hmm 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. well we know greyling left the dwp to head off at the pass the multable help you get from cab and welfare advisors but sadly it took time for people to learn this new way of appealing now they now more appeals is the norm now not head down iv lost farcicle rtu ids cannot give the truth out has he doesnt now it himself has a profesional liar of the truth yet hes still in a job must be either hes got the dirt on his betters or hes just another devil in his job but we know more and more are fighting back against tory injustice jeff3
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Jan 5, 2016 23:23:52 GMT
Benefits 'appeal centre' turns out to be nothing more than a Royal Mail sorting office in Bradford!
Thousands of benefit claimants attempting to appeal against decisions denying them vital benefits such as the government’s controversial Employment & Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payments are likely to be incensed to learn that their highly sensitive & confidential appeals are ending up in the hands of Royal Mail staff rather than the judicial clerks of Her Majesties Courts & Tribunals Service who they are instructed to write to when lodging formal appeals.
Iain Duncan Smith introduced a controversial new appeals system called 'mandatory reconsideration' in April 2013 for Personal Independence Payments and other benefits in a national roll out from October 2013. The new system means claimants have to ask the Department for Work & Pensions to review a decision first before they can formally appeal to one of Her Majesties Courts & Tribunals Service's independent Tribunals. Following the government's highly controversial welfare reforms, the number of formal benefit appeals had risen to record levels with over 1.8 million cases ending up before them since April 2010; many achieving very successful outcomes.
The internet is awash with stories of their mandatory reconsiderations either going astray, being problematic, or taking a long time to process.....
There are similar stories all over Twitter and Facebook, I've certainly seen more than my fair share of appeals after lodging the necessary mandatory reconsideration notices either going missing or being painfully slow to process. It's astonishing why proper appeals have fallen to such low levels when the DWP's latest figures on Personal Independence Payments (PIP) show only 22,800 out of 152,100 reconsiderations results in a favourable decision being given by the DWP - especially when 60% of the PIP cases which do go to Tribunal are succeeding.
The new process replaced one simple appeal form with up to twelve pages of paperwork which claimants, many of whom have profound mental and physical disabilities, struggle to make sense of. Claimants are asked to gather their own supporting evidence with far fewer advice agencies able to provide help due to drastically cut back funding before forwarding on to the Her Majesties Courts & Tribunals ‘Appeals Centre’ at Bradford which deals with all social security & child support benefit appeals for England & Wales.
Benefit claimants are directed to send their appeal to Her Majesties Courts & Tribunals Centre in Bradford.
Using the postcode, it can be revealed that the appeals centre is no more than a largish warehouse building on an industrial estate in Bradford:
A closer look reveals all:
It's not an appeals centre at all, it's Royal Mail sorting office called 'Bradford North'
So, now you know. If you want to know how your appeal is going, just ask the postie! - it'll probably be easier to visit the centre than send anything via the post or attempting to phone them, and forget emailing them - they don't even have an email address!
Later edit: In response to one or two comments relating to the use of Post Box addresses.
The issue raised by the use of the Bradford North sorting office as an HMCTS 'Appeals Centre' are serious concerns over not only confidential but highly important legal documentation relating to appeals affecting people's rights to have their benefits lawfully determined by an independent tribunal. At no stage is the claimant/appellant made aware that their appeals are being handled by a third party contractor and thus consent issues do arise. It is also apparent that the PO Box in Bradford in Bradford is not one for a separate HMCTS 'appeals centre' but one where the Royal Mail is (presumably) directly undertaking responsibility for the receipt and distribution of people's appeals to the relevant HMCTS Regional Appeal Centres around the country. This potentially involves making decisions over for instance whether the received appeal is 'valid', a decision generally made by judicial staff rather than staff of the Royal Mail.
Legally, questions also arise over the 'service' of documents which generally can be done in variety of ways, including electronically, within the HMCTS courts & tribunals estate - Bradford being an exception because it has no means of electronically receiving an appeal.
Concern has also been raised over queues at the Bradford North office, which surely puts a question mark over the Royal Mail's capacity to be able to deal with the vast number of appeals which are likely to be received when all claimants from England & Wales are required to lodge their appeals at a single sorting office handling a variety of correspondence beyond that received as an HMCTS 'appeals centre' .
Despite the DWP's 'mandatory reconsideration obstacle course' introduced in October 2013, which led to a dramatic fall in the number of benefit appeals going forward to independent tribunals, the latest figures show that we are now starting to see more and more people putting their faith in the Tribunal as appeal figures start to climb.
It's a clear sign that people are placing limited faith in the DWP arriving at the right decision, hardly surprising given how they invariably turn people down by stubbornly keeping to their original decision.
The following chart shows the massive drop from an all time high of 507,131 appeals received in 2012/13 down to 112,082 in 2014/15. The good news is this is now being countered with 157,145 appeals received in 2015/16. The figures for the first three quarters of 2016/2017 are already amounting to 159,720 showing the figures are continuing to climb.
The 3rd quarter in 2016/17 shows 60,577 benefit appeals were received at Tribunals, well up on the 41,406 received during the same quarter in year 2015/16.
So appeals are on the up.
Record percentages of claimants are winning their cases by overturning the DWP's decision
Not only are the numbers up, the percentage of claimants winning their cases by successfully overturning the DWP's decision is at a record level in nearly all of the mainstream benefits.
The latest quarterly figures (3rd quarter 2016/17) show the following success rates in the following key benefits:
Employment & Support Allowance - 68%
Personal Independence Payments - 65%
Disability Living Allowance - 56%
Universal Credit - 49%
When looking at the annual figures for 2015/16, the success rates for Employment & Support Allowance stood at 58% with 28,949 claimants winning their cases, with 61% (30,263) of Personal Independence Payments claimants also winning their cases. In Disability Living Allowance cases 4,113 claimants won their cases at a success rate of 56%.
The release of these figures provides a useful opportunity to see how the Tories revolutionary new 'Universal Credit' stands up to judicial scrutiny. In 2015/16 of 243 cases, 136 (56%) were found in favour of the DWP with 106 (44%) of claimants winning their cases. In the first three quarters of 2016/17, 571 Universal Credit claimants had their appeals cleared by Tribunals with 328 (57%) being found in the DWP's favour - it's alarming to see a success rate of close to 43% in the claimant's favour being recorded so early in to the life of a new benefit which was intended to resolve defective decision - making.
Figures like these are the polar opposite of the derisory number of decisions overturned by the DWP in their deeply problematic mandatory reconsideration disputes process.
It's a clear message to claimants to do all in their power to make sure they have their day in the Tribunal, it seems like the emergence of a fightback as more people seem willing to take the State on, perhaps this can be partially attributed to the ever growing number of online forums which are springing up and providing a supportive role in encouraging claimants to fight their cases.
In my next post I'll cover the latest appeal and mandatory reconsideration figures for the continually chaotic Employment and Support Allowance.
while more are finding their way around this hurdle with the dwp we still have those dwp devils coming into picture shortly who will be helping these tribunal panels on hot to that another kick to come