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Where have all the appeals gone? - Chamber President’s detailed analysis

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Peter Turville
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In an article in the Judicial Information Bulletin - issue 67 April 2014 entitled “Dark Matter - Robert Martin, Chamber President, delves into an erratic workload”

He provides a detailed commentary on the decline in the number of appeals since mid 2013 and DWP estimates for future appeals across the main benefits. It makes for very interesting reading.

I cannot find a link to Judicial Information Bulletin on the MOJ website and have not attached the article in case there are any copy-right issues?? I don’t want that knock on the door at midnight!

Inverclyde HSCP Advice Services
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Come on - you can tell us what they said in your own words without breach of copyright;

That’s reporting -which if it isn’t allowed would be a major problem for all news agencies who now get their news stories from Twitter (please note other Social Media sites also exist - aww now I’m getting all BBC - look what you’ve started!)

Otherwise it’s a bit of a tease!

This may help:

http://www.copyrightservice.co.uk/ukcs/docs/edupack.pdf

stefrisk
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I am struggling to find this article - can’t find it on the MOJ section of gov uk. Can’t find the bulletins online at all. Where should I be looking? Would you consider emailing a link?

HB Anorak
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“Dark Matter - Robert Martin, Chamber President, delves into an erratic workload” is a googlewhack!  The solitary search result is this thread!

Mike Hughes
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HB Anorak - 27 May 2014 11:21 AM

“Dark Matter - Robert Martin, Chamber President, delves into an erratic workload” is a googlewhack!  The solitary search result is this thread!

And this is how appeal rights are denied :)

Clearly the conspiracy theorist in me wants desperately to believe that this has been pulled because no-one wants the truth to out.

Tbh I doubt it says anything not already in our other thread on this.

Apologies, my editing on this post just went very wrong. Was trying to post up the link to the Senior Presidents Report in which Robert Martins contribution makes no reference to the current state of play as we know it at all. For some reason it wouldn’t let me post the link and I then managed to delete my original post in a fit of incompetence. I am working from home at present so that may explain it.

Anyway, I hope this works…

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/JCO/Documents/Tribunals/SPT+Annual+Report_2014.pdf

 

 

[ Edited: 27 May 2014 at 04:05 pm by Mike Hughes ]
Dan_Manville
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As it is MOJ it will be protected by Crown Copyright which usually allows reproduction so long as it is complete and unamended.

Go on Peter you know we’re itching to see it.

paulmoorhouse
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Or has the the Judicial Information Bulletin become dark matter in its own right?

Mike Hughes
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It’s a fascinating concept isn’t it? An “erratic” workload. Surely the workload nothing erratic about it at all. Sunk like a stone would be a better description.

This would be all well and good were we getting any MR decisions. However, those seem more like dark matter to me.

Peter Turville
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paulmoorhouse - 27 May 2014 01:29 PM

Or has the the Judicial Information Bulletin become dark matter in its own right?

Err…. you know that sketch when one lends something to a colleague to read and it disappears into the office equivalent of Wolverhampton post handling B?

in short appeal intake at HMCTS dropped dramatically from. July 13.  Due to (a) massive down turn in WCA appeals. (b) non-appearance of large numbers of PIP appeals (c) non-appearance of UC appeals (d) slow down in DLA appeals (e) negligible increase in sanction appeals despite large increase in JSA sanctions (f) inevitable delay and unpredictable number of appeals following intro. of MR.

Currently there is still backlog at some venues but at others they are scratching around for enough to fill a sitting.

HMCTS recruited large number of additional judges, medical and disability members and took on additional venues just in time for the downturn so the new members are now kicking their heels.

DWP estimates of appeals for 13-14 were wildly inflated given their recent reaction to certain ‘little local difficulties’. They are not even including UC appeals in the latest estimates!

Given the suspension of repeat WCA’s, slow down in intro of PIP & UC etc a significant upturn in appeals received at HMCTS not expected until (late) 2015.

And The President does not mince his words when referring to the DWP’s estimates, possible explanations etc.

Mike Hughes
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E) and F) are the ones which interest me. I don’t believe there was anything inevitable or unpredictable about it at all.  What do people really think is going to happen when appeal forms are not available and the system becomes all about “relationships” between claimants and personal advisers or claimants and people “explaining” decisions to claimants.

Was it The Grauniad with the quite about “frustrating” people off benefit? Same principle here and it’s absolutely planned and predictable.

MNM
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Coincidently appeal numbers reducing massively in advance of election.

