Full Fact’s ‘fit for work’ coverage is unfit for use as toilet paper


Here’s a slimy little article for you: Sam Ashworth-Hayes’ piece on the benefit deaths at Full Fact.

The fact-checking website set him to respond to reporting of the DWP’s statistical release on incapacity benefit-related deaths, and he’s done a proper little cover-up job.

“It was widely reported that thousands of people died within weeks of being found ‘fit for work’ and losing their benefits,” he scribbled.

“This is wrong.

“Within weeks of ending a claim, not within weeks of an assessment.”

Not true – unless Sam is saying the DWP has failed to answer my Freedom of Information request properly.

If Sam had bothered to check the FoI request to which the DWP was responding, he would have seen that it demanded the number of ESA claimants who had died since November 2011, broken down into categories including those who had been found fit for work and those who had had an appeal completed after a ‘fit for work’ decision.

The date the claim ended is irrelevant; the fact that they were found fit for work and then died is the important part.

If the DWP finds someone fit for work, then it ends the claim anyway, you see. Obviously.

But Sam continues: “If someone is found fit for work, they can appeal the decision, and continue to receive ESA during the appeal process. There is no way of telling how long after the start of the appeal process those claims ended.”

Not true.

The statistical release covers those who had had such an appeal completed and then died – 1,360 of them. The release does not state that they should be considered separately from those who had a fit for work decision, meaning that this is one of several areas in which the release is not clear. In order to err on the side of caution, This Writer has chosen not to add them to the 2,650 total of those found fit for work. Any who were still deemed to be fit for work after their appeal ended, I have deemed to be among the 2,650.

The release most emphatically does not mention those who had appealed against a fit for work decision, but the appeal was continuing when they died, as Sam implies. The DWP asked me to alter my request to exclude them, and I agreed to do so. Therefore Sam’s claim is false. Nobody included in these figures died mid-appeal. Some died after being found fit for work again. Some died after winning their appeal and while they were continuing to receive their benefit – but they do not skew the figures because they aren’t added onto the number we already had (we don’t know how many of them succeeded because the DWP has chosen to follow the letter of the FoI request and has not provided that information). The outcome of the appeal is, therefore, irrelevant.

The point is, the decision that they were fit for work was wrong, because they died.

Let’s move on. Under a section entitled Mortality rates matter, Sam burbles:

“If 2,380 people were found fit for work from late 2011 to early 2014, and all 2,380 subsequently died in the process of challenging that decision, that would indicate that something was almost certainly going wrong in the assessment process.”

2,380? He means 2,650! For a person supposedly checking the facts, this was an elemental mistake to make.

“But if 2 million people were found to be fit for work, there would be less concern that the assessment process was going wrong; one in 1,000 dying could just be the result of the ‘normal’ level of accident, misfortune and sudden illness.

“If we want to know if people found fit for work are more likely to die than the general population, then age-standardised mortality rates would let us make that comparison while adjusting for differences in age and gender.

“Unfortunately, the DWP has not published an age-standardised mortality rate for those found ‘fit for work’.”

Fortunately, This Writer has been directed to a site whose author has attempted just that. This person states that the problem is that we don’t know how many people were found fit for work in total – only that there were 742,000 such decisions during the period in question. This would suggest that the number of people dying within the two-week period used by the DWP is 0.35 per cent of the total. We know that there were 74,600 deaths among the general working-age population in 2013 – a population totalling around 39 million – meaning the chance of dying within any two-week period was 0.007 per cent. So, using these crude figures, the probability of an incapacity benefits claimant dying after being found fit for work is no less than 50 times higher than for the working-age population as a whole, and probably much higher.

So sure, if Sam thinks mortality rates matter, let him look at that.

His article isn’t fit to be toilet paper, though.

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  1. Brian August 28, 2015 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    I’ve read Full Fact statements since donating to them on Pre-election Welfare Reform issues with dismay, as they tended not to get to grips or follow up on the the real questions, regarding them as unquantifiable rhetoric.

    However, since when have this Government given any reliable data. HMG is making a nonsense of public disclosure. I’d be surprised if they actually know the facts themselves, never mind have any to use intelligently.

    If this is typical of Fill Fact’s approach I’d be reluctant, to say the least, to contribute again. Empirical evidence is no less valid than the written word, it is this that frightens the likes of IDS, because eventually it demands an invigilated response.

