Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Mar 25, 2013 21:08:50 GMT
Benefit appeals are on the rise....
Sickness benefit appeals up by 70%....
'Chaos is looming'
Latest statistics from Her Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) reveal that the DWP's increasingly controversial Employment & Support Allowance is leading to a massive surge in the numbers of appeals lodged with independent Tribunals. The Ministry of Justice figures can be read hereand confirm that for the period July to September 2012 the number of appeals was up by 69% on the same quarter on the previous year. Benefit appeals are now accounting for 58% of all cases received for appeals across all Tribunals - an alarming increase.
The Ministry of Justice figures exhibits all the signs of impending chaos with a staggering 813,500 tribunal cases in total; an increase on the previous year when the number had already exceeded three quarters of a million appeal cases.
The number of Employment & Support Allowance appeal receipts is of particular concern, in the year 2011/2012 a total of 181,000 appeals were received by the Tribunals. In the first six months of 2012/2013 the figure has shot up to 133,700 indicating that these appeals alone are well on track to exceed a quarter of a million by year end.
42% of DWP decisions in ESA cases are wrong!
By comparison with the second quarter of 2009/2010 when Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) appeal receipts stood at 29,000 - the same quarter in 2012/2013 has zoomed up to 73,700 - an increase of 44,700. Of the 53,200 ESA cases cleared at an appeal hearing 22,500 (42%) were found in favour of the claimant. These figures highlight ongoing problems with the standards of decision - making following Atos 'Work Capability Assessments' - the DWP is still making an unacceptably large number of incorrect decisions.
Total number of benefit appeals now on track to exceed 600,000 by the end of the year!
The total number of benefit appeal cases for 2012/2013 has already reached a wholly unacceptable figure of 308,200 meaning that if the trend continues, and there is every sign it will, the total number of benefit appeals alone will have reached well over 600,000 by the end of the year.
Cases outstanding (all) - 813,800 - chaos!
The total number of benefit appeal case 'outstanding' in 2008/2009 was 53,200 in the second quarter and has now more than trebled to 158,700 in the second quarter of 2012/2013. A comparison with the figures for 2007/2008 when the figure stood at 347,100 shows the numbers have increased to a colossal 813,800 in 2012/2013. the number of employment tribunal cases outstanding as of the second quarter stands at 570,200, benefit cases stand at 158,700 in 2012/2013 and immigration & asylum cases at 41,000 - this is absolute chaos!
Exceeding the warnings given by the judiciary....
In a report issued in February 2012 provided by the Tribunal president the judiciary gave the following breakdown of benefit appeal cases in the first - tier Tribunal and made the following predictions for increases in the appeal load:
Annual Intake of SSCS Appeals
2008-09 - 242,800
2009-10 - 339,200
2010-11 - 418,500
2011-12 - 421,609
2012-13 - 483,400
2013-14 - 576,700
2014-15 - 644,000
These latest figures show we are well on track to break past the 483,400 forecast for 2012/2013 and exceed the figure given for 2013/2014.
The full effect of welfare reform changes has yet to hit the fan, the bedroom tax, more ESA cases, JSA sanctions (standing at 700,000), Disability Living Allowance giving way to Personal Independence Payments are all in the line up and will undoubtedly lead to the Tribunal president's forecast being considerably exceeded.
Government and the DWP has to stop pretending that there is not a perfect storm brewing here, mandatory revision before appeal is only keeping the dispute out of the public's attention in a pretence that the people who create the problems will somehow fix it. The DWP is assessing twice as many ESA claimants as it needs to just to claim double its dubious 'results'. In reality the vast majority of those who flow off ESA and incapacity benefits are flowing straight back on to them shortly afterwards - government has no other credible explanation as to why after assessing over 2.8 million claimants between 2008 and 2012 the claimant count has barely reduced by little more than 70,000 - it's derisory and half that achieved by way of reductions under the older incapacity benefits regime.
The fact is that we were seeing much better reductions under the older incapacity benefits. Government is using severely disabled claimants to manipulate its figures by its recycling of what can only be the same claimants. It stands to reason that if vast numbers were really being 'found fit for work' the Jobseeker's Allowance claimant count would have rocketed up to an embarrassingly high level which this government simply cannot afford to show.
After coming off ESA claimants are being re-directed back on to it by Jobcentres who can clearly see these claimants are no where near ready for the labour markets.
Government's mismanagement of the ESA reassessment programme:
There's any number of statistical charts on here which you can muse over all day long.
In doing so just apply the logic:
(1) We start with 2.6 million on the sick in 2008
(2) Various claims are made by the DWP/media of 75%, 50% and more recently 33% being found 'fit for work'
(3) In 2012 we have 488,000 claimants waiting to be assessed
(4) In 2012 we have a Jobseeker's Allowance queue that's hardly grown
(5) By 2012 - 2.7 million have been subjected to Work Capability Assessments
(6) By 2012 - 3.8 million is the total number 'case loaded' through ESA
(7) By 2012 we are on track to break all previous appeal records with more hidden from view at the DWP
(8) In 2012 there are twice as many claiming on the sick as there were in 2006
(9) By 2012 the claimant count for those on the sick has trickled down by a mere 70K, still leaving us with....
Around 2.6 million on the sick?
(10) This wretched scheme is rapidly emerging as an absolute farce which is being used as a vehicle to keep the long term sick numbers down; thus keeping them from the long term 'economically inactive' count used by the ONS to work out the numbers said to unemployed.
