Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Sept 12, 2013 19:29:21 GMT
Over 1 million Employment & Support Allowance appeals
It's a catastrophic DWP failure
945,116 ESA appeals lodged & rising
Claimants appealing 60% of all 'fit for work' decisions
This is by any measure a serious lack of confidence in the DWP's decisions.
Latest HMCTS Tribunal figures confirm that between April 2009 (six months after ESA was launched) and June 2013 an astonishing 945,116 appeal cases have been received by overstretched appeal tribunals which are going further and further in to a rising backlog of cases.
The annual Tribunal backlog of all benefit appeals has risen from 44,516 in 2007/2008 to 204,304 appeal cases 'outstanding' as of March 2013 (an increase of 359%). The overall number of all benefit appeal 'receipts' was 229,123 in 2007/2008 and has now escalated to a shattering 507,131 receipts in the year 2012/2013 (an increase of 121% from 07/08). Despite taking on more judicial staff, running extra sessions and even working at weekends the number of benefit appeal cases dispensed with in 2012/2013 runs at 465,497 - still below the number of receipts, meaning more cases are being delayed.
With an average of 102,000 new ESA appeals being received by tribunals every quarter (the average worked out over the 9 months preceding June 2013) the total number of ESA appeal cases is now in excess of one million.
These figures must raise a serious concern over the DWP's standard of decision - making. One million appeal cases measures against a total number of 1,409,700 'fit for work' decisions (Oct 2008 to November 2012) - the sum total of all fit for work from new ESA claims, those subject to repeat assessment and incapacity benefit testing - one million appeals is over 60% of all fit for work decisions .
On top of which the DWP also has a number of 'reconsiderations' which it cleverly 'conceals' deep within its figures.
The DWP hides behind its own figures
Because the DWP cannot risk being further ridiculed over his reassessment of the sick?
The DWP has become very adept at hiding the truth.
After the calamity of Universal Credit this week, IDS is now precariously walking a tightrope.
Laughably, during the Public Accounts Enquiry in to the disastrously failing Universal Credit the DWP defended it's position by citing Employment & Support Allowance as an example of what it appears to do well.
They get away with their dreadful treatment of the sick with a lot of help from the Daily Mail who consistently pump out glossy front pages full of vile anti - sickness propaganda when they really should be exposing an absolute sham.
The ESA programme is an even worse calamity than Universal Credit. The new 'single streamlined payment system' (that's another story) has so far only affected a handful of arguably more resilient Jobseeker's in just four Jobcentres across the entire country. Whilst it's cost us millions in wasted money, so far no human harm appears to have been done.
On the other hand ESA has almost certainly seriously hampered the lives of thousands of individuals who've suffered as IDS tries to live up to yet another of his absurd visions - the minister continually boasts of getting 'two and a half million off the sick', yet the reality is that the numbers are hardly falling.
That's why he's no doubt instructing his staff to play the numbers game.
Under his perilous 'leadership' the testing of the sick has lurched from the wilder than wild claims that 75% of all long term sick were 'faking their illness' to more muted claims that it's actually 25% who are supposedly being found 'fit for work' - hardly surprising when you look at how ridiculously stringent the work capability assessment is.
What do you suppose happens to all these thousands of people found fit for work?
These figures show over one million claimants have taken to either appealing or asking for their cases to be re-considered; - it's a massive rate of dissatisfaction and what makes it all the more appalling is that at tribunals around 42% are winning their cases from the results in so far. The 42% takes no account of the separately recorded 'reconsideration' rate.
Is the DWP hiding its appeal files?
The Tribunals know 945,116 people have appealed
Yet the DWP only has a record of a third of them
They're having a laugh....
The DWP, led by the government of 'transparency', appears to keep a record of almost everything. Or rather a record of anything which appears to help their propaganda based case against the benefit claimant.
There's no way the DWP isn't keeping records of the number of appeals made. Every appeal starts off at the DWP so they are bound to have details of how many are in the system. They need to monitor payments and time limits for preparing appeal papers so they will have a system in place.
It's a no - brainer.
The Tribunal service has no difficulty in producing statistics which show nearly one million people have appealed up to June 2013 and yet when it comes to the DWP they appear only to be able to collate information up to May 2012 - now 18 months ago.
Why are they so far behind and are they deliberately keeping information from us all?
These figures must be available, if they are not then the DWP needs to explain why not.
The DWP's latest Work Capability Assessment figures published in July of this year are the key statistics upon which almost everyone quotes, they are the key source of information for almost all Parliamentary debates and yet they are missing thousands of appeal outcomes, politicians should be demanding the missing figures so they can debate fully on the facts.
