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Sobbing decision makers are desperately trying to persuade claimants not to lodge appeals following an unsuccessful mandatory reconsideration, a senior welfare rights worker has revealed. It is the first evidence that DWP staff are coming under pressure to meet targets for cutting appeal numbers for benefits including employment and support allowance (ESA), personal independence payment (PIP) and disability living allowance (DLA).Image of man saying Please, please dont appeal.

The DWP introduced a new, much more complex system for challenging benefits decisions in 2013. The mandatory reconsideration system obliges claimants to first ask the DWP to look at a decision again and then, if they are unhappy with the result, to lodge an appeal with the Tribunals Service themselves.

The new system applied to universal credit and PIP decisions from April 2013 and to ESA and other benefits from 28 October 2013.

Back in December 2014 we revealed that there had been a fall of more than 50% in the number of challenges to ESA decisions following the introduction of the mandatory reconsideration before appeal system.

The fall in the number of actual appeals has been unprecedented, with 92% fewer ESA appeals being lodged.

At the time we suggested that the fall in challenges was likely to have been caused at least in part by an array of dirty tricks being employed by the DWP.

Further evidence has now merged that, in the same way that Jobcentre Plus staff have targets for sanctions, decision makers have targets for preventing appeals.

Writing on the welfare rights workers website Rightsnet, one senior welfare rights worker reveals that two clients have told him independently that the decision maker was ‘in tears’ or ‘sobbing’ because the claimant insisted that they wished to continue with their appeal when their mandatory reconsideration was unsuccessful.

The senior welfare rights worker goes on to explain that two decision makers have told claimants:

“But don’t you understand, the whole point of mandatory reconsiderations is to avoid appeals because they’re expensive, time-consuming and usually pro-claimant and wrong. Even government ministers know that.”

In the past, decision makers were indifferent as to whether their decisions were appealed or not. It simply made no difference to them. For decision makers to be reduced to tears when a claimant informs them that they intend to appeal suggests that massive pressure is now being placed on them to stop this happening.

This is a time of continued staff cuts at the DWP. The threat of being put on a ‘performance improvement plan’, which could lead to cuts in income and dismissal, because too many of your decisions are being appealed, is a powerful one. It seems certain that, as with sanctions targets, the DWP will deny that any such threats are being made.

But, if they aren’t, what possible explanation could there be for the weeping decision makers?


#13 dpo 2015-08-11 11:10
I just had my mandatory reconsideration saying the self same thing as their first decision, as they didn't ask me any further information.. Both my GP and my counsellor have said I am unfit for work at the moment, but the decision makers have over ruled that and said that I am! its ridiculous the power they have other us.. the report their "health professional" had on what I had told her, had cherry picked parts of it to make it seem like I was lying too!. Disgraceful.. i really do wonder how these scum sleep at night.
+5 #12 zybbok 2015-02-13 05:02
Why has this current Tory government made such a massive part of its debt restructuring fall upon the welfare bill? It could have upped taxes, reduce the Foreign Aid budget, now 12bn and growing so fast that the government is struggling to spend it. Or better still get the tax owed from the dodgers e.g. Starbucks, Amazon and Google to name but a few. HM Revenue & Customs has identified £25bn of unpaid taxes that may have been wrongly withheld by corporations, of which almost 44pc are overseas companies. But all of that would have upset its core vote of the rich and well heeled classes who support it. This almost total assault on welfare and local authority services for the old and disabled people to meet their financial target (though they have missed it every month since they announced it) is driven by pure political targeted discrimination against specific groups of voters they consider unlikely to vote for the Tories at the May election.
+4 #11 Abbey2 2015-02-12 20:28
After the decision maker's paragraph of lies about me & it being looked at again but coming back containg the same lies, I will be taking my case to a tribunal as they have left me with no option. I have been on disability benefits for twenty years, I will never recover from my health & disability conditions yet they see it ok to call me a liar, stress me out & have to drag myself to a tribunal, well bring it on.
+3 #10 Annis 2015-02-12 10:23
One of my relatives works for the DWP. She hates it, but needs the job. She has already been 'spoken to' about providing too much help and info on appeals etc to the people she deals with. I suspect if they try to sack her over this, she will take them to a tribunal. Could be interesting.
+4 #9 Lucy Miller 2015-02-12 01:07
What IDS and the DWP are doing is not just pure evil it's also insanity! They're doing ANYTHING in their power to stop giving benefits to ANYONE even if they're completely entitled to them, and they're deliberately destroying the welfare state. As for the 'mandatory reconsideration ' rule it's just another horribly nasty attempt at putting people off appealing (which they wouldn't have to do if the whole system worked as it should and was there to actually help those in need) and sadly from the figures quoted it's working. The ridiculous thing is why should they have to reconsider a decision they have just made? This implies that they don't even know if they've made the right decision or not!! Also how can they have TARGETS for how many people appeal? EVERYONE must have the right to appeal if they need to!
+3 #8 tintack 2015-02-11 17:06
I've just re-read this:

