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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Decision making and appeals  →  Thread

KPI’s for mandatory reconsideration

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HB Anorak
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KPIS are normally used to monitor organisations rather than individuals. Aren’t they saying that as an organisation they aim not to have to revise on MR in 80% of cases, and if it drops below that there is something wrong in the chain of decision making?

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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In 2010, we heard evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee to the effect that approximately half of informal reconsideration requests for AA/DLA found in the claimant’s favour:

117.  The tables show that 44% of DLA reconsiderations were found in favour of the claimants in 2007-08; this figure rose to 51% in 2008-09. 55% of AA reconsiderations were found in favour of the claimant in 2007-08, rising to 60% in 2008-09. Although a majority of reconsiderations of decisions on DLA and AA found in favour of the claimant in 2008-09, 43% of DLA cases reaching an appeal hearing and 31% of AA cases reaching appeal found in favour of the claimant, indicating that reconsideration is still failing to pick up a large proportion of claims that should be awarded.

Decision making and appeals in the benefits system - Work and Pensions Committee

And even then, the committee notes that the volumes of successful appeals indicated this process was still missing decisions that should have gone in favour of the claimant.

Now we’re being asked to believe that through the simple introduction of MR 3 years later, the DWP were suddenly able to get the first decision correct is more than 80% of cases? And how do we know that? Because a DM goes back and confirms the original decision again. Please.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Oh, and well we’re at it, don’t let’s forget this recent story, again about targets and indicators which weren’t targets or indicators….

The internal DWP report – written by the senior DWP manager responsible for the regime, Neil Couling – says benefit advisers can be given disciplinary warnings that contain a reference to what level of benefit might on average be expected.

These warnings – known as personal improvement plans (PIPs) inside the DWP – “should be very clear about the consequences of an individual not fulfilling the personal responsibilities as a civil servant to administer the system in full”

DWP report accepts mistakes made on welfare sanctions by jobcentres

HB Anorak
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I agree that having that as an organisation-wide target creates a perverse incentive not to look at MRs properly, in order to make the stats look better, but I think it is intended as a quality target rather than a policy of deliberately rejecting MRs arbitrarily, even if that is an effect of it.

Mike Hughes
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Let’s put it this way. Someone needs to JR this asap. It would be foolish not to. My inclination is to side with the “discretion clearly being fettered” side of the argument and I don’t believe it’s that hard to find poor decisions or MRs which absolutely fly in the face of the evidence before the DM.

I’m also absolutely with Paul on the idea that the intent is to kill appeals. It was the declared intent as MRs were introduced. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. We have a negligible legal aid scheme; actions across the board to drive down the terms and conditions of the judiciary and step after step being introduced before the appeal stage to try and avoid the appeal stage (today’s new guidance about gathering medical evidence being but the latest example). Add in the so-called reforms of the appeal process which thus far have been clearly driven by cost rather than quality and the public challenging of judicial decisions across the board as well as the removal of powers from the judiciary to an administrative level.

The hilarious thing is that of course it is deeply culturally ingrained in DMs to rely upon HCP evidence and poor case law because it’s more than their job’s worth to do anything else so even with an 80% KPI 20% of those decisions is still enough to bring the appeals system to a halt. Very much a case of “no matter who you vote for the government always gets in”.

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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Henry Brooke, a retired judge who was formerly chair of the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund and the sole patron of the Public Law Project as well as being involved with Law For Life and Harrow Law Centre amongst others, feels quite strongly about this:

This appears to be an absolutely outrageous interference by the executive with the rule of law.

It is bad enough that applicants are compelled to go through this process, instead of merely having the opportunity to opt for it as a way of trying to avoid the cost and hassle of tribunal proceedings. But it is altogether unspeakable that DWP managers seek to incentivise those who turn these applications down – and what is more, they do not make this policy public.

It would be good if this extraordinary disclosure were to provoke uproar in the highest places.

Mandatory reconsiderations and the rule of law

Peter Turville
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Which ever way the KPI is interpreted / spun by DWP one would hope it would now cause a political storm. Although I suppose it will be buried (at least until after the election)?

Does it mean a judge can now be requested to exercise case management powers under Rule 5 and waive the requirments of Rule 22(4)(a)(ii) to supply a MRN and thus by-pass the MR process?

The MR process is further exposed as an almost pointless process (for PIP/WCA - geddit? - Oh, please yourselves!).

