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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Other universal credit issues  →  Thread

Reasons we need Implicit Consent or Signed Consent in Full Service

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Andrew Dutton
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Mike Hughes - 12 February 2019 04:15 PM
Daphne - 12 February 2019 04:13 PM

I agree it should be challenged - their guidance says it lasts the assessment period you give it and one more and then it needs to be given again - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/universal-credit-detailed-information-for-claimants/universal-credit-consent-and-disclosure-of-information

The basis for this seems to me to be… precisely nothing.

Also, this gets hopelessly tangled up with ‘until the specific request is completed.’

Who gets to say when that is? I’d argue that if a claimant is not satisfied that their request has been completed, then in most cases it hasn’t been.

Plus I very much champion Mike’s point - it’s the claimant granting consent not DWP, why does DWP take it upon themselves to mess with that?

ICO draft guidance says - ‘Doing consent well should put individuals in control, build customer trust
and engagement, and enhance your reputation’. and ‘Consent means offering individuals genuine choice and control’

GDPR definition:
“any freely given, specific, informed
and unambiguous indication of the
data subject’s wishes by which he
or she, by a statement or by a
clear affirmative action, signifies
agreement to the processing of
personal data relating to him or
her”

 

     
Daphne
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I can only agree - and it is something we keep raising again and again with them…

     
Mike Hughes
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What we need is a claimant who gives authority with no time limit or a limit greater than that specified by DWP. They need to be able to show a financial loss caused specifically by the consent being expired and then we have a case. Bring it on as far as I’m concerned.

     
ClairemHodgson
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i think get the ICO on it now, with examples from this thread .... they are quite helpful

     
Daphne
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Emma Cotton at Equity is in the middle of pursuing a complaint with the ICO which I know she will update on her when she has news

     
ClairemHodgson
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Daphne - 13 February 2019 03:42 PM

Emma Cotton at Equity is in the middle of pursuing a complaint with the ICO which I know she will update on her when she has news

:-)

     
EKS_COTTON
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Just to confirm - the ICO are still investigating the issue. 

They have confirmed that what they are doing is completely separate to the other developments at the DWP that have been reported on, e.g.

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/introduction-of-implicit-consent-is-a-bigbig-priority-says-justin-Tomlinson
and

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/dwp-to-explore-options-for-improving-process-of-explicit-consent-in-relatio

Once we have something more from them, I will update.

     
Andrew Dutton
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In my view, things are getting worse and Operation Obstruct is spreading to legacy benefits. 

Implicit consent is no longer exercised, authorisations are refused, updated authorisations demanded even where DWP has delayed responding for weeks or months, and we are told we have not provided updated authorisation even when we have.

Claimants that we have told the DWP are severely disabled/distressed/unable to cope are contacted direct by DWP who will then not tell us what was discussed or why they contacted a claimant who has specifically asked us to help.

I also note a new peremptory tone in responses to complaints; ‘I consider this matter closed’ - not even the usual little para stating that if we are not satisfied then we can go to DGO, ICE etc.

Is anyone else encountering worsening problems?

     
Suzanne Kirkham
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Any update around this gratefully received.  UC Service Centre are presenting real difficulties in insisting upon appointeeship or client presence despite written consent (even when within same AP)!

     
Sarah-B
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This written answer by Justin Tomlinson suggests that, further to his answer to the Work and Pensions Committee, where he said that introduction of Implicit Consent was ‘a big priority for the Department’ … in fact no work at all has been done on this and instead the Department is concentrating on improving Explicit Consent:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-03-05/228697/

     
EKS_COTTON
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Hi everyone,

Just to refresh peoples memory: a group of advice charities and organisations put a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office about the treatment of consent in universal credit back in late 2017 - including the removal of implicit consent and the alleged data protection reasons given - see letters to the advice sector from Neil Couling dated 20/01/17 (https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/pdfs/UCFS_Welfare_Advisers_20_Jan_2017_rightsnet_upload.pdf)

We have finally received a response from the Information Commissioners Office.  They have upheld the complaint and agreed that their response can be published on rightsnet.

So here it is - I will be liaising with the other organisations in due course about following this up with the DWP.  I have only received an email so far so have put it in a pdf attached.

Many, many thanks to everyone involved for their input and support.

EKS

     

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shawn
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Brilliant work EKS ....

     
Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Fantastic work Emma, let’s see what happens now.

     
ClairemHodgson
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result!

i had a feeling that might be the upshot

     
Advice NI
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Fantastic work!!!

     
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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All of the above!

     
BC Welfare Rights
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What does this mean in practical terms? Can DWP appeal or just ignore the ICO opinion?

     
Dan Manville
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Well done Emma; superb work!

