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A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed the shocking truth that DWP staff are expected to turn down 80% of all mandatory reconsideration requests, even though almost two thirds of claimants who go on to appeal will win their case.

Since April 2017, any claimant who wishes to challenge a benefits decision must first ask to have the decision looked at again by the DWP. Only after they have done this and the decision has been looked at again can the claimant appeal to an independent tribunal.

The DWP claimed that mandatory reconsiderations would improve decision making and reduce the number of claimants who would need to go on to appeal. Sceptics argued that the measure was a deliberate attempt to place an extra hurdle in the way of anyone wanting to challenge a decision.

According to the DWP Freedom of Information response, there are two key measures used by the DWP to monitor mandatory reconsiderations.

The first is that 90% should be cleared within the (unstated) target time. The DWP managed 70.2% in the year to March 2017.

The second measure is that 80% of the original decisions should be upheld.

DWP staff have excelled themselves in relation to this target, with 87.5% either maintaining the original decision or reducing the award even further.

This is in spite of the fact that 63% of claimants who then go on to appeal to a tribunal will win their hearing.

DWP staff who fail to meet targets are likely find themselves undergoing performance management, the first step towards disciplinary proceedings and, ultimately, dismissal if they continue to overturn too many decisions.

It is the clearest evidence yet that mandatory reconsiderations have no purpose other than to try to discourage claimants from challenging an unfair decision.

You can read the full Freedom of Information response here.

Comments  

+1 #12 Sparklykoi 2017-08-26 20:49
You are not alone. Don't let the bastards grind you down. I've had many days lately when I feel like my life is over as I can't work and now pretty much housebound and broke. But, while we can still use a website there is hope. I've been waiting 3 months for another Capita appointment after I asked for a MR. Still nothing. Need to write again for an appointment that I will then have sleepless nights about. This site helps me when I'm suicidal as I find looking at the actual law etc puts things in perspective that not everyone thinks this is normal. I wish you well.
#11 Linda Howe 2017-08-26 04:13
Hi having my medical in 2 weeks I'm 60yrs old yet despite my fibromyalgia they just won't leave me alone. Last medical I had he examined me with my coat on unbelievable then told a pack of lies on my results I'm at my wits end and so depressed thinking of lining the pill bottles up if I don't win an appeal ...wish me luck linda
#10 kath 2017-06-13 20:24
i had a medicle in may and he told so many lies i wonder how he sleeps at night, he took 5 mins to examine me ,i have heard now that they have to say is it allright if i examine you ,he commented on my weight ,he must think i eat crisps for breky ,i am on tablets to help me lose weight,now i hhave got my esa form to fill in ,
#9 Derek4 2017-05-28 10:58
Quoting fil501:
I'm quite sure the tribunal service has targets to meet too, with hearings also being 'rigged'. The last PIP hearing I attended was a complete sham. It was plain to see that the tribunal had highly likely decided my points before the hearing, then cleverly created questioning that only allowed me to score those pre-decided points.

I honestly don't trust any of them! They actively focused on anything that discredited my claim. How they can call themselves 'independent' is beyond me, as DWP & HMCTS staff are all paid from the same pot!!

Tribunal's are completely independent of the DWP, and unlike the DWP, have nothing to gain and no incentive to reject appeals. This is why there is such a high success rate at tribunals.

One way to improve the situation would be to force the losing party to pay costs, where they had no reasonable prospect of success and could have been expected to know that. This would result in a big bill for the DWP.
+2 #8 Julie 2017-05-25 12:59
My husband is awaiting a date for a tribunal hearing, he was disallowed ESA in February after a medical assessment that was a farce, the report we got back was full of incorrect statements, they even had someone elses medical conditions in the report which I complained about. We went to mandatory reconsideration which of course as this website states was a fix. We then went to appeal but not heard anything about a date, does anyone know roughly how long it takes before you get a date for tribunal? We have received a copy of the papers that the DWP have sent on to the Tribunal and despite my informing the DWP of the error regarding my husbands medical conditions being incorrect on the medical assessment report they have sent the same errors on the paperwork that has been submitted to the Courts. Just hoping we get the decision that he should have had in the first place.
#7 Derek4 2017-05-24 16:35
87.5% is worryingly close to the probability of not throwing a six when you roll a die!

