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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Decision making and appeals  →  Thread

DWP failure to provide appeal papers

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Dan Manville
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Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 26 March 2019 01:27 PM

We’ve just received a couple of Direction notices for two UC appeals lodged nearly 4 months ago.

Both tortuous affairs, one of which we had to bypass the official MR (that was even after exhausting the DWP complaints process and a promise there would be a MR decision and nothing etc etc, ).

The Judge has directed the DWP to produce something within 7 days of the date of the notice for each of the appeals.

If nothing is received from the DWP, Judge said ‘a complaint will be made to the Director General of the Universal Credit programme’.

It’s been something akin to getting blood out of a stone trying to gets subs for UC appeals here.
i’m not surprised the Judiciary are getting to the point they’re thinking about complaining themselves although it’s a rather damning indictment that it’s got this far.

 

Dan Manville
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Mike Hughes - 26 March 2019 11:14 AM
Dan Manville - 26 March 2019 09:54 AM
Mike Hughes - 20 March 2019 04:49 PM

I’ve had a few of these. The issue possibly doesn’t sit where you think it might. HMCTS have been receiving DWP submissions and not linking them to appeals. DWP get directions asking them to produce something they have produced and sent to HMCTS so they understandably if irritatingly do nothing.

Are you sure?

It’s DWP’s job to issue the response to us as reps as well as to HMCTS; I’ve had a few subs arrive -from DWP- months after the 28 day deadline expired.

In practice I have never ended up at a hearing with no submission from DWP however one of our local POs told me that it has happened.

HMCTS has recently delegated the issuing of directions to caseworkers; it’s much quicker to happen now.

Just checked back. 3 cases. In all 3 I sought directions following the apparent failure of DWP to produce anything. Nothing happened. Neither me nor the appellants received anything subsequent to the directions. All 3 were listed and in 2 of the 3 a PO turned up and was surprised to see that neither the panel nor ourselves had any papers as they did. Some frantic calls were then made back to HMCTS and it transpired that DWP had sent copies to HMCTS but no other party. Someone had it in their head it was on HMCTS to distribute when, as you say, it patently isn’t on HMCTS at all at the outset.

The sets sent to HMCTS were never linked to the appeal reference and so DWP assumed everyone had a copy because they believed it was up to HMCTS whilst HMCTS assumed they’d had nothing. 3 different first tier judges not best pleased.

Subsequent discussion with a PO outside a different tribunal from the above 3 asserted that it’s been a periodic issue and keeps rearing its head.

we’re definitely getting cases where PIP don’t issue the sub for months. we get directions from CTS after 4 weeks thretening to list the appeal if the sub isn’t provided. I’ve not had one listed yet but said PO told me cases have been heard where the response hasn’t been received by the Tribunal and he’s pieced it together from the available file.

2 different errors… quelle surprise!

Mike Hughes
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I agree Dan. We’re now in a position where you see an issue; spend time to find a solution (or indeed figure out what the problem is) and you think you have an answer. Then you discover that other people have the same issue. You think you have common ground and may have identified something bigger which could be tackled but no. It’s caused by completely different reasons. As if there wasn’t enough to be worried about.

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Dan Manville - 27 March 2019 11:55 AM
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 26 March 2019 01:27 PM

We’ve just received a couple of Direction notices for two UC appeals lodged nearly 4 months ago.

Both tortuous affairs, one of which we had to bypass the official MR (that was even after exhausting the DWP complaints process and a promise there would be a MR decision and nothing etc etc, ).

The Judge has directed the DWP to produce something within 7 days of the date of the notice for each of the appeals.

If nothing is received from the DWP, Judge said ‘a complaint will be made to the Director General of the Universal Credit programme’.

It’s been something akin to getting blood out of a stone trying to gets subs for UC appeals here.
i’m not surprised the Judiciary are getting to the point they’re thinking about complaining themselves although it’s a rather damning indictment that it’s got this far.

The appeal in which we had to bypass the MR has been lapsed in client’s favour - this was a really prosaic backdating case even within the stringent demands of UC - mental health issues (sectioned under section 2 MHA).