They have engineered themselves a clever way of marshalling the unemployment figure to one which is more 'commensurate' with the chancellor's increasingly doubtful claims that we are 'on the way' to economic growth.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Mar 27, 2013 21:33:19 GMT
Rate of appeals
In this post we take a look at the number of ESA Work Capability Assessments resulting in an outcome which confirmed the claimant had been found 'fit for work'. Claimants will predominantly appeal 'fit for work' decisions although a number will also lodge appeals against being placed in the Work Related Activity Group for placement in to the Support Group.
HMCTS Statistics for ESA appeal receipts
Appeals lodged with HMCTS
October 08 - March 2009
April 2009 - March 2010
April 2010 - March 2011
April 2011 - March 2012
April 2012 - September 2013
680,500 including Oct 08 to March 2009
In the above 48 month period a minimum of 639,000 appeals against Employment & Support Allowance were lodged with the Tribunals Service (subsequently HMCTS).
*October 2008 to March 2009
These figures are not from HMCTS but accessed via a DWP supplementary report issued in January 2011 which lists the numbers of appeals heard at page 8 (cited as table 3). These figures will have since been revised but in the absence of figures from HMCTS can be accepted as reasonably reliable. We can see from the latest May 2012 tables (WCA table 3) that the revised figure for fit for work outcomes for the month of October 2008 has been adjusted to reflect that 41% of the decisions for that month had been over-tuned. If this is compared with the up to May 2012 assessed outcomes (issued Jan 2013) we can see that there were 3,600 fit for work decisions and 2,000 eligible for ESA (total 5,600). The figure of 1,500 appeals heard seems comparable enough to apply.
Employment and Support Allowance appeals compared with incapacity benefits
Disability campaigners fear that jobcentre staff will be ill-equipped to make judgments about people’s work capability. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian
Amid the avalanche of welfare reforms being implemented by a government intent on reducing the benefits bill by £18bn, one controversial measure that seems to have fallen below the radar is a change to the appeals process for welfare benefit claimants.
There are fears that the change, which will deny people the right to appeal decisions about sickness and disability benefits until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has first reconsidered their case, could leave claimants penniless. Moreover, its introduction, just as legal aid is abolished for many welfare benefit cases, could leave thousands of vulnerable people unable to access the law to secure the income they are entitled to. The double whammy has been attacked as "a disgrace and a scandal".
The government has refused to set a time limit for how long the DWP could take to reconsider a judgment by the mainly computer-led fit-to-work test, but while cases are being reconsidered, claimants who were on employment and support allowance (ESA) will no longer be allowed to claim this sickness benefit and will be automatically transferred to jobseeker's allowance (JSA).
Liz Sayce, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, warns that putting people on to JSA, a benefit that requires them to look for work, when they aren't well enough could have dire consequences. "We don't believe that the work capability assessment, as it stands, is reliable enough to be putting these numbers of people on jobseeker's allowance, [and] on to this regime of requirement to comply with the job-seeking plan. At worst, what it could mean is that people then lose their eligibility for benefit, and because they are not able to comply, they could potentially have no income."
She adds: "Just keep people on the [sickness] benefits. That will reduce anxiety and the risk of people falling out of any benefit income at all."
The DWP says that people claiming JSA would only be expected to "undertake activity suitable for their condition", but disability campaigners fear that jobcentre staff will be ill-equipped to make such judgments.
Citizens Advice (CA) says it supports reconsideration of cases before an appeal because, if done properly, it should ensure the correct evidence is gathered, cut the rate of appeals and reduce stress for the claimant. However, Sandie Lock, CA welfare benefits specialist, voices the concern that the policy is driven by a desire to cut the cost of appeals and that could mean "vulnerable clients will be dissuaded from proceeding with the appeal or may just give up because it's taking too long".
"I think cost is a key factor. It's obvious that the number of appeals, particularly when you look at ESA, has been escalating, partly due to changing the descriptors and making it harder for people to qualify, but also because of the poor quality of decision making," she says.
Since its introduction in 2008, charities, doctors and MPs have added their voices to the growing chorus of alarm over the reliability of the fit-to-work test and the large number of people who appeal against judgments (up to 50% of all those who go through the test). There have been more than 600,000 appeals, of which around 40% have been successful, costing the government about £50m a year. This is in addition to the £100m it is paying the IT company, Atos, to carry out the test.
Under the revised appeals process, claimants who are still refused sickness benefit following a DWP reconsideration, will need to lodge their appeal directly with Her Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service and, in theory, their case will be heard within 28 days.
Disabled people who are starting to be moved from disability living allowance (DLA) to the new personal independence payment (PIP) and who, if they fail the eligibility test, want to question the decision will also be affected by the revised appeals process. So, too, will recipients of universal credit, the government's flagship welfare reform, being piloted from this month.
The potentially lengthier reconsideration process, coupled with seismic cuts tolegal aid funding, which will deny people free help in gathering evidence from advice centres or law firms for their case, could deter people from appealing decisions altogether.
Lord Bach, shadow justice minister and former legal aid minister, says that, in effect, the government appears to be heading off claimants from all angles.
In a withering attack on the minister for welfare reform, Lord Freud, in the House of Lords earlier this year, Bach said: "After 1 April, for those who do not have the means to pay – the vast majority, I would suggest, including many disabled people – where will they get the legal advice they need? I used to think it was just ignorance that had led Her Majesty's government to abolish legal aid in welfare benefit cases. Now I am forced to the view, as I think are many fair-minded people from outside, that it is too much of a coincidence that these legal-aid cuts come at exactly the same time as radical welfare reform. These things are connected – it must be a deliberate government policy to bring in radical and damaging welfare reforms at the same time as making it impossible for the vast majority to appeal against these decisions, which affect their daily lives. I feel strongly about this. It is a disgrace and a scandal and something that has not been talked about enough."
Freud replied that first-tier tribunals, where appeals against fit-to-work judgments would be heard, did not require legal representation because they were not adversarial.
