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PIP – living in the wrong area can halve your chances of an award

An important factor in whether you get an award of personal independence payment appears to be the area in which you live, Benefits and Work can reveal. Claimants in some postcode areas are more than twice as likely to get an award as claimants in others.

Low award rates
Figures released last week by the DWP show that the success rate for normal rules – not terminally ill – claimants, varies from 27% to 62%, depending on which parliamentary constituency you live in.

At one extreme there are constituencies where the award rate is under 40%:

  • Scarborough and Whitby 27%
  • St Austell and Newquay 31%
  • East Yorkshire 33%
  • Kingston upon Hull East 37%
  • South East Cornwall 38%
  • York Outer 38%
  • Barrow and Furness 39%
  • Kingston upon Hull North 39%
  • Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle 39%
  • Leyton and Wanstead 39%
  • North Cornwall 39%
  • Oldham East and Saddleworth 39%
  • Thirsk and Malton 39%
  • Uxbridge and South Ruislip 39%
  • York Central 39%

High award rates
At the other extreme are constituencies where awards are in the high fifties or even over 60%:

  • Weston-Super-Mare 56%
  • Berwick-upon-Tweed 57%
  • Brecon and Radnorshire 57%
  • Clwyd South 57%
  • Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale 57%
  • Mid Bedfordshire 57%
  • Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross 58%
  • City of Durham 58%
  • West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine 58%
  • Dumfries and Galloway 59%
  • Gainsborough 59%
  • Ross, Skye and Lochaber 59%
  • Scunthorpe 59%
  • Orkney and Shetland 61%
  • Na h-Eileanan an Iar 62%

No obvious reason
The difference is not down to which company did the assessment. Atos cover both Scarborough and Scunthorpe, for example.

It isn’t about one area having begun the switch from DLA to PIP sooner than the other. Scarborough and Scunthorpe both switched at the same time.

It’s also not that some areas have had too few claimants to be statistically significant – both Scarborough and Scunthorpe have processed well over 1,000 claims.

It’s probably not even about the fact that four of the five lowest awarding constituencies are Conservative – Labour are also well represented in the bottom ten.

Of course, you could argue that wherever you are looking at statistical averages there are bound to be outliers. So, there is no issue here, it’s just normal variability.

But if the same allegedly objective test is being administered in the same way by professionals with the same level of skill and knowledge then it’s very hard to see why they should come up with such dramatically different results.

And we aren’t just looking at statistics, we’re looking at people’s lives.

At the moment, it seems to be the case that sick and disabled claimants are likely to have very much harder lives if they live in Scarborough than if they live in Scunthorpe. And that’s not how the benefits system is supposed to work.

But there may be one thing you can do about it.

Ask a tribunal
The overall award rate for PIP is currently 48% nationally. If you are refused PIP and you live in an area where the award rate is significantly lower than this there is nothing to stop you raising this in your appeal and asking the tribunal to issue directions to the DWP to explain the reason for it.

So, for example, if you live in Scarborough and you’ve been refused PIP, you might include on your appeal form the following request:

REQUEST FOR DIRECTIONS
“I am concerned that staff assessing PIP in the Scarborough and Whitby constituency are failing to follow national guidelines for doing so, because the award rate in this constituency is only 27% compared to 48% nationally. I respectfully request that the tribunal issue directions instructing the DWP to explain the reason why the award rate is so low in this constituency. If they are unable to do so satisfactorily, I would ask that the tribunal draw inferences from their failure.”

There’s no guarantee that the tribunal will grant your request, of course. But, if they don’t, you may have grounds to appeal to the upper tribunal.

If you want to check the award rate in your constituency, you can download the DWP Excel tables of award rates here.

If you don’t find Excel files easy to use, we’ve created a simple table just of the PIP award rates by parliamentary constituency in Word format and a simple table just of the PIP award rates by parliamentary constituency in .pdf format.

Comments  

#11 lettie 2015-10-03 19:23
cannot see Conwy on the list.What is the percentage rate here does anyone know?
#10 Siberian Winter 2015-09-24 17:33
Having looked briefly at the suuporting tables and summary document, the figures for acceptance rates as in the case of Scarborough (27%), relate only to new claims under Normal rules. A claim is treated as new, until evidence confirms that it is a reassessment. For statistical purposes it is then redefined as such.
Award rates for reassessed claims is currently 76% overall. This would suggest that those facing reassessment would fair better than new claimants.
#9 Siberian Winter 2015-09-24 16:53
The underlying data tables which include breakdown by parliamentary constituency referred by B&W can be found herehttps://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/personal-independence-payment-april-2013-to-july-2015

I have not looked all of the detail but I suspect that some of the disparity in success rates can be explained.
+1 #8 Siberian Winter 2015-09-24 16:35
Quoting shimtoan:
Siberian Winter, B&W aren't spinning the figures, nor are they manipulating them.

All they are doing is stating facts and, unlike spinners, putting a link to the official government data.

Anybody can interpret the data any way they want, but it is a fact that Scarborough & Whitby has the lowest success rate.