After client meeting Reg 26 2 (a), (b) the DWP could have taken their pick from (3) (a) or (b) or (c)

The actual lapsed appeal decision acknowledges the mayhem we hint at above - something else to share with CPAG’s EWS.

East Ayrshire
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I’ve seen an increase in UC appeals where we still await a response from the Secretary of State. 5 were lodged in December 2018 and after reminders still no response. In fact I’m going to a Tribunal this Friday with no papers. Very frustrating.

Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District
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Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 03 April 2019 01:45 PM
Dan Manville - 27 March 2019 11:55 AM
Andyp5 Citizens Advice Bridport & District - 26 March 2019 01:27 PM

We’ve just received a couple of Direction notices for two UC appeals lodged nearly 4 months ago.

Both tortuous affairs, one of which we had to bypass the official MR (that was even after exhausting the DWP complaints process and a promise there would be a MR decision and nothing etc etc, ).

The Judge has directed the DWP to produce something within 7 days of the date of the notice for each of the appeals.

If nothing is received from the DWP, Judge said ‘a complaint will be made to the Director General of the Universal Credit programme’.

It’s been something akin to getting blood out of a stone trying to gets subs for UC appeals here.
i’m not surprised the Judiciary are getting to the point they’re thinking about complaining themselves although it’s a rather damning indictment that it’s got this far.

The appeal in which we had to bypass the MR has been lapsed in client’s favour - this was a really prosaic backdating case even within the stringent demands of UC - mental health issues (sectioned under section 2 MHA).

After client meeting Reg 26 2 (a), (b) the DWP could have taken their pick from (3) (a) or (b) or (c)

The actual lapsed appeal decision acknowledges the mayhem we hint at above - something else to share with CPAG’s EWS.

Now the second appeal ‘date of claim’  i.e. we were arguing from the date of telephone call to UC to make UC claim by phone 15/03/2018 and DWP were arguing 04/05/2018 when the jobcentre submitted claim to UC lapsed in client’s favour, claim treated from 15/03/2018.

The gap between the above dates can best be described as UC.

We had to bypass MR as DWP would not provide a MR decision for this appeal too.

Again the customer experience journey i.e. to and fro through the complaints resolution chain, then in this 2nd appeal the Secretary of State who passed case to the Regional Director for the South West. Oh and very nearly Neil Couling too as for the other client’s appeal.

Again another ostensibly prosaic case and etc etc shared with CPAG’s EWS and thanks to our MP and the very higher up Judge for the directions.

Stating the obvious (meant for higher up’s), its not just resources the UC programme is lacking, its skills shortages too at every level.

At each stage we on behalf of client’s or client’s themselves have been told you can’t or you have to do this or this happened etc etc.

The actual two decision letters lapsing the above appeals are refreshingly lucid and honest i.e. facts and reasoning (has not always been the case with both client’s cases).

 


 

Elliot Kent
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A tale of two cities.

Just got an appeal bundle for an ESA appeal lodged online 19.03.19.

Meanwhile a response for a UC RTR appeal lodged on 28.12.18 remains outstanding.

a_van_boost
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I’m glad someone has brought this up as an issue that has started arising -

we have had ESA/PIP cases over the past year where no bundle was received or took an excruciating amount of time to arrive. I had one ESA appeal for LCWRA where it never arrived and the hearing went ahead. attending hearing with client at FTT and they didn’t even send a PO to explain the situation - it worked in our favour for sure in that case but doubt it would always be so handy.

John-Paul
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This is still a problem in our Area (Angus).

I now have two hearing dates in August where we have received absolutely no correspondence/papers from the DWP. The Tribunal Service in Glasgow have sent Directions Notices requesting a response and compelling that a PO attend the hearing.

Has anyone gone through with a hearing in these circumstances? If so what was the outcome?

What i find interesting is that at no stage in these cases has the Secretary of State opposed the appeal, as absolutely no correspondence has been received since the lodging of the SSCS1. Surely a hearing going ahead as “normal” in these circumstances places the appellant at a disadvantage as we have no appeal papers, therefore no sight of the decision making process, medical reports etc.

