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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  Decision making and appeals  →  Thread

DWP make challenging a decision a three stage process!

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Jon (CHDCA)
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Has anyone found a special trick to get a “representative” in the loop of a recon request?

I am finding that MRNs are being sent to clients weeks or months later [and not copied to us, despite requests to do so], and we are missing appeal time limits.

Or in one case, we advised a client to ask for a DLA reconsideration, on a technical legal point rather than anything within the client’s particular sphere of knowledge. The written request was drafted from the client, with my address and phone number and a request that I be notified of the outcome. DLA failed to respond our chase up requests on this for 5 months, before they rang the client and convinced her she was going to lose to and so should withdraw (or not proceed??) with the recon request. At no stage did DWP acknowledge our involvement.

[edit for clarity]

[ Edited: 17 Dec 2014 at 07:11 pm by Jon (CHDCA) ]
Peter Turville
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I have now received a response to my response to the DWP response (!) - see post 39 - as a FOI.

I note they haven’t referrenced the procedural guidance quoted on page 2!

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Daphne
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Update from operational stakeholders - letter from graham dumbell who has recently taken over responsibility for disputes resolution -

Our Operational Stakeholders Team have been in touch with me regarding concerns expressed about the circumstances surrounding the verbal explanation process as a precursor to a Mandatory Reconsideration request.  I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that we are currently undertaking an urgent review into the verbal explanation process and I will be in contact with you all once the review has been completed.

watch this space…

Daphne
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update from operational stakeholders meeting today…

after a very defensive start to this DWP are now carrying out and end-to-end review of the whole MR process and there is acknowledgement that not all the phone calls may be needed - we have highlighted that it is the call post decision and pre MR that is particularly problematic - this is the one that has just been taken out of the PIP process - http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/news/story/phone-call-to-explain-pip-decision-will-no-longer-take-place1

we asked about stats comparing the old recon process with MR - numbers reconsidered, going on to appeal etc. Unfortunately it’s difficult to get comparison stats as there aren’t any reliable stats on the old reconsideration process

Daphne
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Stats published today seem to indicate that there most definitely is a three stage process…

http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/over-half-a-million-sanctions-applied-to-employment-and-support-allowance-c

I have highlighted this to operational stakeholders who we are still waiting to come back to us with a definitive response despite having sent in a range of examples from different sources.

Neil Bateman has now threatened them with a formal complaint to the Work and Pensions Committee if we don’t receive an adequate response by the end of the week.

[ Edited: 18 Feb 2015 at 04:19 pm by Daphne ]
Ken Butler
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Is it possible that those sactions decisions that were the subject of a ‘review’ were those made prior to the introduction of mandatory reconsideration?

So that stats wise at least there is only a two stage process - revision (review) and appeal or madatory reconsideration and appeal.

Paul_Treloar_CPAG
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Ken Butler - 18 February 2015 04:13 PM

Is it possible that those sactions decisions that were the subject of a ‘review’ were those made prior to the introduction of mandatory reconsideration?

So that stats wise at least there is only a two stage process - revision (review) and appeal or madatory reconsideration and appeal.

That may account for some, but we’ve got a case whereby a revision request had decision letter dated 22.01.15 refusing to revise and instructing client that they now needed to send in MR request. So somethings clearly not working as it should still.

Daphne
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Also the previous set of stats didn’t have a three stage process - just two??

http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/more-than-four-fold-increase-in-number-of-esa-sanctions-applied-in-june-201

And whether before or after MR came in there should have been just one revision before appeal

Ken Butler
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Hi,

The previous figures carried this footnote rider -

“For decisions made after 28 Oct 2013, a mandatory reconsideration must take place before an Appeal.  Information on Mandatory Reconsiderations are not available within these statistics, but the effect is estimated to be negligible.”

I think that the reason why the latest figures show a breakdown of review, mandatory reconsideration and appeal is that the mandatory reconsideration figures are only now available. This would mean figures relatiing to reviews relate to pre October 203 decisions.

Having said that, just because the stats don’t show a three stage process doesent mean that in practical terms there isn’t one . 
 

Daphne
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Yes - good point Ken.

Though if that is the case it brings up some interesting points - MR is way less successful than review for JSA sanctions - 53% for reviews and 35% for MRs.

Though more successful for ESA - 46% for review and 68% for MR.

Peter Turville
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Which takes us back to my original post! see also 39 & 48 above - I have yet to receive a response to my sebsequent request for DWP to referrence the guidance they quoted!

It remains clear that in some instances DWP are applying a preliminary revision stage before conducting a MR. As they issued a decision notice at that 1st stage I would assume they are recorded as a decision of some description an therefore are counted somewhere within the stats (along with pre-intro of MR revisions?).

Still being advised by juniorish level staff that when a MR application is made ‘the original decision maker is given the oportunity to look at the decision again before it is sent to the dispute resolution team’ sometimes qualified by ‘if additional evidence is submitted’.

Still doesn’t explain why when an application headed APPLICATION FOR MANDATORY REVISION is considered as above:
(a) DWP issue a decision notice but do not consider it to be a decision following application for a MR and therefore a MR is then required.
(b) what is the legislative basis for such a decision and why, despite repeated requests, they are unable to identify it.

But hey ho just another example of how ‘simplification’ provides for a reduced clarity of interpretaion and delivery and therefore affords DWP staff an increasing latitude to make it up as they go along to fill the uncertainty / lack of understanding / training etc etc. gap [Friday rant].
.

[ Edited: 20 Feb 2015 at 02:02 pm by Peter Turville ]
1964
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You rant away Peter.

I came across an example of ‘Extra Layer Syndrome’ again only the other day (I had almost convinced myself they had stopped doing it). Client attended WCA and was subsequently placed in WRAG. She wrote to DWP to the effect that she felt she should have been placed in SG (and provided adequate reasons for why she believed this to be the case). DWP response was that they were unable to revise the decision because the ATOS assessor had placed her in the WRAG and that ‘if she did not agree she must request a MR of the decision’....so we have. Even though she should now be at the appeal stage.

Paul_Treloar_CPAG
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Just to flag up that Martin Williams wrote this last year Mandatory reconsideration: problems and solutions in which, under the section headed “Valid appeals” he offers a possible way to challenge the Extra Layer Syndrome (great label by the way 1964).

We’re thinking of revisiting this article in April’s bulletin to flag up some of the issues and arguments that you might use where DWP are insisting on 3-stage processes, so look out for that as well.

Peter Turville
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Paul_Treloar_CPAG - 20 February 2015 02:30 PM

Just to flag up that Martin Williams wrote this last year Mandatory reconsideration: problems and solutions in which, under the section headed “Valid appeals” he offers a possible way to challenge the Extra Layer Syndrome (great label by the way 1964).

We’re thinking of revisiting this article in April’s bulletin to flag up some of the issues and arguments that you might use where DWP are insisting on 3-stage processes, so look out for that as well.

ELS? arn’t they the provider being lined up to take over assessements from Maximus when they bail out (or maybe they’re a train operating company, or both?)?

1964
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No, no, no. They were a well known 70’s band with a series of hits including ‘Mr Blue Sky’ (presumably a reference to UC). Any fool know that.