In November last year I reported I’d received my PIP award and disagreeing with it I’d contacted the DWP; due to the closeness to Christmas, the Call Centre staff member had put in my request for the assessment report and noted it was “my intention to ask for a Mandatory Consideration” (MR), this was so as I would not run out of time if post was caught up in the Mail. I duly waited for my copy of the assessment report, which arrived on December 23rd and submitted my formal request for a MR along with the evidence on January 10th. Five days later I received a letter dated January 11th, it had clearly crossed with my own submission in the post, it informed me the DMs had already carried out a MR and had, of course, upheld the original decision!
I duly phoned, well actually my daughter phoned for me as I was screaming mad, the next working day; Nicki clearly informed them, that when I had contacted them back in November, it was to request the assessment report, and on advice from the call centre staff member I was advising them I would be asking for a MR, to keep within the DWP time scale. She went on to quote a DWP response to a FOI that states:
“While a request can be made for a Mandatory Reconsideration by telephone or in
writing, under no circumstance should an approach for advice be treated as a
Mandatory Reconsideration request. However should this occur, any erroneous
request can be withdrawn once the error has been identified and any subsequent
requests would be dealt with on their own merit.”
The DWP call centre operator took down the details and said she would sent an email to the decision makers (DM), this is apparently the only way call centre staff can communicate with the DMs, the email requested they call me back and asked they review my initial phone call asking for my assessment report.
I waited to no avail until yesterday, when I received another letter stating, the DWP decision makers had determined my submission of evidence was a request to Appeal to Tribunal; this is despite the information in my reconsideration letter, the information taken during the phone call and their failure to phone me back!!
I immediately called them and spoke with a lovely woman at the call centre, she read the notes made, during the call with my daughter, and stated there were no further actions noted against it; she then whilst still on the phone with me, emailed the DMs explaining the situation and requesting another call back. More importantly she advised me. I now must initiate the Tribunal process within the next 4 weeks or lose my option to do in future!!
I now have to find the energy to complete a Notice of Appeal, and explain why a) it is out of time – it should have been completed within one calendar month of their MR (Jan 11) and b) I am actually asking FOR a MR?! What Fun 😦
From all of this the learning points are –
- DWP DMs either choose to ignore the officials guidance from the top or, are instructed by team leaders to overlook such
- It appears DMs can force people to appeal, rather than undertake MRs with additional evidence; maybe because this is more likely to change the decision?
- The DWP are a LAW Unto Themselves!!!
I for one am SICK of the whole Carbuncle of Welfare Reform?
TRUTH Campaign #IDSTimeForTruth SIGN – https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/investigate-ids-for-lies