ClairemHodgson
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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 16 May 2017 09:53 AM

Henry Brooke, a retired judge who was formerly chair of the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund and the sole patron of the Public Law Project as well as being involved with Law For Life and Harrow Law Centre amongst others, feels quite strongly about this:

This appears to be an absolutely outrageous interference by the executive with the rule of law.

It is bad enough that applicants are compelled to go through this process, instead of merely having the opportunity to opt for it as a way of trying to avoid the cost and hassle of tribunal proceedings. But it is altogether unspeakable that DWP managers seek to incentivise those who turn these applications down – and what is more, they do not make this policy public.

It would be good if this extraordinary disclosure were to provoke uproar in the highest places.

Mandatory reconsiderations and the rule of law

Thanks Paul; i thought we were right in our take on this…

Paul_Treloar_AgeUK
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A Disability News Service report from last year also sheds an interesting light on this FOI request.

A DWP spokesman said the department would not be scrapping the MR process.

He said: “The fact that nearly 90 per cent of decisions were not overturned last year shows that in the majority of cases decision-makers are getting it right first time.

Asked why there was such a low success rate for MRs when the success rate for ESA tribunals was consistently at 58 per cent, he said: “The majority of decisions are overturned at appeal because of the claimant’s oral evidence or new written evidence is presented at the hearing.”

First figures on ESA mandatory reconsideration ‘show it is just a delaying tactic’

What was that line about lies, damned lies and statistics…...

Phil R
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Paul_Treloar_AgeUK - 16 May 2017 09:28 AM

Oh, and well we’re at it, don’t let’s forget this recent story, again about targets and indicators which weren’t targets or indicators….

The internal DWP report – written by the senior DWP manager responsible for the regime, Neil Couling – says benefit advisers can be given disciplinary warnings that contain a reference to what level of benefit might on average be expected.

These warnings – known as personal improvement plans (PIPs) inside the DWP – “should be very clear about the consequences of an individual not fulfilling the personal responsibilities as a civil servant to administer the system in full”

DWP report accepts mistakes made on welfare sanctions by jobcentres

Whilst working as a personal advisor in a Manchester jobentre, I was constantly reprimanded for not reaching the departments “expectation” that 4% of claimants would not be fulfilling their commitments. This was a year or two before PIP’s really hit the big time. From 2013 onwards, not only were individuals put on PIP’s for not sanctioning enough claimants, but entire jobcentre’s were as well. As far as I know, they still are.

shawn mach
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The DWP’s press office has contacted DRUK to say that its KPI of 80% mandatory reconsideration refusals does not include PIP

More: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2017/may/dwp-says-it-has-no-pip-reconsideration-refusal-target

past caring
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Quick straw poll - please give an approximate (or exact if you know it) number of PIP refusals you have had awarded at MR stage. I’ll kick us off;

past caring - 0 (exact)

Ken Butler
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We highlighted the KPI MR issue yesterday -
https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2017/may/dwp-has-80-targets-refusing-benefit-reconsiderations

We were telephoned today by the DWP press unit to say that PIP MRs are not included in the KPI target.

See our news story-
https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2017/may/dwp-says-it-has-no-pip-reconsideration-refusal-target

But it couldn’t say at present why or say what other benefits may be excluded.

In practical terms, as we highlight, the level of PIP MR refusals is actually higher than the KPI target –

“The latest DWP statistics show that despite no KPI target, the level of accepted PIP mandatory reconsiderations is very low.

By the end of January 2017, 85% of new claims reconsiderations and 79% of reassessed DLA reconsiderations for normal rules resulted in no change to the PIP award.

The KPI for mandatory reconsiderations other than PIP is 80% refusals.”

ClairemHodgson
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shawn - 16 May 2017 03:18 PM

The DWP’s press office has contacted DRUK to say that its KPI of 80% mandatory reconsideration refusals does not include PIP

More: https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2017/may/dwp-says-it-has-no-pip-reconsideration-refusal-target

yeah right

and if it doesn’t it still means they’ve fettered discretion in other cases…

Mike Hughes
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past caring - 16 May 2017 03:25 PM

Quick straw poll - please give an approximate (or exact if you know it) number of PIP refusals you have had awarded at MR stage. I’ll kick us off;

past caring - 0 (exact)

Yeah, funnily enough, that exact figure.