B&W also did a good job pointing out that there is no obvious reason for the differences between areas, and no data was provided as to what types of claim were made in each area


I was not suggesting that B&W were spinng the figures. The problem withe a standardised assessment tool is that it tries to fit pegs of many different shapes and sizes into uniform holes. Whilst the bald analysis is based on goverment own data it only compares success/failure rates without any underlying imperical data to make any meaningful quantitative or qualitative analysis worthwhile.

In this regard, while the statistics tell a story, they may worry individual claimants thus adding to an already stressful process.. B&W DO A GREAT JOB, however it would be all to easy for them to fall into the same game as DWP...making numbers support the policy message.
+1 #7 shimtoan 2015-09-24 12:40
Siberian Winter, B&W aren't spinning the figures, nor are they manipulating them.

All they are doing is stating facts and, unlike spinners, putting a link to the official government data.

Anybody can interpret the data any way they want, but it is a fact that Scarborough & Whitby has the lowest success rate.

B&W also did a good job pointing out that there is no obvious reason for the differences between areas, and no data was provided as to what types of claim were made in each area
+2 #6 Siberian Winter 2015-09-23 13:20
There are too many variables within this data to make an effective analysis. Lack of information about overall claimant count; geographical reach; numbers of claimants who decide not to continue or renew their claims; overall performance of iindividual assessors.

Equally, do the % figures also account for those cases which are subject to appeal. I am not a DWP supporter. My daughter has a lifetime DLA Award so will be subject to assessment herself
My concern is that these statistics can be intepreted in a numbet of ways. If you spin them to suit the cause. It may equally do those facing reassessment more distress. Given that this is a major criticism levelled at the DWP. BENEFITS and Work may be charged in similar vein.

Anyone going for assessment should request a copy of the assessor's report. If it contains any factual inaccuracies these should be refrred to the DWP and challenged. Do not wait for a decision to be made, rather that your challenge and any failure to account for it in any decision is the basis of an appeal if the decision is negative for the claimant.

A failure to properly record claimant information that is material to the assessment is grounds for DWP to refer the case back to the assessor body as a quality issue. At the present time, that quality issue is actually being dealt with at tribunal and not as part of any effective contract management.
#5 Louise Mulvaney 2015-09-23 12:14
This explains clearly now why I was refused PIP for my Crohns Disease, as I live in East Yorkshire but had to go to Scarborough for my medical. Scarborough doesn't asses people who live just in Scarborough for PIP it covers a 20 mile radius of people claiming PIP for their medical assessment. Also the statement above in where we are now suffering and having harder lives is correct, since losing my dla and not been awarded pip it has had a financial strain on myself in which it is affecting my health to the point I want to get out of this country now.
-1 #4 wm johnstone 2015-09-23 11:18
what are the figures for east ayrshire
#3 buster 2015-09-22 23:59
Quoting micpra55:
This data does not mean anything in regards to long term claimants of dla. As the Scarborough and Whitby post code area. Has not yet been chosen for the long term clients moving from dla to pip.

Benefits and work should really explain this fact as when the long term DLA claimants are processed in the YO area The percentage figures should and will rise.

The article above does in fact state that there is no obvious reason for either the low award or high award rates; it says "it isn't about one area having begun the switch ("transfer") from DLA to PIP sooner than the other." For example, Scarborough compared to Scunthorpe. To my knowledge the transfer process of indefinite DLA claimants to PIP has only just begun, therefore, non of the areas above will include data for this process - meaning the data from all these areas can be compared with confidence. In other words - figures for Scarborough or the YO postcode which Scarborough comes under - will not be skewed by the indefinite DLA to PIP transfer process.

The YO postcode thing has got me thinking; 5 of the areas in the low award list above come under the YO postcode. I suppose you could say that for YO claimants - the chances are not looking good. Again, one asks the question why the disparity?

Buster
-1 #2 micpra55 2015-09-22 22:37
This data does not mean anything in regards to long term claimants of dla. As the Scarborough and Whitby post code area. Has not yet been chosen for the long term clients moving from dla to pip.

Benefits and work should really explain this fact as when the long term DLA claimants are processed in the YO area The percentage figures should and will rise.
+1 #1 buster 2015-09-22 17:56
This is both interesting and worrying; it can be seen that out of the 15 least successful areas listed above - 8 of them are in Yorkshire and 11 of them are in the north of England - is this a coincidence? I doubt it!
Maybe it's down to some kind of secret DWP directive; get all the regional DWP managers together and tell them they must operate a more harsher system in these areas to get the claimant count down? Of course if it is down to this then it begs the question why? I'm not sure why - although Scarborough is quite a deprived area relatively speaking. Is Scarborough being singled out because of this; maybe they have a disproportionat ely high number of PIP claimants per capita in relation to similar size towns? Certainly Scunthorpe is much bigger in terms of population. I doubt this argument can be said for York Outer or York Central; I'm pretty sure the claimant count would not be disproportionat e to population size in these areas, however, who knows, but certainly - questions need answering!

Buster

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