Yet Paula Twigg, advice services director, at the Mary Ward Legal Centre in London, disagrees: "It is still a legal process. The judge and the rest of the panel still have to look at what the law says and apply the person's facts to the law. This is going to be horrendous for clients and advice centres."
The centre used to have a legal aid contract to help around 800 people a year. The majority were disability benefit claimants and the success rate was about 90%. Twigg points out that the funding the centre received to pay for supporting evidence from consultants and GPs will also now have to be supplied by the claimant.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Apr 10, 2013 15:26:30 GMT
The Real numbers....
The following table should be of great interest to those following the Employment & Support appeal chaos and also the need for legal aid in the first tier tribunal when contesting controversial Work Capability Assessments. What is of interest is that this table was only released in January 2013 and refers to table (3) 'Outcomes of appeals heard on Fit for Work decisions in initial functional assessment by month of claim in Great Britain.
These are figures extracted form the DWP Work Capability Assessment (WCA) data tables which were issued on the 22nd January 2013. All tables (A) (B) (C) & (D) can be downloaded from this link by scrolling down. It can be noted that appeal adjustments shown in table (D) are for new ESA claims only and only up the November 2011. The reason for this is because of what is known as data lag. In the majority of DWP data sets they put the data lag at 8 months but these statistics tell us otherwise:
To quote the DWP reference appended to table (3). Note my emphasis on the 14 months.
(1) the period cohorts allocate Employment and Support Allowance claims to the calendar month that the claim was first made. All annual and quarterly statistics in this table are based on aggregating the unrounded monthly ones. There is a reporting lag of approximately 14-months at the issuing date of this statistical output owing to the time needed to process data and time allowed to enable the bulk of appeals to be heard by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service;
The table details the number of appeal cases which are (1) upheld (2) overturned or (3) where there is no data available to date. Given that as far as up to November 2011 is concerned the data has been adjusted to take account of appeal outcomes, the data is then used to 'update' the main table (1A) relating to Work Capability Assessments for NEW CLAIMS ONLY. Throughout the various posts on the forum I have referred to table 1(a) as Table B and you can download it here (DWP table 1(a)
What you will note in table 1(a) [or Table (B) using my reference point] is that the number of fit for work outcomes is dated to May 2012.
The data in table 1(a) is therefore incomplete in so as the period from December 2011 to May 2012 is concerned. Remember also that we are now in April 2013 so the information is a long way behind. This enforces my contention that the information from the HMCTS Tribunal statistics is only giving us a limited insight in to the number of appeals which have been lodged with the DWP (rather than the Tribunal). The data is only complete once the Tribunal outcomes have been fully re-in-putted back in to Table 1(a) by the DWP.
But, as well as the data relating to the period from December 2011 to May 2012; do you spot what else is missing?
Look at the table then see my notes which appear after the table.
Initial decision Upheld
Initial decision overturned
Any outcome (appeal decided)
No appeals data to date
Total caseload with a fit for work decision
To date (Nov 2011)
The missing data
Well, in addition to the 95,700 fit for work decisions between December 2011 and May 2012:
We have no less than 424,600 cases where there is NO appeal data which appears in the adjusted (to November 2011 statistics)
We have (Table A) 179,900 incapacity benefit to ESA conversions cases with a fit for work decision to factor in
(Table C) We have 197,700 ESA repeat assessment cases with a fit for work decision to factor in
Making for a massive potential upper figure of 897,900 in total!
I say potential because there is no way of telling how many of the 424,600 cases where there is no accepted lack of data will have lodged appeals.
We know from HMCTS that there are 680,500 recorded ESA appeal receipts up to September 2012; from which we can assume that on average around 265,395 (39%) succeed in appealing a fit for work decision. The average would be comparable to that used in the New Claim WCA figures.
What we know from the DWP table shown above is that only 108,400 decisions out of 289,300 confirmed decision are recorded as 'overturned decisions' so the DWP is clearly a long way behind the HMCTS in updating their records.
The lack of data will significantly impact upon the appeal results which the DWP quote by its continual reference to selected data sets.
Remember the DWP's data on these appeals is 14 months (not 8) behind and they are only using figures from data set (the one I refer to as Table (B) and have not included data from Tables (A) or (C).....
But there is something else. Can you spot it?
What about all of those who appeal against a decision to place them in the Work Related Activity Group when they believe they should be in the Support Group?
(1) The time lag from the date of the original DWP decision through to the time an appeal has been heard by HMCTS and then fed back and re-inputted on the DWP data tables is 14 months.
(2) The DWP table shows that only 108,400 overturned decisions are clearly identified as revised figures for appeal outcomes in the DWP's data relating to new ESA claims.
(3) By their own admission the DWP's figures are only up to date up to November 2011 in their January 2013 release of Work Capability Assessment data tables.
(4) A large number of the 680,500 appeal receipts (which will have resulted in approximately 265,395 successful appeals) whilst having been recorded by the HMCTS have not yet been recorded by the DWP.
(5) As of November 2011 (for New Claims only) there were 424,600 unknown outcomes; a fair number of these would end up as successful appeals.
(6) The DWP data table 3 (Table D using my reference) does not relate to ib/ESA conversion cases (my table reference (A) or ESA repeat assessment cases (my table reference (C).
(7) Whilst the latest DWP figures for all sets (A/B/C) are dated up to May 2012, the data table (D) clearly shows only appeal outcome information up to November 2011 has been 'readjusted' back at the DWP in Table (B).
(8) None of the figures in any of the tables (A/B/C) can possibly have been adjusted for appeal beyond November 2011. The table (A) relating to ib/ESA conversion appeal states that it has been adjusted for appeals but there is no data (as in table (D) to show how the appeal outcomes have been separately recorded.