The DWP also cleverly hides a fair numbers of its own internal reviews or 'reconsiderations' within its figures.
Astonishingly the DWP only has records of 332,400 appeal outcomes up to May 2012 of which it itemises 123,900 as successfully overturned cases by the claimant. They however cleverly hide a further 82,600 reconsideration cases which have also led to overturns within the main figures.
It means the DWP's 'initial' decisions aren't initial at all, they are derived from figures which already take account of 15% of 542,600 claimants placed in the Work Related Activity Group who have already said they disagree with a fit for work decision.
But what's really crafty is how each month the DWP record a number of claims where they record the number of cases where they have 'no appeal information'. It's a figure which ranges from 10,000 to 14,600 per month.
What's ultra shifty is how the figure only relates only to the month in which the statistic is recorded, claimants have a month in which to appeal (which can be extended) so unless the appeal goes in the same month's as the DWP's 'fit for work' figures it will be recorded as a 'no information' statistic.
The cumulative total of all these next to useless 'no appeal information hits' is that of November 2012 the DWP can get away with saying they don't know whether 514,100 claimants have appealed.
It's more DWP statistical dodging. What we need to see is a separate figure for the months in which appeals are subsequently lodged, the DWP will have the information.
The HMCTS data effectively catches the DWP as they have much clearer records of around a million appeals lodged with their figures - a discrepancy of around 600,000 once you've subtracted the figures kept by the DWP up to May 2012.
What we are seeing is the appeal 'arrivals' only at the Tribunals whilst the DWP hides even higher figures. The DWP has no excuse because every appeal has to be lodged with them first.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Dec 15, 2013 13:26:33 GMT
Official figures show number of benefit appeals continue to soar
1,021,572 ESA appeals lodged with Tribunals
Out of 733,900 cases heard 298,181 found in claimant's favour
The above figures only relate to to the astonishing number of Employment & Support Allowance appeals cases heard by independent tribunals arranged by Her Majesties' Courts & Tribunals Service according to official statistics released this week. The sucess rate at which claimants are having appeals overturned in their favour continues to be 43% which is an increase on the earlier figures of 39%. The total number of appeal figures relate to the period from April 2009 to September 2013 and whilst they exclude some initial appeals heard after Employment & Support Allowance was first introduced in October 2008 they provide an accurate means of identifying the large numbers of claimants who have since appealed against unfair decisions on their alleged fitness for work since the programme first began.
Whilst the latest quarterly figures (April 2013 to June 2013) from the Tribunals show a decrease in the number of ESA appeal receipts than the previous quarter, the overall number of benefit appeals show an increase in other benefits. The Tribunal workload has predominantly dealt with a huge number of ESA cases, this by far accounting for the lion's share of its overall casload. It's not inconceivable that the Tribunals will indicate to the DWP presumably in the interests of 'case management' they will need to limit the number of ESA receipts in order to allocate more time to other cases under their jurisdiction.
However regardless of any spurious government claims, the latest Tribunal statistics show that overall the number of ESA appeal receipts is still alarmingly high. The government would no doubt claim a marvellous reduction with 'only' 76,456 ESA appeal receipts in the latest quarter when compared with 111,817 between April and June 2013 but it won't detract from the fact that already in the first six months of 2013/2014 a total of 188,273 ESA appeal cases have been received which is already more than the 181,137 in the entire year for 2011/2012.
The sorry truth of it is that the Tribunals have a maximum capacity and are bound to have to put a curb on the number of cases they can continue to deal with from the DWP. The old addage 'you can't pour a pint into a quart pot' springs to mind as Tribunals become swamped with endless DWP disputes. Appeals for Jobseeker's Allowance may for instance have jumped by 51% in the latest quarter but overall the numbers are down on the previous 3 months. As always you have to be aware of the DWP's devious use of percentages - the long and short of it is that benefit appeals have reached massive numbers such as we've never seen before; the problem is it's now standing in the way of claimants being able to get the right result.
Overall number of all benefit appeals nears 2 million
1,925,146 benefit appeals between April 2009 & September 2013
Osborne won't be happy
All we ever hear about from IDS is how his wretched welfare reforms are all about saving money for the tax - payer. What you never hear about is the pressure he'll be under from a chancellor of the exechequer who only wants to hear of welfare savings rather than the hidden cost of reforming the welfare state. The figures from April 2009 are highly relevant to the true cost of the current welfare reforms because they include the hideous cost of so many people appealing against the dreadful Employment & Support Allowance which was first introduced by Labour in October 2008; the number of appeals has escalated enormously ever since with the Coalition massively increasing the rate at which people are assessed ffrom the older incapacity range of benefits - the cost of these appeals is going through the roof and hardly any one is saying a word to reveal the shocking truth.