With the vast cost and opening significantly more new venues, training newly appointed judges, more hearings per day - numbers can only drop - I wonder where this money magically appeared from though? in time of supposed austerity. 

ATOS scandals, A4E scandals, the governments delay in rolling out UC and PIP and intro of MR’s tribunal numbers will ultimately dip. 

With termination of legal aid for welfare benefits advice and first-tier appeals reduction of appeals is inevitable.

TBH I am please at increased tribunal efficiency - sad it took so long - DLA appeals taking 104 weeks plus was ridiculous. 

However, with one positive we have an arrays of negatives
- simple PIP decisions taking 6 months is shocking
- HMRC taking forever is the norm not the exception. 
- Reduction of LA staff across the country dealing in benefit claims, enquiries and appeals
- DWP satellite offices causing unnecessary delay and admin.

Strange how all the funding cuts and changes are reducing the numbers of appeals penetrating through the system. 

As Peter notes upturn in appeals estimated 2015 - conveniently after any election. 

I am cynically awaiting the govt pre-election rhetoric on how amazing and great these past few years have been for welfare benefits

~sighs~

 

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That’s undoubtedly the official line - except that it’s about ‘getting it right first time’ and appeal numbers are down because the DWP is so much better and more helpful, taking the time to talk to claimants to explain why they aren’t entitled!

Check out this blurb for the CPAG conference in Scotland:

Social Security tribunals: their role after mandatory reconsideration
Jessica Burns, Regional Tribunal Judge, HM Courts and Tribunals Service

Tribunals are now entering a new world after significant processing changes with Dispute Resolution Centres for DWP and the increased effort to ensure that the decision makers “get it right first time” or at least before the matter proceeds to an appeal. This is having an impact not only on the volume of appeals, but also the increased sense of ownership which the DWP now has in relation to appeals which proceed to a hearing. Tribunals are now responding by rolling out summary reasons for their decisions and this may impact on the way in which Tribunals function. This workshop will look at the changing face of decision making at First-tier Tribunal level.

http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/scotland-welfare-rights-conference

Peter Turville
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The impact of MR - whether DWP are getting more decisions rights first time, if the ‘Quality assurance’ calls to claimants is convincing them decisions are correct or are putting them off requesting a MR, if DWP are giving wrong info about MR & appeal rights or claimants are giving up due to the increased complexity of the process are seen as unknowns by the Tribunal President as it’s to soon to draw any conclusions about the long term impact of MR on the number of appeals.

This is particularly so as the drop off in appeal intake started last July well in advance of MR. He certainly puts other factors like problems with Atos & WCAs much higher on the list of explanations. he also suggests, for example, that SSWP is using his powers to extend DLA without need for claimants to make renewal claims which would reduce the number of negative decisions or postpone migration to PIP ( for example for a child approaching 16 in a migration area).

HMCTS rely entirely on DWPs estimate of appeals when drafting their business plan inc. recruiting additional judges etc. So the question is why did DWP get it’s estimates so spectacularly wrong?

I think it’s fair to summarise his conclusion as ‘welfare reform has all very suddenly gone pear shaped’ writ in a most forthright judicial manner!

Now when I’ve finished the full DWP fraud officer style interview of my colleagues and one has confessed to having the article I will post it here.

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Peter Turville - 29 May 2014 12:02 PM

The impact of MR - whether DWP are getting more decisions rights first time, if the ‘Quality assurance’ calls to claimants is convincing them decisions are correct or are putting them off requesting a MR, if DWP are giving wrong info about MR & appeal rights or claimants are giving up due to the increased complexity of the process are seen as unknowns by the Tribunal President as it’s to soon to draw any conclusions about the long term impact of MR on the number of appeals.

This is particularly so as the drop off in appeal intake started last July well in advance of MR. He certainly puts other factors like problems with Atos & WCAs much higher on the list of explanations. he also suggests, for example, that SSWP is using his powers to extend DLA without need for claimants to make renewal claims which would reduce the number of negative decisions or postpone migration to PIP ( for example for a child approaching 16 in a migration area).

Has anyone told Jessica? My own pet theories are that it’s part DWP not doing what they’re supposed to (such as issuing verbal decisions without written MR notices so claimant not informed of right to appeal), part Welfare Reform ‘log-jam’ and part conspiracy ahead of next elections.

 

 

MNM
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This post is veering into the realms of the X-FILES - missing docs, lack of govt publications, conspiracy theories etc haha

Peter Turville
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Dark Matter - into the light! Attached in 2 parts.

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