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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Disability benefits  →  Thread

ESA and PIP Email Addresses

Bcfu
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Blackpool Centre For Unemployed

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Hi

Apologies if this has already been covered by another thread!

I have a client who has sent me his complete medical records totaling 107 pages which needs to be sent to both ESA and PIP. My questions are:

1). Does anyone have an email address for both PIP and ESA?

2). Will the DWP accept evidence to be sent via email?

Thanks

Adam

NAI
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Unclaimed Benefits Campaign, Middlesbrough CAB

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I would be concerned about sending such sensitive information by email unless it is encrypted.  See https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/encryption/encryption-scenarios/#3

CHAC Adviser
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Caseworker - CHAC, Middlesbrough

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DWP, to my knowledge, don’t believe in email as being a thing which anyone should use to contact them about anything. Certainly I’ve never spotted a way of emailing them despite it offering a much more efficient way of communicating with them (which I guess is why they don’t offer it) at least for some matters at any rate.

Va1der
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While I share NAIs concerns, I don’t think normal post offers any real improvement in security, and for most purposes (primary exception being internal transfers) encryption is impractical.

Fundamentally, the best/most practical form of security when sending sensitive emails is to confirm the recipients address via a reply from them (ideally with a passphrase) before sending the information.
When sending info to clients, I normally just ask them via phone to email me first, and I’ll respond with the info. On a practical level I also encourage them to keep strong passwords, not share accounts etc.

Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any DWP email address that would allow this form of communication. A practical solution might be to go via your local partnership manager, and have them forward the info - though that involves additional cogs, which is hardly ever a good thing. I would certainly discuss the approach with the client before taking any action.

Elliot Kent
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Va1der - 08 June 2021 01:08 PM

While I share NAIs concerns, I don’t think normal post offers any real improvement in security

It depends whether your interests lie in adopting a method of communication which is actually secure or adopting a method of communication which has the appearance of being secure so that you don’t get fined by the ICO.

NAI
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Unclaimed Benefits Campaign, Middlesbrough CAB

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Elliot Kent - 08 June 2021 01:35 PM
Va1der - 08 June 2021 01:08 PM

While I share NAIs concerns, I don’t think normal post offers any real improvement in security

It depends whether your interests lie in adopting a method of communication which is actually secure or adopting a method of communication which has the appearance of being secure so that you don’t get fined by the ICO.

That’s it :-)

Va1der
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Not sure I’m onboard with that one. The regs (GDPR etc) are straightforward enough in their focus on penalising ignorance, neglect and idiocy. I have yet to see a case where an organisation has been fined where there was a clear and logical path of action that had the interests of the data subject at heart.

One of the fundamental issues that keep standing in the way of greater cooperation both within the advice sector and with other sectors such as health, councils etc. is reluctance to share information in a safe and effective manner. In my experience this is because of a lack of understanding and irrational fear of GDPR.

One of the sad outcomes is that sometimes we do receive vital information, sent with the best of intentions, but via background channels that are completely unfit for purpose and that put individual advisers and support workers’ jobs at risk.

But yes, the simple solution is probably just to post it 😊

Mike Hughes
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Whilst I can reference many instances of HMCTS confusing Stockport and Salford or similar and posting appeal papers to the wrong appellant or including details of the wrong medical reports etc.  I am struggling to remember all those cases where data was lost via email. Indeed HMCTS have hassled me in the past week about post they allege they posted which was returned to them as not known. So, Royal Mail? It’s not all that.

Bigger concern right now is that you don’t send the medical records without reading through every last bit of them and ensuring there are no issues which cannot legally be disclosed etc. There was the one very famous case on this and I wouldn’t want to see a second one. I’m sure someone else can post the link.

Elliot Kent
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It’s this one:
https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/caselaw/item/responsibilities-of-representatives-when-providing-evidence-to-first-tier-t

I remember it well as I had a similar case whilst GP records were still being supplied by the surgery to HMCTS directly and the surgery had accidently sent some highly sensitive and confidential material to HMCTS which was then dutifully circulated. Much panicked running around ensued but fortunately it was possible to put the cat back in the bag in that instance.

Mike Hughes
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That’s the one. Thanks Elliot.