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Light touch WRA and Reg 35 appeals

 

Billy Durrant
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The Brunswick Centre, Kirklees & Calderdale

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There have been a few threads about this but I can’t find the particular one that i was thinking of. Post IM the types of WRA listed locally always involved attending Jbc or WPP premises. A few months ago that changed to things like ‘get up and dressed by a certain time each day and keep a chart to log progress.’ For me, these appeals are now coming round to being heard.

I was wondering how other people are getting on with these appeals?

My first one was lost. I’m awaiting the SOR but clearly my arguments were rejected. These were basically:

-what the DWP describes as WRA is not in fact genuine WRA as defined by the Welf Ref Act; it does not make it more likely that someone will get a job in future if they write down what time they get up
- there is no consequence of not doing the WRA because the Jbc never actually asks anyone to do these things and therefore never checks whether they have done them or not
-DWP cannot compel people to do things like continue to attend drug and alcohol services as part of their WRA because they do not fund these services, can’t guarantee they will remain open,  have no say on whether they allow client to attend, are confidential so will not report back to Jbc on whether or not client attended, etc.
-The type of WRA being quoted basically makes Reg 35 obsolete (which may be DWP policy but is not parliamentary intention)

     
Sally63
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Generalist Adviser, Southwark Citizens Advice Bureau

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So it was like support group but with no extra money?

     
NeverSayNo
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Northumbria Healthcare, Welfare Rights Dept.

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I have had one at tribunal earlier this year - a man who had developed a learning disability since early years, who had had one job with massive support until the money ran out, and who was put in to WRAG from previous Support Group. His WRA was making a chart on what time he got up - despite evidence from the ESA85 that he couldn’t tell the time, couldn’t write, etc.

It had to be taken to tribunal I think because a) “he could use a computer” (he couldn’t - he had words typed in to Google and could print out the images to put in a sticker book) and b) “he worked” (he didnt - he attends a day service for other LD clients). He never said a word at tribunal & the judge seemed non-plussed with my argument that he could not do the WRA asked of him and it was bringing him no closer to the work place even if he was supported to do it. And the judge had no clue what the day service was, despite it being plastered all over the appeal papers, he didn’t think it necessary or even professional of him to check it out beforehand. Bet you if there was evidence my client was on Facebook we would have known about it on the day…....

The judge grilled the care manager about the day service, until the doctor (who knew of it) intervened, asked for an adjournment and obviously instructed the judge as to why people attend this particular day service. SG awarded.

My impression from all of this was that at Maximum/CHAD level, at DWP level and even judicial level doing even the most basic of activities is enough to satisfy WRA - despite this not doing a jot to get someone back to the work place. The DWP obviously, but some judges also, seem very reluctant to look at the quality and effectiveness of WRA, or they simply accept WRA that can only be carried out with the support of carers (paid for or from families) is perfectly acceptable.