Everything has a price and welfare 'reform' is no exception. Previous ilegal research revealed the true inclusive cost of a benefit appeal was £377 as publicised by the Sunday Express. With the mountain of appeals building the cost is becoming prohibitive and mandatory reconsideration will only serve to shift costs from a budget raid on the current combination of the DWP/MOJ to one weighed more heavily on the much under resourced DWP. Costs will become even more prohibitive with the massive administrative costs involved in adminstering many more JSA calims as appellants wait for the DWP to complete a reconsideration only to end up appealing to a tribunal anyway - unless it's all a secret ploy to concede on large numbers of inept decisions and escape the publicity normally associated with the deluge of appeals we are seeing now.
Let's have a look at the costs at £377 per appeal (using information obtained by FOI's from the DWP & MOJ).
1,925,146 benefit appeals X £377 each
It's a massive figure, nearly three quarter of a billion pounds of which slightly more than £127,883,301 would have been incurred under the previous government for the 339,213 benefit appeals brought between April 2009 and March 2010 and those brought in the month of April before the last general election. It's hard to understand why no one is highlighting the prohibitive cost incurred as the Coalition ramps up the frequency at which the DWP continues to make so many unnacceptably erroneous decisions.
The DWP's big 'secret'
Thousands of cases kept quiet
As if 298,181 ESA appeals overturned in the claimant's favour isn't enough, following much research and painstaking work examining the DWP figures, further serious flaws in the DWP's reconsideration statistics have come to light which throw in to question the entire statistical set surrounding the Work Capability Assessment figures which simply don't add up. These are already subject to a temporary suspension and a complaint to the UK Statistics Authority following excellent representations by select committee Sheila Gilmore MP who has already acknowledged this forum (via mylegalforum on Twitter) for bringing this to light.
More will follow on the Statiscal Flaw/ESA Chaos threads shortly.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Mar 30, 2014 0:13:47 GMT
Latest ESA Tribunal figure update
Over 1 million ESA appeals & thousands more awaiting DWP processing
The latest Tribunal statistics show that three quarters the way through 2013/2014, the number of Employment & Support Allowance appeals received by Her Majesties' Courts & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) already stands at 221,242 'receipts'. This is more than the figures for the entire years 2009/2010, 2010/2011 and 2011/2012.
The apparent reduction in the third quarter of 2013/2014 should be treated with caution as it coincides with the DWP's national roll out of their new mandatory revision before appeals process in October 2013. This means claimants are no longer able to lodge an appeal against an adverse ESA decision reached by the DWP directly with HMCTS and instead have to request that they formally review the case before a case is allowed to proceed to a tribunal.
The 'real' figures will not be seen until two or more further quarters have elapsed, the real test is to see how many reconsideration requests are being made by claimants initially with the DWP; something which the DWP appear to be very reluctant to disclose despite various attempts to get them to do so. What we really need to see is the number of reconsiderations lodged with the DWP and compare these against the number of decision which they overturn in the claimant's favour.
The HMCTS statistics tell us that the outstanding caseload for all social security & child benefit benefit appeals stood at 221,601 in the first quarter of 2013/14, 215,208 in the second quarter and 154,762 for the third quarter. Although the number of outstanding cases is reducing (after HMCTS taking on more judicial staff & deploying additional hearing venues as well as sitting on Saturdays) the latest quarterly figures is likely to indicate a substantial number of ESA appeals remain in the HMCTS system, of 154,762 appeals currently outstanding previous figures have suggested around 50% are ESA cases; it is therefore highly likely to be the case that around 75,000 ESA appeals remain outstanding in addition to an undisclosed amount awaiting mandatory reconsideration at the DWP.
Here's the figures from 2009 to December 2013, these exclude ESA appeals for the period from October 2008 which would be covered in the 2008/2009 figures....
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.Request a different format.
Here are the number of ESA appeals which were found in favour of the claimant:
Year / Quarter
ESA appeals cleared
% in favour
Number of appeals in claimant's favour
2012/2013 (3 Qtr's)
There are therefore, from October 2008 to December 2013, 334,852 Employment & Support Allowance appeals which have been heard in the claimant's favour - a figure which is well above the 125,600 overturn figure (for Tribunal appeals) currently being quoted by the DWP in their most recent Work Capability Assessment statistics.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on May 26, 2014 12:24:42 GMT
Disability activists need to wise up to the REAL number of ESA appeals
It's crucial to your argument
For some time disability campaigners & activists have been significantly under-quoting the number of Employment & Support Allowance appeals.
