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Wolverhampton post handling - not forwarding post to BC

Peter Turville
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Welfare rights worker - Oxford Community Work Agency

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Are other adviser encountering the same problem?

Applications for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ (all against ESA WCA ‘found fit’ decisions) are scanned on to the system at post handling but not forwarded to the relevant benefit centre (in our cases Plymouth / St Austell) so no further action taken - MR is just ‘sitting in the system’.

Calls back from exasperated staff at benefit centre saying this is a regular problem and the first they know about it is when someone ‘phones chasing a decision on the MR.

In one of our cases the MR had been ‘sitting in the system’ for 13 weeks without any action.

Is the issues specific to Plymouth / St Austell BC, only ESA WCA MR’s or common across all BC’s, benefits & issues?

neilbateman
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I’ve had the same problem with several offices (my work covers the whole of GB).  My MR applications are clearly marked as being MR applications on the front of the letter so I can’t make it any simpler for the poor souls.

I have raised it several times and have been told corrective action was taken.  The DWP blame the people in the mail opening units for not understanding what to do with the MRs and who were just categorising them as other mail which then sits in a queue until being read and then sent to the appropriate dispute resolution team where it sits in another queue until it’s dealt with.

I see DWP are tendering again for mail opening services.  Will it get worse or better?

SamW
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Where clients are mobile I am advising them to make appointments to take documents to their Jobcentre to be scanned and sent to the benefit centre direct. It seems to be the only reliable way of getting things over to them.

ROBBO
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Same problem.

I was told recently by the back office that marking a letter ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’ in bold at the top was not sufficient - we have to write ‘Mandatory Reconsideration - WCA’!

I am sure this will be a more than adequate remedy to the problem, just as I’m convinced that generally speaking everything is getting better.

ClairemHodgson
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if they would just go back to letting people send letters to the actual offices where the decisions were to be made, it would be a whole lot simpler, cheaper and more efficient.  but can’t see that happening….

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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ClairemHodgson - 01 February 2017 09:27 AM

if they would just go back to letting people send letters to the actual offices where the decisions were to be made, it would be a whole lot simpler, cheaper and more efficient.  but can’t see that happening….

now you’re making me all nostalgic for being on post opening duty when i worked at the DSS Claire….

past caring
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Same problems. MR requests are eventually dealt with, however. Supersession requests, on the other hand - can’t say I’ve actually managed to get them to do one in the last three years without having to threaten JR…..

ClairemHodgson
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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 01 February 2017 10:00 AM
ClairemHodgson - 01 February 2017 09:27 AM

if they would just go back to letting people send letters to the actual offices where the decisions were to be made, it would be a whole lot simpler, cheaper and more efficient.  but can’t see that happening….

now you’re making me all nostalgic for being on post opening duty when i worked at the DSS Claire….

LOL. 

but i’m right, though, as we all know.

 

Peter Turville
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ClairemHodgson - 01 February 2017 10:33 AM
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 01 February 2017 10:00 AM
ClairemHodgson - 01 February 2017 09:27 AM

if they would just go back to letting people send letters to the actual offices where the decisions were to be made, it would be a whole lot simpler, cheaper and more efficient.  but can’t see that happening….

now you’re making me all nostalgic for being on post opening duty when i worked at the DSS Claire….

LOL. 

but i’m right, though, as we all know.

Nostalgia is all very well (the most mind numbing job I ever had was as a casual CA linking post in a DHSS office!). But we all need to look forward to the bright new future when we (or at least our clients) will be able to enter their MR on their UC account and it will never get lost! Oh except for those clients for whom UC is not quite so universal because they only/also get ESA(C) and they send their MR by snailmail to ESA.

nevip
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ROBBO - 01 February 2017 08:08 AM

Same problem.

I was told recently by the back office that marking a letter ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’ in bold at the top was not sufficient - we have to write ‘Mandatory Reconsideration - WCA’!