I'll simplify this in the next post as I appreciate it is complicated and information needs to be condensed for ease of understanding.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Apr 18, 2013 23:12:31 GMT
Benefit appeals up for the third quarter in a row!
Claimants see 42% success rates as sickness appeals set to reach all time record high!....
Over three quarter of millions Employment & Support Allowance appeals lodged to date - more than half the number of fit for work decisions
The numbers of appeals was for some reason always kept on the lower side during the course of the welfare reform and legal aid bills, since the passing of both bills the rate of appeals has continually shot up.
The release of the latest figures from HMCTS Tribunals shows another huge increase in the number of Employment & Support Allowance appeals. There's been some minor tinkering with the figures for previous sets but setting that aside for the present, the more alarming news is that the increase in appeals for this benefit which had already reached 133,700 in the first two quarters of 2012/2013 has now sky rocketed even further when you include the third quarter up to December 2012; the figure has now reached 218,964 and we are only three quarters of the way through the year.
Appeals building up
These figures show that appeals are now well on track to considerably exceed a quarter of a million by the year end in March 2013 - once the figures have been finalised for the remaining quarter. Tribunals are clearly struggling to keep pace as 218,964 appeal receipts exceed the 185,245 disposed of, this means the numbers of cases 'outstanding' has increased for Employment & Support Allowance, placing Tribunals under increasing pressure in the next quarter.
42% claimant success rate maintained for third time this year
The results at appeal show that for the third quarter in a row claimants in Employment & Support Allowance appeals are achieving success rates of 42%. Claimant success rates are similarly running at 41% for appellants in 55,650 Disability Living Allowances appeals heard over the same three quarters. The backlogs are clearly leading to long delays as 1,068 of the older incapacity benefit cases reached a hearing with success rates averaging 41%.
Three quarter of a million appeal receipts - 1.2 million 'fit for work decisions
Her Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service do not record appeal receipts for 2008/2009 but we've managed to track some earlier numbers down (see previous post as to the source reference from DWP). What's astonishing is that these figures now show that since the start of the Employment & Support Allowance programme back in October 2008 a staggering number of appeal receipts have been received by the Tribunal for just one benefit - 764,764 by December 2012 is unprecedented.
Especially when compared with the total number of fit for work decisions made by the DWP - a total of 1,215,200 to May 2012. It points to a 63% appeal rate against fit for work decisions when you combine all of the different ESA appeal cohorts together - the correct way of over-viewing the DWP massive assessment & reassessment programme. Appeals are lodged originally with the DWP so their figures for May 2012 will have considerable relevance to the figures released by the Tribunals up to December 2012. It can take many months for an appeal to be heard; what these figures are starting to show is how the Tribunals are considerably ahead of the DWP in publishing results whereas the DWP is taking far longer to update their records after these appeals have been heard.
DWP is 14 months behind in logging results
As a percentage of the overall number of assessments (2,685,900) carried out between October 2008 and May 2012, these figures show around 28% claimants had lodged an ESA appeal with HMCTS between October 2008 and December 2012. The 'time lag' which the DWP currently puts at 14 months in the only data set made available to date shows they have only got updated records of tribunal results up to November 2011 and even then their results relate to new ESA claims only. These records show that as of November 2011 only 108,400 overturned appeal cases (in the claimants favour) have been readjusted after appeal - the DWP concede to having no information on no less than 452,600 appeal outcomes as far back as November 2011.
It all points to an absolute tsunami of appeal cases building up at the DWP which look set to drown the Tribunals with Employment & Support Allowance cases for sometime yet, most of the outstanding cases will not be subject to the new mandatory revision before appeal system because appeals will have been lodged with the DWP well before the new rules take effect.
HMCTS Statistics for ESA appeal receipts
Earlier figures for first two quarters of 2012/2013
Appeals lodged with HMCTS
October 08 - March 2009
April 2009 - March 2010
April 2010 - March 2011
April 2011 - March 2012
April 2012 - September 2012
680,500 including Oct 08 to March 2009
HMCTS Statistics for ESA appeal receipts
Updated figures for first three quarters of 2012/2013
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Apr 19, 2013 19:40:43 GMT
When government tells you Tribunals only overturn 15% of all fit for work decisions
Ask them what happened to 452,600 'unknown' results?
Ah, we can start to see where Mr Hoban's getting it all wrong....
In the previous post you can read how appeals for the dreaded Employment & Support Allowance have now reached a staggering 765,764 'receipts' at Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service since the allowance was introduced back in late 2008.
It's a figure which should truly alarm everyone because it highlights a serious weakness in the standards of decision making being reached by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). It becomes even more alarming when you consider that up to May 2012 the number of fit for work decisions has reached an almighty 1.215,200. You don't need a calculator to work out this is a huge percentage of people who disagree with the decision reached by the State - we are talking about a figure of 63%
Did you get that? - 63% is massive!
But is it that simple?
No, of course not.
Remember the three quarter of a million figure relates only to the number of people who have lodged an appeal at the Tribunal. It's the only fixed figure we really have to go on, but are there more?
Yes, there must be more...
Yes, there will be a fair number of appeals which will have been lodged with the DWP but which have not yet reached the Tribunal, in some cases the DWP may overturn a decision of their own accord and thus save a whole lot of money by avoiding the need for a costly appeal Tribunal. Indeed it is the Government's hope that the introduction of a new process called mandatory revision before appeal will ensure the DWP get's their decision 'right first time' and thus cuts out the need for so many appeals to end up at tribunals. With three quarter of a million appeals reaching Tribunals, the DWP has more than got its work cut out if they are to satisfactorily get the bulk of decisions right 'within house'.