“But don’t you understand, the whole point of mandatory reconsiderations is to avoid appeals because they’re expensive, time-consuming and usually pro-claimant and wrong. Even government ministers know that.”
So, a sham assessment designed to stitch people up is right, but independent tribunals are wrong? I'm not sure the English language has the words to express the sheer arrogance and delusion in that statement.
+3 #7 cqs31h 2015-02-11 16:24
they are deferring decisions for people who are going for renewals as they are so far behind. Absolutely out of this world. I feel that IDS and his cronies will regret what they are putting people through and their family's. What goes around comes around.

Good luck to people who are going through the process or due to be going through the process.
+6 #6 tintack 2015-02-11 14:05
I can't say I'm surprised by this. The appeals system is the one part of the whole process which usually gives claimants a fair hearing - and no, they're not "pro claimant", they're impartial. It's just that the rest of the system is so hideously skewed against the claimant that impartiality looks pro-claimant by comparison.

Fortunately we now know about this, and being forewarned we can resist any pressure not to appeal if we need to. But what about those who don't have access to B & W? Some of them will give in to that pressure because they feel intimidated. I shudder to think what will happen to them.

You have to admire the government's logic: a great many appeals are won when cases are scrutinised by an independent tribunal. To most people that shows how drastically flawed the assessment system is, but to this psychotic bunch the logical response is to make it harder to appeal. Here's a radical way to get appeal numbers down: why not improve the system so the right decision is made first time round, thus making appeals unnecessary?

As for the decision makers, perhaps they're sobbing at the thought of losing their jobs and being on the receiving end of the sort of treatment they've been responsible for inflicting on others?
+2 #5 JayneL 2015-02-11 13:23
Have HAD to blog about this https://jaynelinney.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/dwp-decision-makers-crying-for-help-or-playing-the-tory-blame-game/
+6 #4 adrian67 2015-02-11 13:22
i am due for renewal later this year and I will take it all the way if necessary. I wont stand back and be trod on

+4 #3 JayneL 2015-02-11 12:54
Unbelievable - how DARE they resort to this low behaviour - it these Decision Makers feel so bloody awful they should do the Decent thing RESIGN and join the '"whistleblower s' !

NO Sympathy left for them at all - I need all mine for the people I work with suffering from their work
+5 #2 John Gareth Harding 2015-02-11 12:14
I had the Dwp phone me on a Sunday afternoon after appealing against my award and I felt the woman was trying to catch me out and sort of intimidate me and basically didn't listen so I am going to tribunal with the help of diverse Cymru who assist disabled people
+5 #1 buster 2015-02-11 11:49
This is astonishing to hear however not surprising. What next? where will this all end? What is happening to our "safety net" - meant to help vulnerable people? The system is surely in real danger of becoming not fit for purpose and therefore collapsing - what will happen then? Why isn't there the political will to change things - to act now before it's too late?

I feel so sad and angry about what is happening right now, words can not describe my feelings.


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