#DWP no longer produce data for Hardship Fund – WHY?

In this month we’ve finally seen National (and even International) press, about the DWP’s refusal to publish the numbers of people dying after their benefits had been stopped. This is fully justified and it is with no small thanks to fellow blogger Vox Political for his persistence, that at the time of writing 80,572 people are demanding the DWP release these numbers.

Today in daily updates from whatdotheyknow,  another DWP response caught my eye, a FOI request enquiring about a statement from #Cameron re the Hardship Fund for claimant facing financial difficulties. The request asks several questions including what the Hardship fund is, the criteria for application and the number of applicants, both successful and rejected. The DWP’s response did explain what and how but… regarding the numbers, the response intrigued me:

Data on JSA awards was last published in September 2012 which stated “the number of hardship awards made between April 2011 and March 2012 was about 64,000; it continued with “A commitment was made to publish updated figures in May 2015 during the Work and Pensions Select Committee review of sanctions in February 2015.

Now I may be a little cynical here but if these figures were to be published last month – Where Are They? I’ve been unable to find them, and also tried to think of reasons for a delay, but in the end could only arrive at the conclusion the DWP are hoping the data update announcement will by forgotten.

Therefore as I’d like to know just how many claims and refusals have been made for Hardship Funds since March 2012, mostly because I think its highly likely there will be substantial growth in these claims? And also because this promise to publish data in the future, has been used numerous times before, including queries regarding the number of Benefit related deaths; I’ve submitted my own FOI

Dear Department for Work and Pensions,

In your recent response to FOI – Hardship Fund for claimant facing financial difficulties? made 28 April 2015 by JCG ; on May 29 2015 you stated “A commitment was made to publish updated figures in May 2015 during the Work and Pensions Select Committee review of sanctions in February 2015.”

Therefore, my request is where and when are these numbers to be published?

Yours faithfully,

JayneL

I’ll keep you posted.

#Together WE Fight for Our Survival

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “#DWP no longer produce data for Hardship Fund – WHY?

  1. Nice one Jayne. It will be nice to see what DWP response is to your FoI.

    As you state Mike Sivier has been asking for the death statistics for over 2 years. The difference now is that the ICO has told DWP that they must release the figures. The DWP appealed against the ICO decision right at the 11th hour on the grounds (within the provisions of S22 of FoI Act) that the statistics would be published in the future.

    S22 is a qualified exemption and states,

    “Qualified exemption, therefore consideration of the public interest test is required; ​Duty to confirm or deny whether the information exists;
    The information must be held with a view to its publication. Although an actual date is not required, there must be some evidence to substantiate the claim that, at the time the request was made, there was a settled intention to publish. It will not be permissible to argue an intention to publish the information when that decision was only made after the request was received;
    It should be reasonable in all circumstances that the information is withheld from disclosure until the referred date (unlikely to withstand if greater than a year);
    It is unlikely that information can be held back as a result of administrative inefficiency or to cover official embarrassment.”

    In my opinion, the DWP appeal is an abuse of process and has no reasonable prospect of success.

    In their appeal, the DWP have asked for a paper hearing (this means that a judge will make a decision based on the papers – no appellant/respondent will be present) Mike has requested an oral hearing on the grounds that it is in the interest of justice to do so. The over riding objective as provided by the statutory instrument legislation governing tribunal hearings (the Tribunal rules) is that justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. Mike is currently in contact with the ICO regarding this.

    The other thing is that the DWP have used the services of a barrister to prepare their appeal. As someone who is involved in representing government departments at the first tier tribunal (FTT), I can tell you that it is not the norm to engage a barrister to represent the government, save for those cases where there are complex legal arguments required and/or the case is likely to set a precedent.
    Even if Mike and the ICO are successful and the tribunal dismiss the DWP appeal, I fully expect DWP to appeal to the upper tribunal (UT) You can only appeal a FTT decision to the UT on a point of law, so it will be interesting to see what the DWP does in that situation.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Pingback: #DWP no longer produce data for Hardship Fund – WHY? | jaynelinney | Vox Political

  3. We will never get a genuine figure because if this was done rich it would show that the truth is that both IDS and ATOS are both guilty of 1000s of innocent disabled peoples lives where they were put back into work with the say so of private firms who got paid on numbers put back into work, as I have stated before this has not saved money but has increased the total cost when you take into account the appeals and all because the government wanted to get a 2nd rate option compared to genuine drs who are not even qualified to do this by law, only gp’s and other health professionals are but these privately hired firms do not fall into this, if the government left it as it was to peoples own gps then this would be a working system but because they wanted to lie and try to save money, this has now back fired on them big time and people are still waiting to hear decisions about money and then the stress of worrying makes them even more ill and depressed etc, I would suggest all disabled people read the rules about being disabled then if you are told to do something that is going to make your health worse, then you do not have to do this, go on the .gov.uk website to find this, it makes very interesting reading, also this latest thing I hear where they are now demanding £1000 back of people on benefits then this is nothing more than fraud committed by them and is highly illegal #Thenewrobinhood

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Depending on how much time you have on your hands you could copy and paste FOIs to every local authority about the local aspects of ‘hardship funds’ as they will definitely keep that information. Obviously it’d be better if DWP actually stuck to their timetables, but what are the chances of that happening?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Operation Catch Up | aspiblog

  6. Reblogged this on markcatlin3695's Blog and commented:
    It seems to me the DWP has lots of data it would rather not release. IMHO it’s unsurprising as the Tories went ahead with their plans to destroy, yes destroy welfare without any regard for impact to population. I’ve read that ministers disregarded concerns from experts re the Work Capability Assessment, so what else did they disregard? Knowingly and probably willingly implementing programs that they were aware could/would cause irreparable damage and in some cases death to 1000’s. When/if these facts finally come out, I feel those responsible should be charged with crimes against the people of Britain including murder/manslaughter.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s