Government minister Mr Hoban tells us that in reality only 15% appeal decisions are overturned in Employment & Support Allowance appeal cases; inferring that his Department gets it right 85% of the time.
The predominant emphasis when Mr Hoban made this announcement, one echoed in the House of Lords by Lord Freud when debating with Lord Bach the need for legal aid in benefit appeals, was that over 740,000 people had been found 'fit for work', from which he drew an erroneous conclusion that the Tribunal only overturned 15% of all fit for work decisions.
At the time I didn't believe a word of it:
Always look at the evidence....
What you need to look at is the DWP's Work Capability Assessment data tables for ESA claims, then look at the sub tables for the one relating to New ESA claims, it's called table 1(a) and yes if you add up the number of fit for work decisions between October 2008 and November 2011 it does indeed come to 742,200 - so there's our first identifiable figure. You can download the January 2013 Work Capability Assessment tables using the links I've already provided you with.
Let's have a trawl through the data....
Well done Mr Hoban, you've also got the total number of work capability assessments right as well, it does indeed come to 1,252,200 using the very same table - this pleases me because I know we're looking at exactly the same data. When I say he's got the figures right I am only referring to the information within that table.
But where is he getting the '39% who appealed the fit for work decision' from?
Advance to the same table but this time look at sub table (3)
You will note that this is a table which specifically relates to assessments results subject to appeal where the outcomes have been recorded by the DWP following the appeal hearing, here's an excerpt:
Initial decision upheld
Initial decisions overturned
Which is interesting because this is where Mr Hoban gets his percentages from
Remember we have '742,200' fit for work decisions
39% of 742,200 is 289,458 which is our 'any outcome' figure; this is the figure upon which Hoban bases his '39% appeal' assertion.
15% of 742,200 is 111,330 which is as close as we will get to the number of 'overturned decisions' especially given that Mr Hoban rounds off 742,200 to 740,000.
Mr Hoban's 'fall back' is where he inserts the words in brackets "where appeals have been heard" - there's a silenced emphasis surrounding this statement
I say silenced because although it's in the small print, he always forgets to mention " where appeals have been heard" when talking in Parliament or on television, as does his noble friend in the Lords' Lord Freud
The problem is Mr Hoban is talking about the number who have actually had their appeals heard, his greatest sin is to 'forget' to tell you about a figure which was right in front of him when he, or one of his aides, must have been looking at the table referred to as sub table (3). Given that it's all of 19.5 millimetres from sub table 1(b) he could quite easily have gone back and double checked what he crucially missed out:
Mr Hoban omitted to mention this......
Status of Fit for Work decisions where there is no
completed appeals information at this date (3)
Total case load with a Fit for Work decision
He 'forgets' 452,600 claimants!
Which means he's completely misleading you and many others, as is Lord Freud, when telling you only 15% have a fit for work decision overturned by a Tribunal.
It's complete nonsense.
The '15% of 740,000' figure which Mr Hoban uses completely eludes to the fact that over 450,000 of the results aren't known. It is only accurate to give a percentage which relates to the 289,300 appeals where the appeal have been heard.
Mr Hoban should make it much clearer that it is only the results of 289,300 cases which have been heard which have been counted. It's no good putting it in brackets in the small print of a press release in the hidden depths of the DWP Press Office if when speaking about it you do not make it clear that you are leaving out over 450,000 'unknown' outcomes.
What these 'results' show is that only 108,400 overturned decisions have been logged by the DWP after an appeal has been heard. Remember Mr Hoban is quoting from his beloved DWP statistics, he is not making it at all clear that they are only up to November 2011 - someone needs to remind him we are now in April 2013!
He is also leaving thousands of decisions and appeal outcomes out of the equation by referring to a very limited sector of all the information available - where he does not have the information he should be making the fact absolutely clear.
I go back to my original point. It's quite simple really.
To date (As confirmed by latest DWP/HMCTS figures)
765,764 Appeals have been lodged with the Tribunal according to HMCTS figures
1,215,200 is the total number of 'Fit for Work' Decisions made by DWP
There are also 894,600 Work Related Activity Group ('WRAG') Decisions to consider
There is nofirm evidence showing how many appeals have been lodged with the DWP
The DWP appeal figures are only up to date up to November 20011 due to a 14 month backlog
The 452,600 'unknown' outcomes in November 2011 are still unaccounted for in the most recent statistics .
Read the key statistics here and in the next post I shall go on to consider something we call the 'propensity' of appeal - it will give you a much clearer idea how many people are likely to have appealed decisions and how many are still outstanding with the DWP in addition to the 765,764 appeals already lodged at Tribunals.
We also have to consider how although the DWP figures are only dated up to May 2012 (In figures released in January 2013 where the DWP state that appeal figures are subject to a 14 month delay going back to November 2011) and yet here we are in April 2013 - what we need to look at is what the most up to date situation is likely to be.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Apr 20, 2013 20:35:51 GMT
Refuting the myths
"Only 15% have their cases overturned at appeal"
In the previous post we can see very clearly how this 'assumption' by the DWP is based on a far from solid foundation when it comes to the facts. The DWP have put forward this 'myth' in various press releases and when engaging in Parliamentary debate. The myth is based on the DWP referring to an erroneous statement " around 742,000 were found fit for work". The correct figure in fact refers to 741,900 claimants, of which only 289,300 actually had an appeal result recorded - the official DWP figures confirm that as of November 2011 (which is the date relevant to the DWP's quote) there were 452,600 claimants within the 741,900 who had not had an appeal outcome recorded.
The number of overturned (new) ESA claims decided at an appeal is shown in the DWP figures as 108,400 and can only be related to a figure of 289,300 recorded outcomes - 452,600 cannot possibly be counted where the outcome is unknown.