Perhaps decision makers are rolling dice to determine the outcome of mandatory reconsideration s, and this would explain their much faster clearance rate.
+1 #6 fil501 2017-05-24 14:04
I'm quite sure the tribunal service has targets to meet too, with hearings also being 'rigged'. The last PIP hearing I attended was a complete sham. It was plain to see that the tribunal had highly likely decided my points before the hearing, then cleverly created questioning that only allowed me to score those pre-decided points.

I honestly don't trust any of them! They actively focused on anything that discredited my claim. How they can call themselves 'independent' is beyond me, as DWP & HMCTS staff are all paid from the same pot!!
#5 speedy 2017-05-19 14:30
As well as trying to frustrate claimants with more hoops to jump through. There's also the current on going attack on the Tribunal Service.

Penny Mordaunt answered in Parliament a question on Mandatory Reconsideration vs Tribunal success with - the DWP only changes a small amount of its original decisions.... further implying that this means the DWP were also right in those original decisions.

Could be wrong on this? but it looks like they're trying to create a we're always right narrative to imply that there's something wrong with Tribunals over turning 60-70% of appeals they receive in order to reform them further in the DWPs favour.

It's not like they've tried to fiddle the Tribunal Appeal numbers before by removing legal aid in 2012 with which success ran @ 70-90%.
They also in 2010 started placing DWP DMs in with the Tribunal Service to pre-screen appeals after being received to reduce ESA successful appeal numbers.

My 1st ESA appeal in 2010 was caught by this pre-screening some 8 months after being accepted by the Tribunal Service. My last ESA appeal sent to the Tribunal Service Jan 2017 was reconsidered by the DWP in my favour in Feb 2017 - I have the letter dated Feb 2017 from the Tribunal Service telling me they had pulled my appeal due to a more favourable decision by the DWP. The DWP still haven't told me what that is yet - but they did send a text this week telling me not to send any more Fit Notes as they have the results of my ESA assessment?

So it looks like the new all singing all dancing DWP decision making is now not a 2 but a 3 bites at the cherry approach.

DWP DM original decision >>>> DWP DM mandatory reconsideration rejection >>>> lodge formal appeal to the Tribunal Service which leads to DWP DM No.3 actually doing a proper reconsideration before it's listed to be heard >>>> Tribunal Panel with a 65% success chance.
+2 #4 Blackcat 2017-05-19 07:28
Hi
I have autism

For my Mandatory reconsideration I made out a Pro Forma 'Statement of Truth' took it to a solicitor who stamped it. Cost me £5.00

I kept a copy and sent it for by recorded post for a signature.

I offer no opinion on the effect a solicitors stamp has on the recipient.

Confidence is high :lol:
#3 dukeofankh 2017-05-17 17:01
LIES
My wife went to one of the pip assessments and although she got maxim award :D (This site is a godsend! :D ) when we got her form back it was staggering in its lies.
On complex maths she was fine yet when asked how much change from a pound if you spend 75p she repeatedly answered 15p. planing a journey was another wonder as asked if she could get to Bristol from home (9 miles appx) she replied NO! and dam near had a panic attack thinking about. The whole thing is laughable but for the trauma it causes people already in poor health
+2 #2 Caroline 2017-05-17 15:08
I'm currently going through this. So many lies and contradictions in my report it's staggering. Going to c a b Thursday. Plus found this site and Another one really helpful.
Hoping my g p can help prove I'm right. Else I'm losing any mobility they only gave me 4 points! Yet can't walk 20 M without stopping/beongb in.pain and c o p d so impossible.
Not surprising due to atos having to refuse so many any help. Ggrrrr
+6 #1 tintack 2017-05-17 00:00
This proves that contrary to the DWP's claims, each case is not assessed on its own merits. That cannot be true if it's determined in advance that a certain percentage - and a very high one at that - has to be turned down.

This sounds like the original WCA contract the DWP had with Atos. For years both the DWP and Atos denied there were targets to refuse a certain percentage of claims. When the details of the contract were eventually obtained, it turned out that there was a clause in the contract which stated that the DWP expected no more than around 11 or 12% of claimants to be placed in the support group, and Atos were expected to follow that. The word "target" wasn't used, but that's exactly what it was, and that's what we have here in relation to the MR process.

You have to wonder if this is even legal and might be open to challenge in the courts. That said, we've seen before that if the courts find that the DWP has broken the law, that's no problem - the law is simply changed retroactively. Problem solved!

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