A figure which is often quoted is '600,000 appeals have been made'.
The latest Employment & Support Allowance figures are available on the Gov.Uk website and can be found here. The ad - hoc releases and statistical summaries will tell you very little, what you really need to be looking at is downloading the Excel data tables in order to look at "Tribunal statistics - October to December 2013 - tables". The relevant table within the data release is table 1.4 " Total Number of Social Security and Child Support Receipts by Benefit Type, 2009/10 to 2013/14". Within the table is a row against 'Employment & Support Allowance', which shows the total numbers of ESA appeals received at Tribunals between April 2009 and December 2013.
The total number of ESA appeals received by the Tribunals was 126,838 in 2009/10, 197,363 in 2010/11, 181,137 in 2011/12, 327,961 in 2012/13, and then 111,817 for the first quarter of 2013/14, 76,456 for the second and 32,969 for the quarter up to December 2013. This gives us our total of 1,054,541 - over 1 million ESA lodged up to December 2013.
The following infographic shows the key figures.....
The 'overturn' figure of 125,600 recorded by the DWP is much lower than the figure already recorded as successfully overturned by Tribunals in the claimant's favour. I make the figure to be 334,852 (rather than the 332,607 shown in the infographic - the difference being attributable to slightly different percentage rates) which is confirmed by looking at the same data set and looking at HMCTS table 2.7 "Social Security and Child Support Disposals Cleared at Hearing by Outcomes and Benefit Type, 2009/10 to 2013/14". In order to get the full overturn figure you will also need to obtain the two previous quarterly figures for April - June 2013 and July - September 2013. It is only the third quarter October - December 2013 which shows within the latest release.
The total overturns recorded by HMCTS Tribunals are for 2009/2010 (out of 50,791 cases at a success rate of 37%) = 18,793, for 2010/2011 (out of 127,114 cases at a success rate of 37%) = 47,032, for 2011/2012 (out of 168,020 cases at a success rate of 39%) = 65,528, for 2012/2013 (out of 224,375 cases at a success rate of 43%) = 96,481 and then out of 77,227 cases in the first quarter of 2013/2014 (at a success rate of 42%) = 32,435, out of 86,373 cases in the second of 2013/2014 (at 43%) = 37,140 and finally out of 83,202 cases in the third quarter of 2013/14 (at a success rate of 45%) = 37,441 - making an overall total of 334,852. It should be noted that this does not include any appeal figures for 2008/2009.
The significance of these figures should not be underestimated when we consider them against a total number of 1,488,800 'fit for work' decisions for all ESA adjudications made between October 2008 and June 2012 (the latest recorded by the DWP) as shown here.
What's becoming increasingly obvious is that the DWP is in no rush whatsoever to update it's own figures irrespective of these tribunal figures.
Take a look at how irregularly the DWP update their records on ESA appeals:(these figures are all taken from table 3 in the DWP WCA data tables which relates to the number of (1) upheld decisions (2) overturned decisions; and (3) total appeals on a premise that the figures relate to initial assessments only.
These DWP figures accumulate so 339,700 'total appeals' is the total appeals recorded by the DWP since the ESA programme began.
No figures produced
Now, lets map the DWP's record of overturns against that of HMCTS Tribunals
Figures dated to....
Increase on previous quarter
Compared with quarterly average derived from corresponding HMCTS annual figures
The above figures are preceded by different data sets, one of which was released in October 2011 at which point the DWP had recorded 69,800 ESA overturns up to August 2011 - a significant proportion of the 125,600 recorded to date. The DWP's evidence is contradicted by a Parliamentary report (based on DWP information) which put the overturn figure at 92,000 on new claims up to August 2011 (page 9)
Note: Although the DWP table 3 refers to initial assessments & fit for work findings at initial assessment, the discrepancy in the data between the WCA figures shown in table 3 when compared against those from HMCTS Tribunals cannot possibly be attributable to appeals in repeat assessment & ib/ESA cases because the numbers appealing in these sets will be much lower due to the higher numbers qualifying for ESA at assessment.