The DWP failed to follow their own qualifying statement "where appeals have been heard"
The figure of 15% is therefore wrong.
"X, Y or Z numbers of claimants have appealed against ESA decisions"
There is no definitive data on this made available which covers all of the appeals made by ESA claimants.
The number of people who are recorded as having lodged an appeal with the HMCTS Tribunals does not represent the total of claimants who have appealed against an ESA decision. Every appeal (subject to new mandatory revision before appeal legislation) is in the first instance lodged with the DWP. The DWP receives the appeal, routinely reconsiders it and then decides whether the decision can be 'revised' or 'superseded'. The DWP can also receive requests for the decision to be looked at again. If the DWP cannot change the decision it then proceeds to the Tribunal (this may require further action on the part of the claimant where an appeal has 'lapsed'). Before an appeal can proceed the DWP has to prepare the 'appeal papers' which can take some time from the date the claimant made their appeal.
The DWP will therefore have a number of appeals already lodged with them in addition to those lodged (as 'receipts') with the Tribunal.
The most up to date figure for ESA appeal receipts at the Tribunal is 765,764 from October 2008 to the end of December 2012 in figures recorded by Her Majesty's Courts & Tribunals Service - this does not include appeals which have been lodged with the DWP and not yet forwarded to the Tribunal.
The 39% figure quoted by the DWP should be treated with a great deal of caution, for reasons already given over their claim that only 15% had appeals overturned by the Tribunals (see first myth) but also because it is a figure which only relates to the period up to November 2011 for New ESA claimants only. It excludes other groups of claimants and also New ESA claimants who have appealed against a placement in the ESA Work Related Activity Group
" 878,300 closed their cases before assessment "
The statistical guns were out in force over this statement by Iain Duncan Smith, but none of them cottoned on to this:
The right figure is in fact 982,400
Not perhaps hugely different in numbers, but it leads to a much greater difference. The difference between 2,415,400 and 3,835,500 ESA cases - 1,420,100 ESA cases which very few people seem to realise even exist, until they do they'll never get the way the programme works. There's any number of clues on this site!
" incapacity benefits ended in 2008 "
Not at all.
A range on incapacity benefits including Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance and Incapacity Credits for Income Support on the grounds of incapacity was phased out for new claimants who from October 2008 would have to claim the Employment & Support Allowance instead. However existing claimants stay on their existing incapacity benefits until they end their claim, start work, or get their claim converted to the more recent Employment & Support Allowance. The conversion over to ESA does not constitute a new claim. The process of converting claimants is not expected to finish completely for Severe Disablement Allowance claimants until 2017.
"39% of people who were found fit for work appealed the decision"
The DWP made this announcement in January 2013, it's simply untrue.
All they had to do was speak with the Tribunals Service and find out that by Christmas of last year well over three quarter of a million people had lodged an appeal against an ESA decision. At the time the DWP made this announcement their own records showed that up to May 2012 no less than 1,215,200 fit for work decisions had been made. 39% of the 1.2 million fit for work decisions is 473,928. The DWP is playing mix and match the stats again - the cumulative percentage is much nearer 63% if you stick to the fit for work decisions. The DWP hasn't made any mention of 894,600 decisions which determine that a claimant is fit enough to do some work and needs help in to employment. The DWP has completely omitted to make it clear that when they made the announcement over 39% of claimants appealing they were referring to a group of 742,000 claimants of which over 450,000 had not had their appeals heard; their records only being complete to November 2011 (see following and previous posts).
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Apr 21, 2013 16:24:44 GMT
Are 39% appealing the Employment & Support Allowance?
Or is it more?
Yet another misstatement by the Department of Wicked Pork Pies....
It's all done to make you think there's not too much of a problem, to fool you in to thinking that the vast majority are absolutely delighted and over the moon as yet another of 'fit for work' decision finds its way to another claimant embarking on the DWP's 'customer journey'. In reality the news is more likely to induce a state of cardiac arrest, but hey who cares, just so long as it helps government in their relentless scrounging rhetoric. Yes lets play a game of pretence by keeping the numbers down and make out that appeals are only being made by the disgruntled few - that's the master plan.
As with any numerical quote which comes out of the wicked lie factory, I decided to put their tall story to the test. I've applied their '39% appeal a fit for work decision' statement to the most up to date figures made available by the Department which has yet to catch up on 2013, the poor souls its seems are stuck on May 2012 - indeed their 'updated' appeal figures stretch back even further to November 2011, why I do believe that's a sign of a department struggling to keep pace.
So let's take the 39% and apply it to the most up to date 'fit for work' figures from the DWP.
39% of 1,215,200 is in fact 473,928
Which is a little bit mysterious because, as you will see from the above posts, there have been no less than 765,764 appeals lodged with the Tribunals up to December 2012 - it's a figure which will bear a distinct relevance to the DWP because it takes them some time to put an appeal together before they can forward it to the Tribunal. So we can probably safely say the Tribunal figures up to December 2012 (given that a fair few months elapse from the arrival of DWP's dreaded 'decision' letter, followed by the DWP having to prepare a 66 page wad of appeal papers before lodging them with the tribunals) are highly relevant to the number of decisions made by the DWP in May of the same year.
From this simple sum, the one which tells us 39% of 1.2 million is no where near the three quarter of a million appeals lodged with the tribunal, we can safely say:
The numbers appealing a fit for work decision is not 39%
What the Department of Wicked Pork Pies always forgets to include is a whole host of other equally relevant figures, they continually play them down because they don't want to be alarming their beloved voters, angering a house full of politicians or worse still provoking their very much 'on side' media friends in to thinking they've created another blundering chaotic reform.
