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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Universal credit administration  →  Thread

UC and “lawful and explicit consent” - has the script changed, or did I just have an officious agent?

JPCHC
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Cardinal Hume Centre - Welfare Rights

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I’ve just spoken to the Contact Centre and my client was told she’d have to answer 4 questions to establish ‘lawful and explicit consent’.  My client was able to explain ‘our relationship’ but not my ‘job title’ which led to further grilling, and numerous questions about whether she’d rather they just speak to her.  I hope this isn’t the new script!

Andrew Dutton
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Welfare rights service - Derbyshire County Council

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I think they hold a competition to create the most obstructive form of words possible. Other members of UC office staff are in the background, stifling laughter.  The top prize is a Thank-You card from a Senior Owner.

Jo_Smith
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Citizens Advice Hillingdon

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Every blooming time I call the UC helpline, they have a different script. Today it was just a crowning glory: “why client client needs help from CAB”- call handler would not move on without my vulnerable client having to tearfully explain why she needs help. Language barrier was not good enough. Finally the interpreter mercifully cobbled something up from incoherent client. The call handler then required explicit consent for every single issue we called about: reporting housing costs, claimant comm and RTI error. Utterly ridiculous. On top of it, we were disconnected twice, because this is now a standard when interpreter comes on the line- the line drops. Its getting so hard to protect clients from this ritual humiliation. I am in a wrong job, honestly. I think I want to be a vigilante.

Does anyone know if there has been a consent-script related FOI? Can we see what the call handlers are required to ask?

Daphne
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rightsnet writer / editor

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I’ll make some enquiries via the stakeholder inbox…

Dan Manville
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Greater Manchester Law Centre

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Andrew Dutton - 03 October 2023 01:00 PM

I think they hold a competition to create the most obstructive form of words possible.

I’ll see your “lawful and explicit consent” and raise you “we never speak to third parties”

BHCAC
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Welfare Benefits Caseworker- Bosnia and Herzegovinia Community Advice Centre

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There is no consistency at all. On occasion they have disclosed info without client’s consent to myself- which is worrying, at other times they really grill the client- who am I? what specifically can the talk to me about? Why can’t they manage the claim themselves etc etc,  The DWP must provide the call centre contractor ( Think it is Capita or Serco, can not remember)  the Service Level Agreement of how to deal with third parties but they seem to ignore it most of the time.

Jo_Smith
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Citizens Advice Hillingdon

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I have received a response to my client’s complaint about a call handler who demanded to know why client needs help from CAB.
Apparently this is “in line with our Explicit Consent Guidance” - see attached part of the letter.

The fact that the bullet points listed there do not include having to explain why client needs help- we now know that there is some sort of guidance given to call handlers.

Daphne, any luck with your enquiries?

I can’t believe we still have to guess and fumble around this issue…

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Daphne
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Still waiting for a response at the moment… will post here when I hear anything

Jane99
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Benefits and employment advisers team, Parkinsons UK

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Jo - I’m assuming you are complaining further?

This is an ongoing issue and - just to add to the issues already raised we have been told that we can’t add the client onto a call to give explicit consent, and that although explicit consent may be on the journal the enquiry cannot be looked at unless we also answer the security questions, some pf which as advisers we should not know the answers to .... and when that is pointed out, told to call again as the system may generate answerable questions next time.