These are where the HMCTS averages are derived from:
HMCTS ESA overturns per year
April 2009 - March 2010
April 2010 - March 2011
April 2011 - March 2012
April 2012 - March 2013
April 2013 - December 2013
The DWP figures rise very slowly per quarter and show no figures from January 2012, therefore excluding the last quarter of the HMCTS figures for 2012/2013 and all figures for 2013/2014. The DWP figures purport to have aligned with the Tribunal figures but this clearly shows this not to be the case. The number of overturns have only risen in the DWP's records between September 2012 and December 2012 by a mere 100; yet the HMCTS figures for the year 2012/2013 would provide a quarterly average increase of over 15,000.
We also know from the Tribunal figures that in the October to December 2012 quarter there were 154,762 outstanding Social Security appeals; a major chunk of which will, by their very nature, be ESA cases waiting to be heard. It stands to reason when you compare the number of ESA cases lodged against those which have actually been heard.
And finally,the DWP are as elusive as ever over the number of reconsiderations carried out internally by the DWP. the figures have got more and more behind as the programme goes on. The table to look at is table 3 in the DWP WCA statistics which show the number of initial decisions appealed (overturned or upheld). It remains to be ascertained how the DWP are establishing initial decision results as distinct from other ESA claim groups in these statistics.
Don't let government ministers off the hook by under quoting the true number of ESA decisions which have been appealed and the many thousands which remain in the system yet to be 'credited' to the DWP assessment statistics - it's a central plank to the argument to ensure government is challenged on the basis of the right figures.
It's a also a handy mechanism by which the DWP is now free to hide thousands of embarrassingly high benefit appeal figures from public scrutiny by cutting out the tribunals. Her Majesties Courts & Tribunals Service was until recently publishing records of thousands of DWP decisions being formally appealed and overturned. There's no better example of poor DWP decision - making than the highly controversial Employment & Support Allowance. Entitlement is based on a Work Capability Assessment carried out by private healthcare contractor Atos Healthcare. The tests were widely condemned and branded as 'toxic'.
Benefit appeal numbers plungeby 86%
The number of benefit appeals lodged at tribunals hit over half a million in 2012/2013 - a record high. In 2012/2013, parallel with many of the government's hard hitting welfare reforms, 507,131 appeals were lodged by benefit claimants throughout the year. In the first quarter of 2013/2014, 160,077 appeals had been lodged. The Ministry Of Justice's latest figures reveal a startling reduction of 86% with the number of appeals lodged slashed to just 22,699 in the first quarter of 2014/2015 - it's an inexplicable reduction.
The government will of course tell you it's all good news; denying thousands access to justice wouldn't be anything else would it?
New appeals process - hiding rather than curing the problem
Does anyone seriously think the DWP has suddenly worked a magic miracle and arrived at a situation where up to 86% previously appealed decisions are now no longer ones which claimants feel they must challenge?
No, of course not.....
On the face of it, the figures look as though they are improving, it's deceptive.
The latest HMCTS Tribunal figures show that appeals lodged against Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) have fallen from an all time record high of 327,961 in 2012/13 to just 8,719 in the first quarter of 2014/2015 - a reduction of 92% on the same quarter in 2013/2014.
The same set of figures reveals the success rate at which appellants have decisions overturned in their favour continues to remain astonishingly high at 51%, in some quarters of 2013/2014 it reached 55%. It is beyond belief that the Government has pulled the plug on direct access to appeals when the DWP is getting so many of their decisions completely wrong.
Despite little evidence of the DWP getting decisions right first time, the government is now making it a mandatory requirement for claimants to get them to look over their decision again before they can lodge a proper appeal. It introduces further delay, denies the claimant the right amount of money and helps hide the state of chaos which is currently rotting away at the heart of operation DWP.
The DWP's latest Work Capability Assessment statistics provide little hope of the claimant getting their Employment & Support Allowance assessed; let alone a correct decision being made on their claim.
The DWP latest figures reveal that in the most recent 3 monthly set of statistics available from October 2013 to December 2013:
Of 189,300 claimants awaiting an assessment on their new ESA claims, the DWP has only recorded 36,200 completed assessments.
Of those awaiting 'repeat' assessments, the DWP have logged just 700 compared with 41,800 in the same quarter a year beforehand.
With assessments falling so drastically, claimants will be left waiting months for their claims to get properly decided. With no decision, the claimant doesn't know the outcome so they can't appeal or request a DWP review. The backlog in assessments continues to be a chronic problem which the DWP's new appeal review procedure can't possibly solve.
Having looked at the assessment statistics, needless to say further comments will follow.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Dec 23, 2014 21:32:42 GMT
Latest DWP mandatory reconsideration figures show huge numbers appealing
DWP carry out more mandatory reconsiderations than decisions against which claimants would have appealed!