What we'll do is apply a bit of 'reverse logic' and see what the percentage would have to be to get to a point where over three quarter of a million appeals have been lodged with the Tribunals - because that's the reality of what we are looking at.
765,764 as a percentage of 1,215,200 'fit for work' is 63%
An appeal rate of 63% is in anyone's book absolutely massive.
As a percentage of all the very nearly 2.7 million Work Capability Assessment decisions carried out to May 2012, the number of appeals lodged with the Tribunals equates to almost 30% of all decisions being subject to appeal. That is a huge lack of faith rate in the adjudication process and far exceeds what you would normally expect to see.
Ah, but isn't the 'Department of Work Pays' forgetting something?
Like the 894,600 it says can do some work?
Yes, it's not just the 'fit for work' who will be appealing against a decision which they are far from chuffed with, it will also be a proportion of the 894,600 who have been placed in what is called the 'Work Related Activity Group'. Even to get in to this group you've more or less got to have no arms or legs and a less than fully functioning head. But beyond the Work Related Activity Group there is an even more difficult group to get in to, it's known as the Support Group.
It is of course quite often the case that some people literally do not have arms or legs, it is quite often the case that for all manner of reasons people do not have the less than fully functioning heads unrecognisable to Atos, maybe a bit of bi - polar, severe psychosis or paranoia stands in the way of even being able to do 'some work'. There are people (unbeknown to many) in Britain who really are severely incapacitated and just do not fit Government's call to aspire and strive enough to help make the country better again by stacking supermarket shelves for a pittance.
These people will, understandably, want to appeal against a 'Work Related Activity Group' in the belief that they should be in the Support Group. A group where there is no mandatory expectation upon them to look at ways of getting back to work.
All types of people appeal these decisions, it goes way beyond the simplistic figures relating to new ESA claimants 'fit for work' decision. We need to consider something called the propensity to appeal....
Lets consider this a little experiment.....
The following table represents the total number of Work Capability Assessments in to those that were found 'fit for work' and those who were placed in the Work Related Activity Group. The table also shows the three claimant groups: (A) the incapacity to ESA conversions, (B) ESA new claimants and (C) ESA claimants who have been reassessed after their initial assessment.
By simply playing around with the percentages (pure guesswork) you can see how the numbers appealing in the different groups changes. The total numbers appealing against 'fit for work' decisions becomes 668,360 when applying 55% and likewise the total number of appeals for people appealing against a Work Related Activity Group placement becomes 96,333 when varying percentages between 9 and 12% are applied to groups (A) (B) and (C). If you add the total number of appeals ('fit for work' [FFW] and WRAG) you get 764,693.
Fit for Work
Despite the percentages being altered the total number of appeals (764,693) is more of less the same as the 765,764 appeal 'receipts' actually lodged with the HMCTS Tribunals. What this shows you is that whatever the combination the percentage rate has to be much higher than the one quoted by the DWP in the previous posts - it's what happens when the DWP 'forgets' to include over 450,000 unheard appeals in their 'results'.
From this we can see the overall rate of appeal is much higher than the 39% quoted by the DWP
If three quarter of a million appeals have been received by the Tribunals, you can guarantee there will be an awful lot more waiting in the wings of the DWP. We'll take a look at this in the next post....
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on May 9, 2013 8:07:09 GMT
The cost of benefit appeals must have soared
far, far beyond £50 million pounds a year!.....
A trusty ilegal follower has been doing a bit of research in to the cost of benefit appeals, it seems an appropriate moment to review the much quoted figure of '£50 million a year'. It's a convenient figure for Government because few people from the general public realise that it only applies to Employment & Support Allowance appeals. It's a good while since we put this under the Mylegal microscope, it's never been a figure I was convinced of as it always struck me as never being all inclusive of the costs associated in preparing the case by the DWP as well as the Tribunal itself.
We should be mindful that the number of Employment & Support Allowance appeals has risen sharply since the £50 million a year was last quoted. We've managed to get sight of a freedom of information request from the Ministry of Justice which puts the cost at £279 but this is based on a financial year ending 2008/2009, it is therefore expected to be substantially higher because since then the Tribunals had to take on many more judicial panel members, hire extra venues and increase its capacity to cope with the deluge of appeals which has gripped the country as more and more benefit appeals follow in the wake of government's perilous welfare reforms.
We have also obtained information from the DWP which confirms that their costs in preparing an appeal is 98.64 in 2011/2012.
It's therefore relatively straightforward to add the two together and arrive at a figure of £377.64, which then needs to be applied to the number of appeal receipts which have been lodged with Her Majesty's Courts & Tribunal Service in the latest figures (see above which are taken from the government's Justice site). In the three quarters of the 2012/2013 year the number of lodged appeals comes to 218,964.
We can therefore say that already, three quarters in to the year the cost of Employment & Support Allowance has considerably exceeded the £50 million figure. £377.64 X 218,964 =
Whilst the predominant focus is on Employment & Support Allowance, let's not forget we are looking at benefit appeals in general. If we apply the same figure for the full range of benefits which have been received by the Tribunal in the three quarters of 2012/2013
Quarter 1 = 102,282
Quarter 2 = 119,017
Quarter 3 = 130,607
Total so far = 351,906
We do the same calculation of £377.64 X 351,906 =
It doesn't stop there, the real cost of welfare reform has to factor in the costs of appeal over lets say a full parliamentary term. The figures so far have already exceeded the Tribunal President's estimated projections for the total number of benefit appeals by 2015. Tribunals are currently facing an avalanche of appeals as more and more claimants end up having to go to Court to fight for their benefits, the figures we are saying are far higher than ever before. Figures from HMCTS for 2012/2013 show the following number of benefit appeal have been disposed on up to December 2012.
