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The Department for Work and Pensions office in London.

The Department for Work and Pensions is wasting our money again:

Documents relating to the government’s controversial fit-for-work tests could be blocked from publication after the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) launched a legal challenge.

In April, John Slater submitted a Freedom of Information request (FOI) asking for details of the ‘outcome reports’ which are completed by the private company contracted to carry out the tests. The reports would include information about the number of people with a terminal illness or limited capability to work subjected to the test.

The DWP initially said it did not hold the information but later argued that releasing it could damage the company’s commercial interests.

Since 2015, Work Capability Assessments (the official name for the tests) have been carried out by the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments (CHDA), a subsidiary of the company Maximus.

The outcome reports are produced every month by the CHDA and detail the outcomes of the tests from each assessment centre.

The Information Commissioner’s Office ruled that the DWP must publish the documents but the department has appealed that decision, meaning the case will now be heard at the First Tier tribunal.

(Source: DWP fights to block publication of fit-for-work documents – Westminster )

Firstly, this means DWP officers lied to the public – they claimed they did not hold information that had been requested when in fact they did.

Secondly, any company carrying out work for the government should expect to have that work reviewed by members of the public, at the convenience of those people. Labour intended to make that right explicit in law after previous attempts by the DWP to hide behind commercial confidentiality.

Finally, this demonstrates that the Department for Work and Pensions is beyond salvation. It is riddled with corruption and the only option, when a sensible government is returned to office, will be to break it up, sack the worst offenders in its ranks, and restore the Department of Social Security and the Department of Employment as separate entities.


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