The latest figures from the DWP confirm that large numbers of claimants are still appealing against Employment & Support Allowance decisions.
In October 2013, the DWP introduced a new appeals system to reduce the numbers of people appealing directly to tribunals. However the latest figures show that in the first six months of the new system, between the 28th October 2013 and March 2014, 59,900 claimants requested a 'mandatory reconsideration'. In the same months the DWP made 98,300 decisions on new ESA claims, 1,800 on repeat ESA claims, and 22,900 decisions on incapacity claims assessed for ESA - a total of 123,000 decisions. The new figures show that nearly 50% of all decisions have been appealed.
The DWP claim to be turning round mandatory reconsiderations at the speed of light so they can hardly plead a defence of the figures not aligning due to 'data lag'. Closer scrutiny of the figures show that of the 123,000 total number of decisions, 29,800 related to 'fit for work findings' and 18,500 placements in to the Work Related Activity Group. It is only these groups which claimants would appeal against as all other claimants were placed in the Support Group; a decision against which no one would generally appeal as it the most advantageous.
All of which leaves leaves the DWP with yet another unanswered question:
Why were 59,900 'mandatory reconsiderations' requested against 48,300 fit for work and work related activity group placement decisions?
Hmm, it's either because every single claimant being placed in either group (and more) appealed or because the data lag isn't as quick as the speed of light and the reconsideration requests related to 'stockpiled' decisions from the months before.
The DWP's new appeal system gives the impression of fewer disputes, but in reality it's all a bit of an illusion. If the same six month period is considered against the number of ESA decisions a year earlier (Oct 2012 to March 2013) we would see how the latest 123,000 mandatory reconsideration decisions compares with the previous 212,200 decisions on new claims, 79,800 on repeat claims and 279,000 on incapacity benefit to ESA migrations -a total of 571,000. The number of decisions has fallen massively.
It stands to reason that if you reduce the number of decisions from 571,000 over a six month period to 123,000 (around 21% of the decisions from a year beforehand) then the number of appeals would obviously fall dramatically. However the rate at which people appeals is what really counts.
The total number of reconsideration requests for the period from October 28th 2013 to October 2014 for all benefits is 362,500 with the number of Employment & Support Allowance reconsideration requests accounting for 177,100 of the annual total. How does this compare with formal appeals which used to be lodged directly with tribunals?
The following number of appeals for all benefits were received by Tribunals in previous years up to the most recent quarter:
Total number of benefit appeals
Whilst the number of appeals has undoubtedly fallen, the number of reconsideration requests at 362,500 for the first year of the new system is still very high. Against falling appeal figures at tribunals you have to consider the effect which thousands awaiting assessments in states of chronically delays are having on appeal figures (you can't appeal a decision until an assessment decision has been given). To put this in context, earlier in the year 2014 there were over three quarter of a million claimants awaiting Employment & Support Allowance assessments and around a quarter of a million awaiting an outcome on their Personal Independence Payment claims. It effectively means a staggering one million claimants were locked out of the disputes process for want of a decision.
Once the backlog floodgates open, expect a sharp rise in reconsiderations.
It's notable that Jobseeker Allowance appeals which had reached 51,450 in 2012/2013 have more than doubled with 108,400 reconsideration requests over the first year of mandatory reconsiderations - the vast majority of which will relate to sanctions.
Whilst the number of formal appeals to tribunals has fallen dramatically to 22,690 for the first quarter of 2014/2015, this should be considered against the reconsideration figures of 97,100 for the first quarter. The figures include 47,600 decisions related to Employment & Support Allowance. The ESA figures are artificially down due to the fact that the DWP has dramatically reduced the number of assessments since Atos pulled out of the contract to deliver work capability assessments. It is also noteworthy that the mandatory reconsideration figures contain no reference to Personal Independence Payment or Universal Credit determinations.
Curiously, the most awaited information relating to whether or not decisions have actually been overturned is totally missing from the figures, it's hard to see what the point was in even publishing them.
Mandatory reconsideration appears to be full of black holes as regards missing information and a far from complete picture due to the huge numbers of claimants awaiting decisions on ESA and PIP.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Mar 14, 2015 18:50:36 GMT
Latest tribunal figures show new procedure simply isn't working
An obvious ploy to stop benefit claimants appealing?
To say the DWP keep these results quiet would be a massive understatement....
Yet, the latest tribunal statistics from Her Majesties' Courts & Tribunals Service were published with very little fanfare.
Had they shown the reverse, they would no doubt have been plastered all over the Daily Mail and any other paper which would all too willingly stoop so low when it comes to painting benefit claimants in a bad light.