My first hearing of this type is in three weeks time, this chap was on UC LCWRA (from ESA SG), was then reassessed into LCW without a medical or even a UC50. As we have no papers we have absolutely no idea how this has happened.

Mike Hughes
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Seems to me we have a perfect storm of all round incompetence. The HMCTS move to service centres has been handled as badly as one has come to expect so stuff is not being handled as per all of the above. Then we have the thorny issue of UC appeals.

Had an interesting conversation yesterday which suggested that with UC appeals there is something of a “discussion” going on as to how DWP are supposed to produce appeal papers in cases where the documentation is largely screen shots which may have long since gone.

Sigh.

John-Paul
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Mike Hughes - 23 July 2019 10:37 AM

Seems to me we have a perfect storm of all round incompetence. The HMCTS move to service centres has been handled as badly as one has come to expect so stuff is not being handled as per all of the above. Then we have the thorny issue of UC appeals.

Had an interesting conversation yesterday which suggested that with UC appeals there is something of a “discussion” going on as to how DWP are supposed to produce appeal papers in cases where the documentation is largely screen shots which may have long since gone.

Sigh.

It’s an omni-shambles. The very few occasions I have received appeal papers for UC WCA cases they have been scant. There is very little explanation given as to why descriptors have been refused (at least with PIP you get a PA4, even if the assessment tends to have been utterly hopeless).

 

Paus17
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We are seeing an increase in late or no appeal papers. The tribunal and HMCTS seem to be getting on the case more and we have a PIP hearing next week in which there are no papers and the PO has been ordered to attend. Ironically, this hearing is much sooner than we would have got if the papers had been produced.

We’ve also had an ESA case where the DTJ upped the pressure on DWP by threatening to issue a witness summons to the manager of the DWP office concerned. That produced the papers a bit sharpish!

CHAC Adviser
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John-Paul - 23 July 2019 10:24 AM

I now have two hearing dates in August where we have received absolutely no correspondence/papers from the DWP. The Tribunal Service in Glasgow have sent Directions Notices requesting a response and compelling that a PO attend the hearing.

Has anyone gone through with a hearing in these circumstances? If so what was the outcome?

It’s not happened to me yet(!) but if it did I would be minded to request the Tribunal bar the DWP from taking further part in the proceedings under rule 8 (striking out appeals). It seems a slam dunk to me in that regard. The DWP have failed to comply with directions, they’ve failed to comply with rule 24 (responses) and they’ve made a mockery of rule 2 (overriding objective and duty to cooperate). I’d then ask that the Tribunal decide the issue summarily in the appellants favour (again as per rule 8) on the basis of the evidence of the appellant and/or your submission.

 

Mike Hughes
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That definitely appeals 😊

Paus17
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CHAC Adviser - 25 July 2019 08:28 AM
John-Paul - 23 July 2019 10:24 AM

I now have two hearing dates in August where we have received absolutely no correspondence/papers from the DWP. The Tribunal Service in Glasgow have sent Directions Notices requesting a response and compelling that a PO attend the hearing.

Has anyone gone through with a hearing in these circumstances? If so what was the outcome?

It’s not happened to me yet(!) but if it did I would be minded to request the Tribunal bar the DWP from taking further part in the proceedings under rule 8 (striking out appeals). It seems a slam dunk to me in that regard. The DWP have failed to comply with directions, they’ve failed to comply with rule 24 (responses) and they’ve made a mockery of rule 2 (overriding objective and duty to cooperate). I’d then ask that the Tribunal decide the issue summarily in the appellants favour (again as per rule 8) on the basis of the evidence of the appellant and/or your submission.

I’d be interested to know if anyone has used this rule successfully. I suspect what is likely to happen is that the tribunal will list the case for hearing and if the DWP do not produce the papers they will go ahead and decide the case on the merits on the basis of whatever they have, which will be whatever the appellant produces and says, plus the MRN. (If the appeal was lodged on paper. If it was lodged online they won’t even have the MRN.) They won’t need to use rule 8 and may well avoid using it to prevent DWP having a right of appeal against decision to invoke the rule. That approach would also be more in line with the tribunal’s inquisitorial role.