Login FormClose

Free, fortnightly PIP, ESA and DLA Updates

Our fortnightly updates bulletin is the UK's leading source of benefits news. Get the facts about what's changing, how it affects you and how to prepare. Our mailing list is securely managed by icontact in the US.

Disability News Service (DNS) has uncovered evidence that DWP presenting officers are required by their bosses to try to nobble as many enhanced PIP awards and ESA support group awards as possible.

In theory, presenting officers should act as a ‘friend of the court’, helping judges to reach a fair decision.

However, we warned back in March 2016 when the DWP was given £22 million to recruit new presenting officers:

“In reality, they will be sent by the DWP to try to discredit claimants and argue as forcibly as possible for the DWP’s interpretation of the law to be accepted.”

This latest evidence suggests that we were correct.

A freedom of information request by DNS resulted in them being sent forms that have to be completed by presenting officers after each tribunal they attend.

Included in the documents are the following questions for presenting officers attending ESA and PIP tribunals, respectively:

“PO impact – Was SG [support group] award averted”

“PO impact – was enhanced PIP award averted?”

DNS quotes a DWP insider as telling them that presenting officers are being given the ‘target’ of stopping enhanced PIP payments and that this was placing ‘immoral pressure’ on presenting officers.

As Benefits and Work revealed back in November 2017, presenting officers currently attend 23% of all first tier PIP tribunals, but the aim is to increase this to 50%.

It would seem likely that presenting officers are being used primarily to target claimants who are likely to be seeking enhanced rates of PIP or the support group of ESA. In which case their presence has nothing to do with improving decision making by feeding back to colleagues and everything to do with saving money.

The use of the public purse to provide presenting officers to tribunals under false pretences is a new low even for the DWP. It demonstrates once again that this is a rogue agency at war with the people it was created to support.

We hope that this revelation by DNS will help to undermine the credibility of presenting officers with tribunal judges, though we suspect their standing is already pretty low.

You can read the full story on the DNS website.

Comments  

+1 #8 Windy days 2018-03-14 18:59
Typical tory goverment liars cheats a disgrace to this country
+2 #7 david willis 2018-03-09 15:43
Quoting Asbo:
Quote:

The Government should spend on helping us to complete these complex forms and to get the help, support and money we all truly deserve. l


But it was by design and through ideology that the government chose to slash benefits to the disabled and chronically ill. They're not going to help us - that was never their intention. 'The route out of poverty is through work' is all you will ever hear from them >:(
YEP THEM WORKING FOR THEIR OWN GAIN HAS CERTAINLEY HELPED THEM
+2 #6 Asbo 2018-03-04 23:48
Quote:

The Government should spend on helping us to complete these complex forms and to get the help, support and money we all truly deserve. l
But it was by design and through ideology that the government chose to slash benefits to the disabled and chronically ill. They're not going to help us - that was never their intention. 'The route out of poverty is through work' is all you will ever hear from them >:(
+3 #5 Meg3 2018-03-04 15:59
It is shameful that so much money as been spent in reforming the sickness and disability system which is now a complex degrading minefield.

When your ill and disabled your days are spent trying to cope and it seems days, months, years have been turned into endless form after form, appeal`s and trying to fit difficult and often complex illness into a difficult unhealthy point system that is already designed to trick.

Its shocking to now read the Government are investing into Presenting Officers to represent the DWP in tribunal hearings . What the DWP should do and to make it a fair level supportive and transparent and equal playing field is also have a Government Funded System for sick, ill and disabled so that those who wish to Appeal can have true and fair tribunal representation.

The whole shocking thing is how did it all end up here, why are the Government doing this to the most vulnerable in society they should be truly ashamed at the amount spent to date and the lack of support, They should have a public enquiry at the death and damage to date.

The Government should spend on helping us to complete these complex forms and to get the help, support and money we all truly deserve. Being ill and disabled is not out of choice and it is not a luxury, the help we seek through benefits is to help us to survive and it is about time the government stopped wasting money on large corporate organisations Atos and capita and Presenting officers for courts.

Thank you to this website and all who work so hard getting the information to us, and for those of us whom it effects somehow we have to keep trying to find strength to overturn decisions and write to MP`s, if we keep on then hopefully our plight will not be unseen or unheard.

God Bless you all
+1 #4 Asbo 2018-02-28 20:28
Quoting Crazydiamond:
Quoting Asbo:
Can I clarify, are the presenting officers there as well as somebody from the DWP? I know when I went to an appeal tribunal for my DLA back in 99 there was someone from the then DSS trying to defend the DSS decision, though luckily I had someone represent me.


The presenting officers represent the DWP. No other officers are present at the hearing and the purpose of POs is to assist the tribunal, not to influence it in the manner which they are allegedly doing, by discouraging the enhanced rates of PIP, or for ESA,,entry into the support group.


Well back in '99 the PO definitely said he didn't think I should get DLA or words to the effect. so can't see how this is any different
+1 #3 Crazydiamond 2018-02-28 16:27
Quoting Asbo:
Can I clarify, are the presenting officers there as well as somebody from the DWP? I know when I went to an appeal tribunal for my DLA back in 99 there was someone from the then DSS trying to defend the DSS decision, though luckily I had someone represent me.


The presenting officers represent the DWP. No other officers are present at the hearing and the purpose of POs is to assist the tribunal, not to influence it in the manner which they are allegedly doing, by discouraging the enhanced rates of PIP, or for ESA,,entry into the support group.
+2 #2 Asbo 2018-02-28 13:11
Can I clarify, are the presenting officers there as well as somebody from the DWP? I know when I went to an appeal tribunal for my DLA back in 99 there was someone from the then DSS trying to defend the DSS decision, though luckily I had someone represent me.
+2 #1 Crazydiamond 2018-02-27 17:27
Unfortunately, unsuspecting appellants who will make up the vast majority and attend without a representative, won't be aware of the role of a presenting officer, which to all intents and purposes is an amicus curiae (a friend of the court). This is someone who provides information to a court on legal issues involved in a case, and as has been mentioned, is not there to defend the DWP decision at all costs.

If there is clear compelling evidence that this practice is indeed being used by the DWP, then it should be reported to the Senior President of the Tribunals Service, as in my view the DWP are acting both morally and illegally with the 'misuse' of presenting officers at appeal tribunals.

You need to be logged in to comment