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Facebook checks

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Claire Hodgson
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PI Team, BHP Law, Durham

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I’ve been known to find clients on facebook. useful tool for tracing the missing/etc. 

but then I know that someone can go on holiday with whoever they want without being ltahaw with said person, which the DWP fraud team never have accepted

ranaway
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Welfare Rights, North Tyneside Disability Forum

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For an ESA appeal the DM had included a screenshot from a historic webpage where my client had posted his mobile number in respect of arranging sports matches. Out of context, no dates included. Beware…

Pete C
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Pete at CAB

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bexber - 02 November 2015 11:55 AM

For an ESA appeal the DM had included a screenshot from a historic webpage where my client had posted his mobile number in respect of arranging sports matches. Out of context, no dates included. Beware…

Its not just Facebook or websites, it may be something completely outside the control of the client.

I had a client who was a keen golfer who had claimed that he was unable to walk. A member of the Tribunal who is also a keen golfer looked up the client on a website showing the results of a recent tournament at a local club -  it was clearly shown that the client had played two rounds on a very steep and hilly course in the recent past. The allegation was, I am pleased to say, properly put to the client and I then asked for an adjournment to discuss the allegation. The client conceded that it was in fact true. He insisted we finish the appeal but needless to say he lost.

I must admit that I was mortified that he hadn’t told me and that I didn’t have the nous to check for myself!

 

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

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I was rather hoping you were going to end that by saying that the client had been transported around the course on a trolley. Very disappointing 😊

The reality is DWP and local authorities nowadays have a wealth of data sources to choose from. On the plus side, limited resources and lack of training mean they will generally continue to select badly from that data and tend towards drawing inferences without ever thinking of what the counter inference might be. If nothing else social media and t’internet promise to make all our lives more interesting.

Tom H
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Newcastle Welfare Rights Service

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Mike Hughes - 06 November 2015 09:58 AM

I was rather hoping you were going to end that by saying that the client had been transported around the course on a trolley. Very disappointing :)

...or that he’d tripped on his way to the clubhouse after finishing his final round and hence the DLA.  Typical of a golfer though to insist on going the distance no matter how bad it’s going.

Pete C - 05 November 2015 05:12 PM

I must admit that I was mortified that he hadn’t told me and that I didn’t have the nous to check for myself!

Wouldn’t beat yourself up Pete.  Risk assessments, yes, and perhaps a check on whether we’ve helped in the past, but never local league golf:)

 

[ Edited: 6 Nov 2015 at 11:05 am by Tom H ]
benefitsadviser
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Sunderland West Advice Project

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A welfare rights officer i know was repping a high rate mob DLA appeal

The client was five minutes late. The tribunal wasnt impressed

He went outside to look for him in case the client had got lost

He observed the client (who realised he was late) sprinting down the road like linford christie toward the venue.

He told the client to turn around, go home and then went back in to withdraw the appeal.

Such is life…... Weve all had the odd one havent we!

Tom H
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Newcastle Welfare Rights Service

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Had a similar experience.  Tribunal had invited me into tribunal room when client hadn’t turned up.  The judge enquired (in that faux serious tone that only someone getting well paid regardless of whether the client turns up can muster) of the client’s whereabouts, did he know the time/venue etc when through the window behind them, I spotted the client (who was going for a straight 15pts for mobilising due to claudication in his legs) furiously running down the hill to the venue.  Sadly, they spotted him too but were good enough to give him the chance to retrieve some credibility (“why could you cover such distance today but in your ESA50 say you could manage a lot less”?).  Sadly, he didn’t take it (“because I was late”).

Dan_Manville
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Mental health & welfare rights service - Wolverhampton City Council

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Totally off topic I know but my fave late client was a chap who turned up 45 minutes late drunk as a skunk. The chair (as he then was) gave him a scolding and client took off round the table in an attempt to neck him shouting “I’ll give you… don’t you ...” etc. We were escorted straight out the door, decision in the post and reg 27(b) awarded.

That was the only appeal I won in front of them in 9 1/2 years; couldn’t have happened to a nicer…

Faceache
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Money Matters, South Lanarkshire Council

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Had a case where FACBOOK was used, but clients settings were on private and Glasgow fraud office couldn’t access any information other than what you are able to see when set to private.  That would indicate they aren’t able to bypass private settings. YET!

ikbikb
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LSD WB supervisor - Bury District CAB, Lancashire

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Client requested DLA HRM at Tribunal but travelled to the venue by pushbike about 5 miles and back. Even better was the WSOR after as the apellant failed tp mention they attended in this manner was the description by the Judge was ‘Velocipede’ instead of bike.

Mike Hughes
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Thepadster - 06 November 2015 02:58 PM

Had a case where FACBOOK was used, but clients settings were on private and Glasgow fraud office couldn’t access any information other than what you are able to see when set to private.  That would indicate they aren’t able to bypass private settings. YET!

I think that merely confirms that they hadn’t obtained the necessary permissions. I can confirm from a direct work-related experience that an employer can bypass Facebook privacy settings when the appropriate legal permissions are obtained. I had a specific instance of it (I should emphasise at this point that it’s not me. I have no Facebook account :().

A fraud office failing to do what they needed to do to appear competent is nothing new.

ikbikb - 06 November 2015 04:11 PM

Client requested DLA HRM at Tribunal but travelled to the venue by pushbike about 5 miles and back. Even better was the WSOR after as the apellant failed tp mention they attended in this manner was the description by the Judge was ‘Velocipede’ instead of bike.

Interesting one. I have won several cases over the years where an appellant was able to cycle but was virtually unable to walk. There’s solid medical opinion available on the different muscle sets used; the relief offered to the lumbar spine by the cycling position and so on. Can’t say I’d reccommend an appellant turn up to the venue on their bike but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t qualify for HR MC.

benefitsadviser
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On what legal basis can an employer apply to get past your own privacy settings?

If there are grounds of suspicion that folk are using facebook to plan armed robberies and the police get involved, then fair enough.

I just cant see how an employer can legally do this?

Mike Hughes
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benefitsadviser - 09 November 2015 12:26 PM

On what legal basis can an employer apply to get past your own privacy settings?

If there are grounds of suspicion that folk are using facebook to plan armed robberies and the police get involved, then fair enough.

I just cant see how an employer can legally do this?

RIPA 2000. There is considerable controversy over its use but it still gets used. I’m not saying it’s right but it happens.

Paul_Treloar_CPAG
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Advice and Rights Team, Child Poverty Action Group

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Doesn’t RIPA confine itself to allowing public bodies to access private or personal communications data, rather than employers across the piece?

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

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

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Weeeell…

https://www.bigbrotherwatch.org.uk/TheGrimRIPA.pdf

and then do a search for the phrase “abuse of RIPA”. Pretty bleak reading.