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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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Andrew Dutton
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Welfare rights service - Derbyshire County Council

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I have just received a communication from DWP telling me that a written MR request (made 6 months ago, no reply) was treated as a ‘review’ and the decision was not changed ‘at review stage’.

I have asked for an MRN - the reply : ‘A review was made of the decision not a MR – so no MRN was produced’

 

 

tbidmead
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WRAMAS - Bristol City Council

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copy of Gatekeeper Memo 03.15.38 (supplied under FOI) attached

File Attachments

Mike Hughes
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Senior welfare rights officer - Salford City Council Welfare Rights Service

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Would like to submit this to GMWRAG site for posting. Is there any issue with that?

tbidmead
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“The Freedom of Information Act does not place restrictions on how the information supplied under it may be used” apparently… If anyone knows better - feel free to correct me!

Mike Hughes
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Thanks. I probably wasn’t clear enough there. I knew there was no FOI issue. Just wanted to make sure no offence or issue was caused to you personally if I were to snatch it and ask that it was posted elsewhere.

Dan_Manville
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Mental health & welfare rights service - Wolverhampton City Council

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If I never hear the word “explanation” again it will be too soon… Are you still accepting statements for DWP stakeholders? Someone has just trotted out that all too familiar line and refused to accept an MR request

eit; now I have just had a client with pretty hardcore PTSD in tears on the phone after the (ahem) “explanation” left him feeling pressured not to pursue the MR. DPA request is off for a copy of the recording.

edit again, both Bridgend and Gravesend call warehouses seem convinced that an explanation is still a prerequisite.

I am vexed!

[ Edited: 18 Aug 2015 at 05:00 pm by Dan_Manville ]
Daphne
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Yes Dan - email me all the stuff and I will pass it on to stakeholders

Jon (CHDCA)
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Welfare benefits - Craven CAB, North Yorkshire

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Pension Credit case:

February:
- benefit suspended

July:
- We request an explanation or a decision, which crosses with the actual decision being issued.
- Explanation received
- We request a Mandatory Reconsideration (in bold, citing reasons and caselaw)

October:
- pension service supply an “entitlement explanation” saying “government legislation requires the benefit paying office attempt to contact the customer/representative to give a verbal explanation of the overpayment. If telephone contact cannot be made, an explanation letter for the decision has to be issued to the customer/representative.”

They then give essentially the same explanation that we received in July, and invite us to request a mandatory reconsideration…

Dan_Manville
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Dan Manville - 18 August 2015 02:47 PM

If I never hear the word “explanation” again it will be too soon… Are you still accepting statements for DWP stakeholders? Someone has just trotted out that all too familiar line and refused to accept an MR request

eit; now I have just had a client with pretty hardcore PTSD in tears on the phone after the (ahem) “explanation” left him feeling pressured not to pursue the MR. DPA request is off for a copy of the recording.

edit again, both Bridgend and Gravesend call warehouses seem convinced that an explanation is still a prerequisite.

I am vexed!

Further to this; I was advised that JCP have two phone systems, one is recorded and one isn’t. How convenient!

Jon (CHDCA)
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Welfare benefits - Craven CAB, North Yorkshire

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I don’t know if it’s still worth going on about this, but I have noticed that the standard Claimant Commitment, (reproduced here), under ‘My rights’, states:

I know if there is a disagreement about my Claimant Commitment, I can ask for this to be reviewed. I also know that if there is any dispute about my benefit, my case may be sent to a decision maker, which could result in the loss of my Jobseeker’s Allowance and / or National Insurance Credits. If this happens I will be told. If I am not satisfied with the decision I can ask for it to be explained or reconsidered. If I am still unhappy with the outcome I know I have the right to appeal.

Am I reading too much into it, or is this a 3 step process? To summarise the above process:

1. start any “dispute” about your benefit entitlement
2. the case is referred to a DM (which will apparently incur the risk of them stopping your benefit, so be careful!)
3. DM makes a decision
4. ask for an explanation or reconsideration. Presumably you then receive an MRN.
5. if still unhappy, appeal

Why is step 4 necessary, when you’ve already done step 1, and received the DM’s decision on your dispute?

 

1964
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Nope- I read it exactly the same way as you do. And isn’t the implied threat (if you dispute any of our decisions we’ll make life even harder for you) utterly reprehensible?

Rosie W
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Welfare rights service - Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust

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Pension Service again - from a letter received today:

“On X behalf you disagreed with the decision and on 1 March 2016 you were given a verbal explanation for the decision. Following the explanation, you still disagreed with the decision and requested a Mandatory Reconsideration.”

My actual request for reconsideration was sent by letter on 18 February and headed in bold, 14 point font “Request for mandatory reconsideration of your decision dated xxxx”

Part of my file note from the 1 March - “I said if he was ringing to say they were not going to change the decision they need to get the MRN out asap so we can appeal it. He then embarked on what promised to be a lengthy speech about explanations and phone calls. Cut him off and advised that as far as the law is concerned we have requested an any grounds revision and the only thing they are required to do is look at the decision again and issue a written decision in the form of an MRN”

To make things even more ridiculous, this is a case potentially involving the EU coordination rules which were referenced in the MR request and at one point in the conversation on 1 March the man from the Pension Service EU Team said “To be honest, we’ve never really come across this before”.

Peter Turville
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Welfare rights worker - Oxford Community Work Agency

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And now UC are at it too!

Application for MR (clearly headed application for MR) made.

Written response received today - “we are writing to tell you that we have considered your circumstances (sic) but have decided that we cannot make this change”

Under the heading ‘What if I disagree with this decision’ the letter advises the client they can ask for an explanation and to reconsider the decision.

Mr Finch
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Benefits adviser - Isle of Wight CAB

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I’ve got another one.

Client requested a reconsideration. A response was received acknowledging ‘your recent request for a reconsideration’, informing her that as she has not supplied any new evidence, the decision cannot be changed. It then invites her to request an explanation, following which she can request a mandatory reconsideration, following which she can appeal – a four stage process in total.

Elliot Kent
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Mr Finch - 27 April 2016 11:55 AM

Client requested a reconsideration. A response was received acknowledging ‘your recent request for a reconsideration’, informing her that as she has not supplied any new evidence, the decision cannot be changed.

I would be inclined to treat that as an MR and file an appeal straight away.