The figures show that for the most recent quarter to December, a massive 58% of Employment & Support Allowance claimants had a tribunal find a case in their favour, the same can be said of 51% of Personal Independence Payment claimants, 48% of Disability Living Allowance claimants and 48% of those who challenged the DWP over decisions in connection with their Jobseeker's Allowance.
The figures show that since April 2014, of 100,601 of all cases cleared by a Social Security & Child Support Tribunal, 46,015 were found in favour of the claimant; an average success rate of 46.3 % across all such tribunals.
What makes this all the more disgraceful is that everyone of those 100,601 cases will already have gone through the DWP's new 'mandatory reconsideration before appeal' process, a system which they promised would improve the standards of decision - making by DWP decision - makers.
Clearly it hasn't.
Here's how mandatory reconsiderations didn't work in connection with some of the key benefits in the 3rd quarter of 2014/2015:
Overturned in favour of claimant by Tribunal after mandatory reconsideration
Employment & Support Allowance
Personal Independence Payment
Disability Living Allowance
So that's the good news of cases which actually get as far as the tribunal.
Of those who do, you more or less have a 50% chance of success.
Of course, the emphasis of the new appeal procedure is all about reducing cases going to appeal and the DWP 'getting the decision right first time'.
When looking at the overall number of mandatory reconsiderations (published oddly enough without the results) we see that much greater numbers of claimants were requesting a mandatory reconsideration. I've highlighted the most relevant figures in red, none are available for Personal Independence Payments:
Spot the relevance?
Despite the fact that 6,014 Employment & Support Allowance claimants went on to win their appeals, (58% of those cleared by the Tribunal between April 2014 and December 2014), separate DWP figures show that from April 2014 to October 2014 a total of 113,600 had requested a mandatory reconsideration.
Doesn't it strike you as somewhat strange that of those 113,600 decisions, a much lower ended up being found in favour of the claimant despite a very high success rate of 58%? - I'd call it astonishing.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Dec 21, 2015 22:48:16 GMT
Hiding flawed decision making
It was Ken Clarke who pushed through the abolition of social welfare legal aid for anyone with a welfare benefit problem.
The passing of the Legal Aid, Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders Act was without doubt a tragic turning point in denying thousands of people, especially benefit claimants, access to to legal help when negotiating Her Majesties Courts & Tribunals Service as a necessary element of disputing thousands of defective decisions on entitlement to their welfare benefits.
No greater example of injustice existed than the DWP's highly toxic 'work capability assessment' focussed Employment & Support Allowance. I'd go so far to say it was and still is a silent killer.
Removing legal aid was bad enough, but what came next was in many ways just as bad, if not worse.
In April 2013, a new 'improved' appeals system came in. It affected Employment & Support Allowance claimants from October 2013. Called 'Mandatory Reconsideration' here's how it almost wiped out the number of formal appeals to HMCTS Tribunals, clock the figures (only a limited number are available).....
The above chart plots the total number of Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) claimants receiving a 'fit for work' decision against (a) the numbers of ESA appeals received at HMCTS Tribunals on a monthly basis and also takes a look at the limited number of DWP mandatory reconsideration requests in a set of statistics from November 2013 to October 2014. In October 2014 the number of ESA mandatory reconsideration decisions peaked at 19,200 against 16,300 fit for work decisions in the same month. When looking at the number of decisions which go forward to formal appeals at HMCTS tribunals in the same month the number falls to 3,900. Formal appeals received at tribunals for ESA had peaked at around 37,260 in June 2013.
Note: the monthly appeals figures are arrived at by averaging quarterly figures from HMCTS statistics.
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jan 2, 2016 20:54:35 GMT
No wonder IDS won't come clean over the numbers
Over half a million people still disputing DWP decisions!
Just as they did in the case of the DWP death statistics, Iain Duncan Smith and the infamous Department for Work and Pensions are once again obfuscating over releasing the true number of statistics showing how many people have asked the DWP to carry out a 'mandatory reconsideration' following a decision denying them their benefits.
The DWP last produced statistics for the number of mandatory reconsiderations in December 2014. It was an unimpressive release which provided no indication whatsoever as to how many decisions were overturned by the DWP following the introduction of their new appeals system in April 2013 when it came in to force for Personal Independence Payment & Universal Credit claimants, followed by a nationwide roll out for other benefits in October 2013. The system was introduced to drive down the massive number of appeals which were reaching Her Majesties Courts & Tribunals Service Social Security & Child Support Tribunals. Claimants had been appealing unfair benefit decisions in record numbers with over one million of them appealing against highly controversial work capability assessments used to determine whether they qualified for Employment & Support Allowance.
