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Sobbing Decision Makers Beg Claimants Not To Appeal

February 11, 2015

With many thanks to Benefits And Work.

Sobbing decision makers are desperately trying to persuade claimants not to lodge appeals following an unsuccessful mandatory reconsideration, a senior welfare rights worker has revealed. It is the first evidence that DWP staff are coming under pressure to meet targets for cutting appeal numbers for benefits including employment and support allowance (ESA), personal independence payment (PIP) and disability living allowance (DLA).

The DWP introduced a new, much more complex system for challenging benefits decisions in 2013. The mandatory reconsideration system obliges claimants to first ask the DWP to look at a decision again and then, if they are unhappy with the result, to lodge an appeal with the Tribunals Service themselves.

The new system applied to universal credit and PIP decisions from April 2013 and to ESA and other benefits from 28 October 2013.

Back in December 2014 we revealed that there had been a fall of more than 50% in the number of challenges to ESA decisions following the introduction of the mandatory reconsideration before appeal system.

The fall in the number of actual appeals has been unprecedented, with 92% fewer ESA appeals being lodged.

At the time we suggested that the fall in challenges was likely to have been caused at least in part by an array of dirty tricks being employed by the DWP.

Further evidence has now merged that, in the same way that Jobcentre Plus staff have targets for sanctions, decision makers have targets for preventing appeals.

Writing on the welfare rights workers website Rightsnet, one senior welfare rights worker reveals that two clients have told him independently that the decision maker was ‘in tears’ or ‘sobbing’ because the claimant insisted that they wished to continue with their appeal when their mandatory reconsideration was unsuccessful.

The senior welfare rights worker goes on to explain that two decision makers have told claimants:

“But don’t you understand, the whole point of mandatory reconsiderations is to avoid appeals because they’re expensive, time-consuming and usually pro-claimant and wrong. Even government ministers know that.”

In the past, decision makers were indifferent as to whether their decisions were appealed or not. It simply made no difference to them. For decision makers to be reduced to tears when a claimant informs them that they intend to appeal suggests that massive pressure is now being placed on them to stop this happening.

This is a time of continued staff cuts at the DWP. The threat of being put on a ‘performance improvement plan’, which could lead to cuts in income and dismissal, because too many of your decisions are being appealed, is a powerful one. It seems certain that, as with sanctions targets, the DWP will deny that any such threats are being made.

But, if they aren’t, what possible explanation could there be for the weeping decision makers?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 11, 2015 12:26 pm

    Why don’t they blow the whistle

  2. February 11, 2015 12:43 pm

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  3. February 11, 2015 12:57 pm

    Refer you to the following documentary evidence submitted by the PCS union to the recent Work&Pensions Select Committee re: sanctions – pgs.9-10, #s 25, 26 & 27, which specifically state “Decision Makers set 80% ‘adverse decisions’ target to work to” from 1 July 2013 = proof that Mandatory Reconsideration is a complete con designed from the start to delay or outright cheat claimants out of their right of appeal.
    After all, DWP couldn`t do the same to an Independent Appeal Tribunal…

    Click to access PCS%20(SAN0161)%20300115.pdf

  4. February 11, 2015 1:18 pm

    Interesting. I am helping someone who asked for a reconsideration, only to receive a letter saying that they had reconsidered, turned him down, and now he would need to apply for a mandatory reconsideration. This only makes sense if it is part of a strategy to wear people down before they can apply to a tribunal.

  5. February 11, 2015 1:18 pm

    Reblogged this on Benefit tales.

  6. Kim Rawlins permalink
    February 11, 2015 1:35 pm

    Sorry but thought this one was obvious. When MR was introduced it was no secret that it was put in place to make it much harder for the claimant to appeal and win. IDS made no mistake about welfare reforms throughout DWP and that it would have included decision makers and not just those staff in JCPs

  7. 1968xavier permalink
    February 11, 2015 5:51 pm

    Reblogged this on Derby People's Assembly.

  8. 1968xavier permalink
    February 11, 2015 5:53 pm

    reblogged this Thank you

  9. Louise permalink
    February 11, 2015 10:52 pm

    I had an absolute nightmare with this last year helping my autistic adult son claim…they lost paperwork…nothing was clear, when I asked for a reconsideration for him I was asked time and time again if I was sure I wanted to..when he was not successful I rang and asked for help finding the correct appeal forms online and was told ‘ just look, they are on the site somewhere’ !!!!!! Eventually went to court and won with an overwhelming difference in points scored….my son could not of battled this alone… heart breaks for genuine people in need that don’t have the support to fight…

  10. manda permalink
    February 11, 2015 11:19 pm

    Going through a mandatory reconsiderations now, total cock up they tuned me down
    and sent me a reassessment letter instead, a month after the decision was made, claims manager rang today and informed me that no new evidence was used and he would look ay it again, told him im ready for Tribunal if they dont change decision, was previously recieving higher rate dla and care untill changed over to pip last may. Bring on the fight i will win

  11. jaypot2012 permalink
    February 12, 2015 11:26 am

    Reblogged this on Jay's Journal and commented:
    It’s all going to collapse soon. People in the DWP know that they are going to lose their jobs, people in the JC+ know that they are going to lose their jobs – so why the hell don’t a few of them become whistleblowers? They’ve nothing really to lose so let people know what is really going on.

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