show the effect this will have on claimants whose benefit
payments could be affected indefinitely?

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

12 March 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

30 March 2012


Attachment FOI1137 Response 30.03.12.pdf
17K Download View as HTML


Dear Mr Newman,

Please see attached response to your FoI request.

Kind regards,

DWP Central FoI Team

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From: J Newman

30 March 2012

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 'Welfare Reform Act -
Clause 99'.

Thank you for what you have supplied, but it does not include
either the risk analysis or risk register I requested (these are
different from an impact analysis and serve a different purpose)
and no explanation as to why they have been omitted.

If they have not been undertaken and there is therefore no record,
just say so.

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

Yours faithfully,

J Newman

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

30 March 2012

This is an automated confirmation that your request for information has
been received at the DWP Central FoI Team.

We will forward your request to the relevant information owner within the
Department who will respond to you direct. 

Should you also 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...

show quoted sections

References

Visible links
1. http://www.dwp.gov.uk/freedom-of-informa...

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From: DWP Adelphi Freedom-of-Information-Request
Department for Work and Pensions

16 May 2012

Our Ref: FOI IR 194

Dear Mr Newman,

I am writing in response to your review request received on 2 April
2011. An internal review has been carried out by someone senior to the
person who replied previously. I am now in a position to respond to you.
In your review request you said:

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Work
and Pensions's handling of my FOI request 'Welfare Reform Act -
Clause 99'.

Thank you for what you have supplied, but it does not include
either the risk analysis or risk register I requested (these are
different from an impact analysis and serve a different purpose)
and no explanation as to why they have been omitted.

If they have not been undertaken and there is therefore no record,
just say so.

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

When the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) proposes changes to
regulations that are likely to significantly impact on business, the
public sector, the voluntary sector or on the community, it will usually
conduct a formal public consultation in line with the Government's code
of practice on consultation. This does not include publishing a risk
register or conducting a risk analysis. This is because all aspects of
the proposed changes are considered during the consultation process and
in the impact assessment and equality impact assessments related to the
changes.

I can confirm therefore, that there is no risk analysis or risk register
in respect of clause 99 of the Welfare Reform Bill.
DWP has published a consultation document "Mandatory consideration of
revision before appeal" that can be accessed via the DWP web site under
the heading "Consultations". The consultation concerns issues relevant
to the implementation and operation of the appeals reform provisions in
the Welfare Reform Bill and invites comments on the draft regulations.

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 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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J Newman left an annotation (28 May 2012)

Quote-marks Just a note for anyone else stumbling across this.

The final response can only be seen as cavalier in the extreme and a serious dereliction of duty. We all expect our elected Government and the Civil Service to exercise considerably more diligence and care on our behalf than is shown here, particularly when the stakes are high – and they don’t come much higher than a person’s health & well-being.

No change in regulations or process can be implemented with absolute certainty over all of the potential outcomes and so by definition risks exist. The ones of greatest concern are obviously the ones with the most far reaching consequences (high impact) and although the likelihood of occurrence might be small, they have to be acknowledged and “managed” - all this means is that they are kept at the forefront of everyone’s thinking so that they continually act in such a way as to keep the risks as low as possible and eliminate them if possible. Hence the concept of risk assessment and (subsequent) risk management – not rocket science, just effective and responsible management.

To assist everyone involved, the full range of risks is logged on a risk register which is routinely reviewed – some risks might disappear and can be removed and new ones might emerge as a project progresses – they all require routine reassessment and management.

The thought that DWP can launch regulations like this with total disregard for the risks involved is beyond belief. Either it thinks that there are no risks (which is patently absurd) or it doesn’t care what they are and what the consequences might be (far more likely). After all, the best way to avoid an indefensible position on risk management is to bury one’s head in the sand and pretend there aren’t any risks. None of the ‘alternatives’ mentioned in the DWP responses here fulfil the same purpose, the most important one being an overt demonstration by DWP that it does hold the public (which it supposedly serves) in high regard rather than contempt and will not gamble with its health & well-being.

On the balance of probabilities therefore, there is only one plausible conclusion regarding DWP's attitudes & intentions. One might hope that the Civil Service Code would provide some moral guidance, but it appears not.

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