2010 - 2011 - 380,220 2011 - 2012 - 433,633 2012 - 2013 - 334,287 * Only for 3/4 of the year as full figures not yet available
Estimate for last quarter of 2012 - 2013 based on average of first 3 quarters of year
2012 - 2013 - 111,429
1,259.569 Total to end of 2012/2013
Cost so far = Total * £377.64 = £475,663,637.16
Subject to estimate for last quarter 2012/2013
2013-14 - 576,700 2014-15 - 644,000
2013 - 2015 = 1,220,700
Applying the same costing at £377.64 per case, the cost comes to £475,663,637.16 for 2010 - 2015 and then 1,220,700 * £377.64 = £460,985,148. The total cost for disposed of hearings for 2010 - 2015 is therefore £936,648,785.
£460,985,148* Projections based on Tribunal president's report 2012
Cost 2010 to 2015
There is then the question of appeals which have been received at the Tribunal but have not resulted in a 'disposal'. The number of cases which remain outstanding has risen dramatically:
2007/2008 - 44,516 2008/09 - 66,383 an increase of 21,867 on 2007/08 2009/10 - 138,822 an increase of 72,439 on 2008/09 2010/11 - 194,152 an increase of 55,330 on 2009/10 2011/12 - 145,208 a decrease of 48,944 on 2010/11 2012/13 - 174,618 an increase of 29,410 on 2011/12
Effectively, despite 334,287 cases being disposed of in the first 3 quarters of 2012/2013 as of December 2012 there were still 174,618 social security benefit appeal cases which remained outstanding and therefore still subject to some proportion of cost. HMCTS made a significant reduction of 48,944 in 2011/12 in the number of cases outstanding but a significantly less number of appeal receipts were received in the same year from the DWP. the Tribunal took on many more Judicial panel members and staff and also increased capacity by working in additional venues across the HMCTS estate, the merger between Courts and Tribunals made extra venues possible within Court buildings with some cases using defunct Magistrates' court houses following the MOJ court closure programme announced in the October 2010 CSR.
It is difficult to estimate a cost to cases which are not finished but there clearly will still be a cost, this may arise out of adjournments and postponements, some appeals will be struck out and others will continue with judges having to make various directions as to how to proceed with the case. In all cases the DWP's costs can be included because the preparation work will have been carried out before dispatch to the Tribunal
Here's the FOI's....
Freedom of Information requests
Freedom of Information request 508/2013
Received: 1 February 2013
Published: 7 March 2013
I would be grateful if you could confirm the number of people who were refused ESA in 2011 and 2012.
I would be grateful if you could also clarify the costs of any appeals and payouts for people successfully appealing any refusal in 2011 & 2012.
These statistics include the number of people found fit-for-work as a result of completing a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) up to August 2012.
The unit cost to DWP of processing an ESA Appeal regardless of the outcome was £98.64 in 2011/12. This figure is sourced from the Departmental Activity Based Management model (2011/12) and covers staffing costs only involved with the processing of an ESA appeal.
Ms Ali Perlman-Miller Area Customer Service Manager & KILO, Scotland Region Ministry of Justice Tribunals Service Wellington House 134-136 Wellington Street Glasgow
Details of sender have been blanked out
25 June 2010
Re: Request under the 2000 Freedom of Information Act
Thank you for your email of 28 May, in which you sought information, held by the Tribunals Service (Ministry of Justice), under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).
Your request has been passed to me because I have responsibility for answering requests that relate to the Tribunals Service, First–tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber), (Social Security and Child Support Appeals), and which have been handled under the FOIA.
Your request asks for information relating to Social Security and Child Support Appeal Tribunals, and specifically asks for information as follows:
1. How many appeals have been concerned with Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in England?
2. Of these, how many appeals have been allowed (decisions of the DWP overturned)?
3. What is the total cost of the administration and hearing of all ESA appeals in England to the Tribunals Service?
4. How many ESA appeals have been heard in England by month since ESA appeals started?
Following a search of our paper and electronic records, I can confirm that this Department holds some information within the scope of your request however, following investigations, I must advise that the information relating to one area of your request (question 3) that asks for ‘the total cost of the administration and hearing of all ESA appeals in England to the Tribunals Service’, is not held.
This is because the databases used by the Tribunals Service (TS) do not record this type of information, broken down into the level of detail that you have requested, as there is no business need to collate such data. The high degree of apportionment of costs which would be required to produce these financial figures, particularly around elements such as staffing, accommodation and all other overheads, and the identification or extraction of relevant data would require analysis of these database records, and the creation of new statistical routines, as there is no current statistical report that would be able to produce these statistics. The FOIA does not require public authorities to create data in response to a request.
While we are unable to extract the costs relating to an individual or specific tribunal hearing or appeal type, we have, in order to assist you, calculated the overall average unit cost of clearing an appeal. This encompasses all benefit types, and is based on the overall running costs of Social Security and Child Support (SSCS) Appeals divided by the number of appeals cleared in the same financial year.
I can confirm that the average overall unit cost of processing an SSCS appeal hearing, based upon figures for the financial year 2008-2009, is £279.00, including overheads, fees and expenses. I must advise that the figures for the financial year 2009-2010 are not yet available.
This overall figure of £279.00. includes cases that are of a relatively high volume and of a low complexity - sometimes eight or more of these cases are heard in a single day so overall costs, including judicial costs, are spread accordingly. This also includes cases that do not require an oral hearing, and these are, typically, where a single judicial member reviews cases using a paper-only process, i.e. without a formal hearing taking place. The volume of such cases covered in a day is considerably higher than that of formal oral hearings, with the effect of bringing down the average cost of an appeal to that of £279.00.