     
ClairemHodgson
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BC Welfare Rights - 11 April 2019 05:27 PM

What does this mean in practical terms? Can DWP appeal or just ignore the ICO opinion?

the DWP have to get their act together and do it right.

unlikely to see any immediate change, but in every case this letter can be put in, i should have thought, and they should be immediately sending out urgent new guidance to staff whilst writing a new policy

     
BC Welfare Rights
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Thanks Claire but I’m still not sure exactly how this works. The ICO has not issued a decision notice, taken enforcement action or made an order of some kind. It says it has ‘asked’ and ‘suggested’ and:

“It is now up to the DWP to take account of the advice it has been given”

So, if it doesn’t..?

I should also add my thanks and admiration for Emma’s work on this here too, great job.

     
ClairemHodgson
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BC Welfare Rights - 15 April 2019 05:40 PM

Thanks Claire but I’m still not sure exactly how this works. The ICO has not issued a decision notice, taken enforcement action or made an order of some kind. It says it has ‘asked’ and ‘suggested’ and:

“It is now up to the DWP to take account of the advice it has been given”

So, if it doesn’t..?

Back to the ICO, with individual complaints as well as generic all encompassing work.

i should think also that if it doesn’t it would behove whoever to consult relevant solicitors .... another JR (or more substantive claim) and with the right client on legal aid?  no brainer for success, because in effect you’d have the ICO on the claimant’s side

     
Elliot Kent
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BC Welfare Rights - 15 April 2019 05:40 PM

Thanks Claire but I’m still not sure exactly how this works. The ICO has not issued a decision notice, taken enforcement action or made an order of some kind. It says it has ‘asked’ and ‘suggested’ and:

“It is now up to the DWP to take account of the advice it has been given”

So, if it doesn’t..?

I should also add my thanks and admiration for Emma’s work on this here too, great job.

It’s a central government department - it will have to do something to at least give a semblance of listening to its regulators…

Presumably a revised policy will come out in a few months and if we are not happy with that, we shall have to go back to the ICO.

     
Daphne
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I know Emma is on holiday this week (well deserved) but is planning to draft a letter to Amber Rudd on her return to follow this up - and some parliamentary questions are going to be asked hopefully both in the Commons and the Lords. I am sure she will keep us updated and we will keep an eye out here for progress on the parliamentary questions.

     
Daphne
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Written answer last week on implicit consent but usual vague response and only says it is working on explicit consent -

We have had a number of workshops with stakeholders during which consent has been discussed, and we plan to do further work on explicit consent. This activity will include working with claimants and their representatives to ensure the process works effectively for vulnerable claimants to access the service.

     
EKS_COTTON
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Hi everyone,

Just to let you know we sent a follow up letter to Amber Rudd on the ICO opinion on 13/05/19 and received an acknowledgement a few days ago saying it had been received and they were looking into it, will get back to us etc.

Someone asked about the ICOs powers on enforcement on this issue.  This is a good point.  Will follow up on this in due course depending on the response from DWP.

The Public Law Project are considering the possibility of judicial review on this matter.  They are interested in hearing from organisations and individuals about the difficulties they are having with the DWP’s policy on consent for authorised representatives to contact them about universal credit claims. If you have any relevant cases/examples and would like to discuss this further with them please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

 

     
shawn
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Tweet from the Scottish Social Security Committee:

The Committee want to hear your views!

Let us know your thoughts on Universal Credit consent provisions by emailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) by 5pm Tuesday 11 June.

https://twitter.com/SP_SocialSecur/status/1136206450131423232

     
NAI
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I might be unpopular for saying this.

I share what everyone else has said about Emma Cotton’s outstanding efforts in this area.

However, I feel that the ICO response is inadequate because it has come from a relatively low level in the ICO office (this is in no way a criticism of Mr. Benedict Elliott). It also appears somewhat anodyne. Will anyone take any notice?

I would be interested to know exactly who in the ICO wrote to whom in the DWP. If the sender and recipient are at Mr Elliott’s level, then I suspect that very little will happen in response.

And what about a decision notice or other enforcement action?

     
Daphne
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Emma has had a reply from Amber Rudd - same old reasoning repeated - but possibly a glimmer of movement at the end -

It is also work noting that, although universal credit begins from a position of explicit consent, it is very clear that there are exceptions to this, especially when it is in the best interests of the public or where it is clear that a claimant with complex needs, for example, faces clear and significant risks to their welfare or safety

Emma is imminently off on holiday but plans to look at pushing it forward on her return - is interested to receive any thoughts or feedback on the letter.

     

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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Strange how they’re so hot on client security as far as explicit consent is concerned, yet seem wholly unbothered by evidence of fraudulent claims being made at the same time…

     
Andrew Dutton
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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 11 June 2019 09:02 AM

Strange how they’re so hot on client security as far as explicit consent is concerned, yet seem wholly unbothered by evidence of fraudulent claims being made at the same time…

ABSOLUTELY.