Posts Tagged ‘Johndeee’

The DWP’s Refusal to Give the Death Stats for ATOS: A Political Decision

August 15, 2013

I’ve blogged several times about my brother Mike’s attempts to get the government to release the statistics for the people, who have committed suicide following their assessment by ATOS over at his blog, Vox Political. His requests under the Freedom of Information Act have been refused, on the spurious grounds that they were ‘vexatious’. Sparaszczukster, of Granny’s Last Mix and Johndeee have had exactly the same experience. They note that the replies sent to them appear to have been written by someone else, although the reply is signed ‘from the FOI team’.
Sparaszczukster states

‘What John says is interesting. My original FOI request was addressed ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ and the reply was signed , as was John’s, ‘from the FOI Team’. The reply sent in response to my request for internal review was written in the first person in such a way as to give the impression that someone outside the FOI Team had scrutinised their decision. However, this letter was also signed off ‘from the FOI Team’. I’m hoping the ICO will take note of this sloppiness and make some comment.The ICO complaint form asks specifically for both the organisation complained about and the name of the person who dealt with the FOI request which suggests there is an expectation of more than the vague reference to ‘FOI Team’ which the DWP relies on.’

Mike’s request, and the consequent refusal by the Department to release the figures, was raised in parliament in a series of questions asked by Anne Begg and Frazer and Shield of the DWP. Mike says of this part of the meeting that

‘The next factette knocked this one into a proverbial cocked hat: It seems my request was most probably refused by a Conservative DWP Minister, for political reasons. Take a look at this exchange between Dame Anne Begg, chairing the meeting, and Messrs Frazer and Shield.

Anne Begg: Who makes the decision of whether to answer a Freedom of Information request?

David Frazer: In some cases the decision is finally down to the Minister, but on a routine basis it is officials that will routinely answer and prepare them.

Anne Begg: Recently there has been a Freedom of Information request and a reply came back saying that it was a ‘vexatious’ request, and the department wasn’t going to provide the information. Who would make that decision?

David Frazer: In the first instance we have officials who will look at what the request is; they will look at whether it would produce a disproportionate cost for what it is – they will make that judgement, but I believe it will come down to Ministers to make that call. (He is saying it was a political decision).’

So Mike’s request, along with those of Sparaszczukster and Johndeee, have been refused on political reasons why a Conservative minister. The trail of corruption goes all the way to the top, as they say in Hollywood thrillers.
Mike’s article is entitled ‘Revealed: The Facts about DWP Lies’ and can be read here

Johndeee also says ‘Note also, I wrote to an individual but was replied to from the ‘FOI team’ although *I didn’t make an FOI request*! I just wrote a “what’s going on?” request for info. Seems like more than a few other requests for this information were made if they’re now answering with a form letter from the ‘FOI team’….’

It seems from this that a lot of people are asking for the same information, which makes the DWP’s refusal to publish the figures even more reprehensible and scandalous. The Freedom of Information Act was a piece of Labour legislation, modelled on Clinton’s over in America. It seems that the Tories don’t like it, and instead have retreated into their old position of cover-ups and obfuscation in order to protect themselves.

The Conservatives: Definitely not the party of open government.

Johndeee: Another Inquiry Given the Brush-Off by the DWP over the Deaths of Those Refused Benefit

August 14, 2013

As I’ve blogged about previously, the DWP has been turning down or giving glib non-answers to requests for information on the number of disabled people, who have committed suicide after having their benefits claims refused by ATOS. My brother, Mike, over at Vox Political and the Sparaszczukster of Granny’s Last Mix are just two, who’ve made such requests only to have them refused as ‘vexatious’. Another is Johndeee, who kindly sent me his correspondence with the DWP on the issue. Here is his request, and their reply.

From: John D. Ingleson
Sent: 20 July 2013 00:46
To: DWP esa analysis
Subject: Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients

Dear Mr David Green

Please can you explain why no more recent publication concerning “Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients” has been published?

This information is vitally important at a time of such radical changes to the to benefit system.

The effects of such changes to a most vulnerable group must surely warrant a vigilant investigation of the data if contravention of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons of Disabilities (which the UK ratified in 2009) is to be avoided.

Please advise at your soonest convenience.

Yours faithfully

John Ingleson
Tue, 23 Jul 2013 at 15:04

FW: Incapacity Benefits: Deaths of recipients
CC: DWP IGS FOI, DWP esa analysis

Dear John Ingleson,

The report you refer to was a piece of original analysis produced on a one-off basis and released as an ad hoc statistical note. The statistics it contained are not routinely compiled and the analysis has not been repeated. Although we currently have no plans to directly update the ad hoc report, statisticians and other analysts do monitor requests the department receives for new statistics and consider whether we can produce and release analysis that will helpfully inform public debate. The Secretary of State has agreed that officials should look at this issue with a view to seeing what statistics could be produced on a regular basis.

We can also assure you that Ministers will look for ways to ensure that we have a welfare system that is fair to everyone. This includes benefit and pension recipients, but also taxpayers. Ministers and officials have, therefore, been evaluating a wide variety of propositions, and they will continue to do so. Many factors need to be taken into account and carefully considered before any single measure is implemented. Ministers are looking at a wide variety of issues because they believe that reform is needed in a number of areas.

The reforms that are being implemented are wide-ranging, and involve the work of a number of Government Departments.

As Secretary of State in this Department, Iain Duncan Smith is focusing on how the benefits system can best be reformed, including the introduction of the Universal Credit for people of working age and how that will interact with the work of other Departments. Plans for the reform of State Pensions have also now been published.

Ministers do welcome all views on Government policies, and I thank you for your comments. Should you wish to find out more about the reforms, or about Government services, information can be found through the GOV.UK website. This will now be the best source of information about Government services.

Thank you.

IGS Freedom of Information Team

Johndeee’s comment on this bland, completely uninformative reply is the same Private Eye prints whenever they get a similar glib excuse from authority for a piece of blatant corruption or injustice: So that’s all right then.

The take-home message from this is that, despite their bland assurances that the government welcomes all points of view in this matter, they are not collecting information on this matter and have no intention to do so. This is probably because it would conflict with Ian Duncan Smith’s vaunted reforms of the system. The authorities’ lack of transparency on this matter is now a national scandal. With many hundreds of our society’s most desperate and vulnerable people committing suicide over the termination of their only means of support, the government’s attitude is deeply disgusting. This issue will not, and should not, go away.