I am sure this will be a more than adequate remedy to the problem, just as I’m convinced that generally speaking everything is getting better.

There is no legal foundation for such nonsense.  As long as the letter can be plainly read as challenging/being unhappy with a decision, then that is sufficient for it to be processed as a review.

ClairemHodgson
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Peter Turville - 01 February 2017 12:19 PM
ClairemHodgson - 01 February 2017 10:33 AM
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 01 February 2017 10:00 AM
ClairemHodgson - 01 February 2017 09:27 AM

if they would just go back to letting people send letters to the actual offices where the decisions were to be made, it would be a whole lot simpler, cheaper and more efficient.  but can’t see that happening….

now you’re making me all nostalgic for being on post opening duty when i worked at the DSS Claire….

LOL. 

but i’m right, though, as we all know.

Nostalgia is all very well (the most mind numbing job I ever had was as a casual CA linking post in a DHSS office!). But we all need to look forward to the bright new future when we (or at least our clients) will be able to enter their MR on their UC account and it will never get lost! Oh except for those clients for whom UC is not quite so universal because they only/also get ESA(C) and they send their MR by snailmail to ESA.

and those who are wholly incapable of using IT

John Birks
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The problem doesn’t appear to be a not forwarding issue but more of a not reading issue.

Failure to apply the last bullet point appear to be the issue.

It (mail) arrives at the mail processing office (whether than be DWP or contractor premises).
• It is opened.
• It is scanned.
• It is deposited in the appropriate DWP repository.
• The relevant member of staff is made aware that the correspondence is available for them to work on.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/267631/response/658881/attach/3/FOI 1946 Response 010615.pdf

The work isn’t sent anywhere - the repository view would/may look something like this:

https://doc.flux.ly/download/attachments/688302/Daily Run Summary.png?version=2&modificationDate=1444137467559&api=v2

IME the letter is recorded as received and is available and an MR is carried out once prompted even without the WCA being included.

 

ROBBO
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Welfare rights team - Stockport Advice

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nevip - 01 February 2017 12:29 PM
ROBBO - 01 February 2017 08:08 AM

Same problem.

I was told recently by the back office that marking a letter ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’ in bold at the top was not sufficient - we have to write ‘Mandatory Reconsideration - WCA’!

I am sure this will be a more than adequate remedy to the problem, just as I’m convinced that generally speaking everything is getting better.

There is no legal foundation for such nonsense.  As long as the letter can be plainly read as challenging/being unhappy with a decision, then that is sufficient for it to be processed as a review.

Just to be clear, nobody was suggesting that the letter was not a legitimate MR request.  The advice given to include ‘WCA’ was said to improve your chances of mail being correctly delivered into the right repository, if that is the favoured term.

Peter Turville
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Given the comments made by staff I have spoken to who are at the ‘receiving end’ of the post handling and directing process it may be that if something is clearly marked in a nice big heading ‘APPLICATION FOR MANDATORY RECONSIDERATION’ it goes into a specific priority MR work box and is not simply placed with other post to be dealt with in date order. I am assuming post can be allocated to different ‘work boxes’ according to relevant BC, benefit, general post or MR etc?? My understanding is that MRs are not normally dealt with at the BC that made the original decsion but by a ‘dispute resolution team’ (DRT) which is likely to be at a different physical location (hence the need for a seperate MR ‘work box’?)

Whether also marking it ESA WCA or similar would further assist it to be placed in the appropriate ‘work box’ is a good question.

Staff also seem to be suggesting that although post is scanned onto the IT system it is not being allocated to any ‘work box’ by post handling and therefore can only be ‘found’ if someone actively searches for it. But that may be an excuse because staff at the BC are not dealing with post that has been properly allocated and forwarded to the BC?

[ Edited: 1 Feb 2017 at 01:42 pm by Peter Turville ]
Daphne
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It might be worth trying the alternative postal addresses here - http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/forums/viewthread/10811/