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29 September 2009

Benefits and Work has received an increasing number of emails from people concerned about the failure to publish possibly thousands of responses to the care green paper on the Big Care debate website.  We contacted the website yesterday afternoon and, within the hour, more responses began to be published.

The Big care Debate website is published by the government and invites people to submit their reaction to the care green paper.  Since Benefits and Work started its No More Benefits cuts campaign the website has been deluged with responses expressing outrage at the threat to DLA and AA.

Around 2,000 responses had been published by 1st September, almost all hostile.  However, between the second and twenty seventh of September only one response was published. There had been technical difficulties with the site, but a notice relating to these had been removed some time previously. On 28th of  September we emailed the website asking what had happened to all the missing posts and within the hour posts from 2 September began to appear on the site.

We hope that all the missing responses will now be published and we’ll be monitoring the situation closely. 

Others have expressed concern that whilst around 2,000 responses had been published on the site by 1 September – mostly on the executive summary and Have your say pages - over 3,350 had actually been submitted.  This is revealed by holding your mouse pointer over the name of a respondent – the site then displays a comment number at the bottom of the screen.  It would be very surprising if more than a third of the comments had broken the rules of the consultation by being, for example, abusive.

We’ve contacted the website to ask for an explanation.

Some people have found that the feedback form, which moves up and down the screen as you scroll actually fails to allow you to send feedback at all.  Again, we’ve contacted the site to point out this issue.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t been able to use the feedback form, you can email your comments to:

careandsupport@dh.gsi.gov.uk

The Big care debate is, we suspect, much more the victim of cock-up than conspiracy, but we will continue to ask awkward questions on your behalf.
 

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