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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Decision making and appeals  →  Thread

DWP ‘gatekeeper memo’ on mandatory reconsideration obtained through FOI

 

Ros White
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Advice and Rights team, CPAG, London

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Hi all

Thought you’d be interested in the attached FOI response which contains the text of a gatekeeper memo issued to decision makers in 2015 and confirms, amongst other things, that -

a mandatory reconsideration notice must be sent in all cases where MR has been done,
no need for explanation or review before MR,
requests for MR can be made on phone and
no need for claimant to utter magic words ‘mandatory reconsideration’ in order for it to happen.

Thanks to Kelly for making the FOI request.

Ros

     

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JPCHC
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Cardinal Hume Centre - Welfare Rights

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I called today to request a mandatory reconsideration (with client present) only to be told she’d have to put in a statement.  I quoted from this Memo which earned me another 10 mins on hold whilst they checked with someone, only to be told the team leader says all they can do is to get someone from the Benefit Centre to call the client to take the request.  I spoke to the Team Leader who said their manager was looking into what they can and can’t do because they’re new to doing this type of work S and there have been “changes”....

This was Stratford ‘Service Centre’.  Has anyone heard what’s happening with the reorganisation there? I keep being told different things.

     
1964
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Deputy Manager, Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit

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It’s all deeply obscure. When I rang the other day I was told the call centre is now a ‘service centre’ and that the difference is that the ‘service centre’ can do things there & then (simple changes in circs, etc) rather than just act as a contact point (they told me they would amend my client’s claim - I was ringing to chase up on an anytime revision request as the client’s award included erroneous income which needed to be removed- though I will believe it when I see the revised award letter). However, the last few times I’ve rung it’s clearly been the old call centre arrangement. So goodness only knows.

     
Jon (CHDCA)
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Welfare Benefits, Craven CAB, N Yorks

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At the other end of the MR procedure ...

An appeal based on the attached reply to an MR request has been rejected by the Tribunal Service, on the grounds that they need the letter from DWP which explains “that they have looked at the decision again and advising the claimant of their right to appeal to the Tribunal”.

In this case, although they have plainly “reconsidered” their decision, DWP fail to state what the client’s next step is, or what further recourse may be available (if any).

I was thinking of just bouncing it back, with a request for a judge to look at this. Any other thoughts?

     

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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Information and Advice Resources, Age UK

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Jon (CHDCA) - 04 August 2016 02:51 PM

At the other end of the MR procedure ...

An appeal based on the attached reply to an MR request has been rejected by the Tribunal Service, on the grounds that they need the letter from DWP which explains “that they have looked at the decision again and advising the claimant of their right to appeal to the Tribunal”.

In this case, although they have plainly “reconsidered” their decision, DWP fail to state what the client’s next step is, or what further recourse may be available (if any).

I was thinking of just bouncing it back, with a request for a judge to look at this. Any other thoughts?

Well call me old fashioned but the fact that their reply starts by saying “Regaridng your mandatory reconsideration request.” I’d have thought that this is self-evidently their response to an MR request which implicitly means they are obliged to look at the decision in question again. Indeed, if there was no obligation, for example the MR was submitted out of time, then they’d have replied to this effect in all probability.

The simple fact that DWP has also failed in their duties to properly explain to your client that they have appeal rights in relation to a sec.9 decision is neither here nor there. Very sad to see HMCTS adding to the hurdles that claimants need to get over before they can challenge decisions at tribunal.

     
1964
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Deputy Manager, Reading Community Welfare Rights Unit

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Absolutely.

And what an appalling ‘decision’ by the way. it’s not even literate. Someone should really be dragged over the coals for that. Not that it will ever happen of course.