It's hard, if not impossible, to see how Penning could have made such a claim given that at the time no figures had even been released. When they were published in December 2014, they showed that between November 2013 and October 2014 the DWP had dealt with 362,500 ‘mandatory reconsideration’ requests (177,100 of which were for Employment & Support Allowance).
The separate PIP statistics show that between April 2013 and October 2015, 203,200 requests for a reconsideration had been triggered for the PIP benefit.
Only the PIP data provides some indication as to over the outcome of the reconsideration, the first set of data does not show whether the claimant was able to get the decision changed. The PIP data shows that out of 152,100 new claims cleared for reconsideration, only 22,800 (15%) resulted in the new decision making out an award
Bearing in mind the full set of figures has yet to be made available, it is beyond astonishing that the Tories are claiming success when faced with a minimum of 565,700 requests (arrived at by adding the two sets together) for decisions to be looked at again. It continues to show that claimants, regardless of the Tories efforts to block them from appealing to a formal benefit appeal tribunal, are disputing decisions in massive numbers.
Here, as always, are the figures....
Spot the big DWP headache?
If you follow the yellow line you can see how the number of mandatory reconsideration requests hits 140,000 per quarter, but remember this is only for the short period when the two sets of figures can be added together. The three red columns show the numbers of all benefit appeals excluding PIP. When you add in the PIP figures you get somewhere nearer the true number.
However, you can only add the figures for the short time that figures for all (except PIP) benefits were made available in December 2014 (covering the period October 2013 to October 2014). Note: figures for October/November 2013 and October 2014 are excluded to align quarters with HMCTS tribunals). The PIP figures span the much longer period from April 2013 to October 2015.
These figures should be cause for great alarm, not least because they are incomplete but also because there has been a massive run down in the number of Employment & Support Allowance assessments since Atos exited the scene in March 2015, before which the numbers being assessed dwindled. You also need to factor in a rising number of Jobseeker Allowance cases reconsideration requests running at 12,400 in the September 2014 quarter - fairly close to the 15,400 recorded in the same quarter for ESA.
Once Maximus starts hitting their target of around 100,000 ESA assessments per month and PIP really gets going, the inevitable outcome is a resurgence of the kind of chaos we saw when tribunal cases spiralled before the Tories attempted to block out the problem by reverting to these cosy informal dispute 'reconsiderations'.
One can only imagine what's stacked up and piled high in umpteen benefit appeal offices dotted around the country!
There's little point in asking the obfuscater, ....
Sheila Gilmore (then MP and person of excellence on the DWP select committee) asked Duncan Smith, after many previous referrals (initially prompted by ilegal.org.uk) to ministers and ultimately on to an upheld complaint to the UK Stats Authority), after which on November 5th 2014 she again pressed him for the long outstanding figures.....
What kind of an answer is this:
"Can I come back to you on that? I can provide you with a set of figures, but I do not have those to hand at the moment"
It was another blatant lie by Duncan Smith, Sheila Gilmore had been pressing for the release of proper reconsideration statistics going right back to the days before mandatory reconsideration. In answering Duncan Smith would almost certainly have known that his department would shortly be publishing the worse than useless mandatory reconsideration figures which they cobbled together and spat out of the DWP lie factory in December 2014. He knew very well what he was being asked and provided another ridiculously lame answer.
The reason Duncan Smith is wilfully playing cat and mouse with these statistics is obvious to him but all too often overlooked or perhaps not recognised by campaigners.
Central to any assessment (be it the work capability assessment or for PIP) is the (a) assessment itself (this is our true assessment outcome), next follows (b) the decision - maker's initial decision, then (if subject to dispute) (c) the reconsideration (mandatory from 2013) and then (if subject to ongoing dispute beyond reconsideration) the (d) appeal.
Until all four results are known, none of us are any the wiser as to how to pinpoint any problems in the decision process. Given the limited amount of information made available by the DWP, it is impossible to say whether the process is improving, getting worse or remaining just the same.
It's also impossible to determine whether the (a) assessment outcomes are perhaps born out an a degree of 'contract bending' between the DWP and Healthcare Assessors. Who's to say that Atos and Maximus aren't simply being told how many of the 'right results' they need to deliver to the DWP?
Any trace of which remains well and truly hidden so long as IDS remains able to hide the evidence which would show up the problem. I think some campaigners would call it a question of 'balancing the norms', more of which will follow in another post.