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Work undertaken by Digital Colleagues in 2020 to look at emergency payment to legacy benefits recipients

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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In April 2020 I requested information from you around the Universal Credit uplift and the decision not to extend that to Legacy Benefits. You assigned this request reference number FOI2020/19088.

You have now released this information.

In an internal DWP email dated 26 March 2020 10:59 (which you released as page 23 of Additional material 4.pdf) it is noted by one colleague that

“DWP are likely to come under pressure to increase amounts of payments to those outside of the UC catchment [...] Therefore I just wanted to inform you of a piece of work we’ve kicked off with Digital Colleagues to look at what options are there to make emergency payments quickly and efficiently to customers not receiving UC – for example using existing legacy systems or if regular payments are not viable could we explore a single one off payment”

I would like today to request any information you hold on that item of work undertaken with Digital Colleagues.

This might be for instance Equality Impact Assessments, email chains, internal memos, draft regulations, minutes of meetings, essentially any information you hold relating to this item of work.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

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
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Timescales for responding
 
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freedom-of-information-request@dwp.gov.uk,

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Dear Finn Keaney,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 29th
June.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Thank you for your reply. Please accept the below reduction in the scope of my original request.

Please provide me the below information as it relates to the item of work outlined in my initial request :
- the names of any teams or departments involved in this piece of work
- minutes of any meetings attended or held by Digital Colleagues discussing this item of work
- any Equality Impact Assessments undertaken as part of this item of work
- the findings as they were at the point of being issued to whoever Digital Colleagues reported to on this item of work

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

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.
 
 
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More information on the DWP can be accessed on gov.uk here –
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
 

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

Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FoI) request received on 3rd
August You asked for:

Thank you for your reply. Please accept the below reduction in the scope
of my original request.

Please provide me the below information as it relates to the item of work
outlined in my initial request :
- the names of any teams or departments involved in this piece of work
- minutes of any meetings attended or held by Digital Colleagues
discussing this item of work
- any Equality Impact Assessments undertaken as part of this item of work
- the findings as they were at the point of being issued to whoever
Digital Colleagues reported to on this item of work

We do hold information falling within the terms of your request; however,
we need more time to consider your request.

I wish to advise you that the following exemption applies to the
information that you have requested:

Section 31 - Law Enforcement

By virtue of section 10(3), where public authorities have to consider the
balance of the public interest in relation to a request, they do not have
to comply with the request until such a time as is reasonable in the
circumstances.

The Department has not yet reached a decision on the balance of the public
interest. Due to the need to consider, in all the circumstances of the
case, where the balance of the public interest lies in relation to the
information that you have requested, the Department will not be able to
respond to your request in full within 20 working days.

Accordingly, I hope to let you have a response as soon as possible but no
later than 2nd October 2023

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

Yours sincerely,

Central FOI Team,
Department for Work and Pensions

freedomofinformation.mailbox@dwp.gov.uk,

1 Attachment

Dear Finn Keaney,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 3rd
August.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

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 'Work undertaken by Digital Colleagues in 2020 to look at emergency payment to legacy benefits recipients'.

Thank you for your reply but I am not sure I understand it. You have drawn a distinction between one-off payments and emergency payments. My understanding is that you have then said that my original request was about emergency payments whereas the additional piece of work undertaken by Digital Colleagues and referenced in the email I quoted in my original request was relating to one-off payments, not emergency payments.

If this is the case, the information I am interested in is that piece of work undertaken by Digital Colleagues around one-off payments. The phrase 'emergency payments' was only used in my original request as that was the way they had been referred to by the DWP staff member writing that email, but if the work actually undertaken was around the ability to make one-off payments then please could you release that information as that is what was being referred to in the quote I included in my original email.

I hope the above makes sense, let me know if any further clarification is needed.

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

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

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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freedomofinformation.mailbox@dwp.gov.uk,

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Dear Finn Keaney,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 9th
October.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Thank you for your reply and revision of your original decision. I am still not sure that you have provided everything though - the most recent of the three documents you provided Covid 19 Rapid Response DPF Minutes 27 redacted.03.20 2.pdf confirm that the work around one-off payments was to be undertaken, and then there are no more documents provided to show what happened. Obviously a decision was made at some point not to progress this item of work further but there is no evidence of this decision or what led to it: the data that you've provided would indicate to a reader that the work would have gone ahead.

Please could you provide whatever took place as part of this item of work afterwards?

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

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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Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

I wanted to chase this as it has now been 21 working days since I wrote to you asking for a review of your last response. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

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

Dear Mr Keaney,
 
Your request is being administered with the reference FOI2023/85711.
 
The 20 working day deadline is today (30 November is a Bank Holiday in
Scotland and legislation provides that this is not counted as a working
day for FOI purposes).
 
As background, here is the relevant ICO guidance: [1]Time limits for
compliance under the Freedom of Information Act (Section 10) | ICO
 
We will reply to you today.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
DWP Central Freedom of Information Team

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freedomofinformation.mailbox@dwp.gov.uk,

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Dear Finn Keaney,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 8th
November.

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

Thank you for your reply. I would like to narrow my earlier review request down in line with your helpful explanation.

You have stated that "the work, documented in the Covid 19 Rapid Response DPF Minutes 27 redacted.03.20 2.pdf under the heading ‘Emergency Payments to legacy customers’, was completed. This was a proposal to re-use/re-purpose existing components of our Seasonal Payments solution and to expedite delivery of the CIS integration component to complete the end to end payment journey.’, and provided DWP with the capability to make bulk one off payments should they be needed."

I believe that this proposal and whatever response or outcome that resulted from it fall under the scope of my original request and so would like to please see this.

Yours faithfully,

Finn Keaney

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

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Dear Finn Keaney,

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

Yours sincerely,

DWP Central FoI Team

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Finn Keaney please sign in and let everyone know.