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DWP fails to meet Information Commissioner deadline for possible benefit related deaths

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Owen Stevens
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It would be good to have this data placed in the context of the relevant IB(ICD) disease summary code.  These can be checked using the DWP tabulation tool.  I don’t know if there are any pending FOIs on this topic

Daphne
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Summary of stats - both response to FOI requests and other stats which cover 2003 to 2013 - now up http://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/dwp-release-statistics-on-mortality-rates-for-those-on-out-of-work-working

Paul_Treloar_CPAG
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Here’s the Grauniad take on the story Thousands have died after being found fit for work, DWP figures show

It’s also worth pointing out that these stats aren’t the subject of the previous FoI requests as such, in that the DNS one was:

A series of DNS freedom of information requests has revealed how DWP has carried out 49 secret reviews into benefit-related deaths since February 2012.

Of the 49 “peer reviews”, 33 contained recommendations for improvements in procedures at either national or local level within DWP, while 40 were carried out following the suicide or apparent suicide of a benefit claimant.

So these stats aren’t those “secret” reviews, which remain secret at this point, and which were subject to ICO instructions.

[ Edited: 27 Aug 2015 at 02:12 pm by Paul_Treloar_CPAG ]
Dan_Manville
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Owen Stevens - 27 August 2015 10:42 AM

It would be good to have this data placed in the context of the relevant IB(ICD) disease summary code.  These can be checked using the DWP tabulation tool.  I don’t know if there are any pending FOIs on this topic

I’m off this week and rather busy otherwise I could probably get that from the tab tool. Total number of WCAs and claimant count will be available to put this into context…

Anyone else minded to? It’s topped raining now so I’m back to painting!

Owen Stevens
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Yes but I can’t see why DWP wouldn’t be able to put the stats together in response to an FOI along the lines of:

“please release statistics in response to the following questions breaking down the data into columns according to IB (ICD) summary code.

1)The total number of people who have died within a year of their work
capability assessment since May 2010
2) The number of IB and ESA claimants who have died since Nov 2011.
Please break that figure down into the following categories:
a) Those that are in the assessment phase
b) Those that were found fit for work
c) Those that were placed in the work-related activity group
d) Those that were placed in the support group
e) Those who have had an appeal completed after a Fit for Work
decision”

Putting together an excel table for DWP to populate is OK.

I don’t think this is something that our service could spend the time pursuing a response to (given the time and effort to get today’s response!) but others may be able to do this.

Paul_Treloar_CPAG
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Declan Gaffney has done a quick blog with some initial thoughts on the stats.

Deaths after DWP Fit for Work decisions

Whilst he does emphasise from the outset that “this piece is very provisional”, he does go on to state at the (tentative) conclusion that “we can exclude the notion that the numbers dying so soon after being found FFW are just a reflection of the overall risk of dying over any two week period. Many more people are being found fit for work and dying very shortly afterwards than we would expect- even if the total number is relatively low.”

Dan_Manville
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Owen Stevens - 27 August 2015 03:06 PM

Yes but I can’t see why DWP wouldn’t be able to put the stats together

The information is already in the public domain, I believe that it is therefore exempt from FOI

Benny Fitzpatrick
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Obviously the 2380 deaths cannot all have occurred as a result of the WCA decisions. However, if we assume that a sizeable number died as a result of their health conditions, it raises big questions over the accuracy of the WCA process.

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Paul_Treloar_CPAG - 27 August 2015 04:34 PM

Declan Gaffney has done a quick blog with some initial thoughts on the stats.

Declan has now added that ‘it looks as if I’ve made an error of interpretation ....’

http://lartsocial.org/FFW

Owen Stevens
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Hi Dan

Sure, the stats on the deaths and the stats on IB (ICD) caseload are both (seperately) in the public domain but (as far as I know) the stats on the deaths have not themselves been broken down according to IB (ICD) code.  So the stats on deaths broken down by health condition are not in the public domain.

I did something similar recently when requesting an FOI on sanctions broken down according to IB (ICD) code.  Stats on sanction rates and stats on IB (ICD) caseload are both seperately in the public domain but sanction rates broken down by IB (ICD) code are not so DWP answered the FOI.

Anyway, sounds like you’re having a good week off - enjoy your painting.
ta

Paul_Treloar_CPAG
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This story from the Guardian is pretty heart wrenching.

‘My mother’s death was hastened by long delay in processing her benefits’

She did not understand why she had lost her benefits. She was not told she could appeal, and was advised to reapply for ESA.

The DWP aims to process benefit claims within 16 days, but the reality can be very different. Moira’s claim was stuck in the system, and had still not been completed when she died. As a result, for the last seven months of her life, as her health deteriorated, she received no income.

When Nichole telephoned the DWP to check on the process of the application, she was told they were awaiting medical records from Moira’s GP. When Nichole checked with the GP practice, they told her they had not received any such request.

1964
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Sadly, all too familiar a scenario isn’t it?

It’d be nice to suppose that some of these stats and stories would result in a bit of a sea-change in relation to Joe Public’s view of the Benefit Stereotype. Can but hope I suppose.

Paul_Treloar_CPAG
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Come across an interesting blog on the stats last week by Ben Baumberg, Senior Lecturer at the University of Kent.

Death, dishonesty and the WCA

Essentially, he’‘s of the opinion that there is very little to be gleaned from the information released, and finishes by stating “In the meantime, this is one of those times where the underlying issue is valid, but the data being used to make the case are not …”

Worth reading the DNS story linked to in the blog as well.

MaggieZed
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http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/09/10/isnt-the-dwps-lawyer-a-cheeky-madam/

Mike Sivier who made a FOI request for the release of these stats is going back to the ICO.  The DWP says ‘You will note that those statistics have now been published in a way which provides all of the information you requested.’ Mike Siver disagrees with this statement.

Daphne
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According to DNS there was a tribunal last week where they were asking the DWP again to publish information about the reviews into deaths of 49 benefit claimants -

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/dns-to-ask-tribunal-to-force-dwp-to-publish-secret-benefit-deaths-information/