  2. Nick August 28, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

    I would say that SAM has never had any dealings with the DWP by what he has written as the way they act would depend on who you were speaking with

    Those over the age of 50 with 25 years of experience are in the main very good they are normally senior managers and can intemperate quite well on the whole picture and get things sorted out fast in one way or another

    The average members of staff thou are very poor in everything in that they undertake and coupled with no knowledge of computer systems they can spam you out 10 letters a month or more for months on end all with the same clap trap( Thank you for writing to us ) when you haven’t in the first place

    You then like a fool phone them up to tell them and then they spam you with dozens of more letters (thank you for letting us know your change of circumstance)

    As i say complete garbage year in year out it’s no wonder my weight went down to 6 stone

    Anyone who believes in IDS or the DWP is a fool today and yet once upon a time up until 2007 things were not so bad with the overall quality of staff very good like sending one of the local staff to my house just to make sure i was ok and receiving the correct benefit and filling out my forms for the next 5 years

    Prior to 2007 most of the country had a local DWP office where you just popped in with any query and it was dealt with over the counter

    Today tho what a nightmare with thousands of lives lost and no matter what IDS has to say you can be certain that i know the full picture and thousands of more lives will be lost in the yeas ahead guaranteed

  3. weavehole August 28, 2015 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    Thanks for all your hard work. You could well save lives in the future because of it.

    I’m still not completely convinced on some of the comparative statistics though. The figure fullfact gives of 2380 comes from here:


    and in footnote 3 it says the dates range from 2 to 6 weeks. How would this affect your comparison of deaths being 50 times higher than they ‘should’ be?

    At best 16 times higher?

    Please understand, I’m only after clarity and the truth (or just correcting my own errors) not trying to belittle your excellent work and tenacity.

    • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 12:15 pm - Reply

      The 2,380 figure relates only to deaths in the two-week range. Why at best 16 times higher? I got the figures from a poster on RightsNet, who seemed, at least, to know what he was about.

      • weavehole August 29, 2015 at 1:36 pm - Reply

        One of us is reading it wrong then (quite possibly me). In the link, specifically footnote 3, it says 2380 is number of deaths within 2 to 6 weeks of being labelled fit to work.

        To get the figure of 50 times higher than in the working age population you (or the RightsNet people) were dividing the 2013 figures by 26 to get a two week figure. As I understood it anyway.

        If those figures are not just for two weeks (actually between 2 and 6 to some unspecified degree) then it changes the conclusions a bit. Not to a level that seems to clear the government of wrongdoing as far as I can tell though.

        I’ve just been concerned that people are getting very angry (probably quite rightly) without knowing the full picture for example saying the figure should be zero deaths, which suggests that fit people never die.

        Without proper statistical analysis the figures that are appearing in newspapers don’t seem to prove anything one way or the other. Your notes above which were originally a comment on a previous thread were the first decent attempt I had seen to put the numbers in perspective but I’m still not convinced that they are perfect.

        Not sure I’m making full sense here. :)

        • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 3:20 pm - Reply

          Footnote 3 says fortnightly for people on ESA, and the 2,380 figure relates to people on ESA. So you can forget any longer time period. The figures are NOT for between 2-6 weeks. So the conclusions are unchanged. I’ve covered the “there should be zero deaths” issue elsewhere – the worst that could be applied is the normal death rate for the working-age population.
          Looking at the figures in the ASMR statistical release, I’m getting different numbers from the person on RightsNet, so I’m starting to think they may have been mistaken. However, the ideas are a good start and have got people talking.

    • Florence August 30, 2015 at 3:17 pm - Reply

      The figures are meant to confuse. I’m looking at page 8 / 9, footnote 3, which says:-

      “Date of death: The WPLS records all claimants and uses information from a series of regular scans from the benefit payment systems, fortnightly for ESA and six-weekly for IB/SDA. The claim end date is sometimes missing and has to be estimated as a date between the scans and to account for this we have identified those whose date of death is up to 14 days after the claim end date for ESA and up to 42 days for IB/SDA. ”

      This is clearly referring only to the intervals at which data on deaths is loaded into the system from the different sources. It uses the death data to match the end of claim data. Where they do not have an end of claim, but a claimant is on the deaths data, they estimate the end of claim date, ie death, as happening since the last upload. Closing claims / off flow is one of the reasons this data is uploaded and compared to the live / off-flow claims.

      The “2 – 6 weeks” thus does not give any information about when the WCA was, just how often ‘claim end’ data was matched to a death between 2011 and 2014.

      At this point it must be noted that claimants are re-tested with WCA so their group (WRAG or Support or “fit to work”) used in the Tables released here may be on their first or second or third WCA, and this will include those migrated from IB/ SDA onto ESA.

      Only those IB /SDA who were found “fit to work” (Table 2.4) were obviously the first WCA (ESA migration), but we don’t know when these WCA were in relation to their death, over the time covered by the data.

      (However, the total off-flow from IB of 30,560 would include all IB, ie includes those who were and were not migrated between those dates. So the figure for deaths found “fit to work” in this group cannot be used to analyse the effect of WCA as we don’t know how many were tested in the same time period.)

      Any IB /SDA who previously migrated into Support Group or WRAG, would be classed as ESA, and then at a repeat WCA may be found fit for work, so the ESA groups do not give any way to analyse claim history or duration.

      However, the exception are those in the IB/SDA group – IB claims must have started before 2008, and SDA before 2003, but from 2008 all new claims were put in ESA, so we know that someone (dying) in this group would have been unable to work for at least 4 years.

      The IB /SDA who died after being found ‘fit to work’ would have been very long-standing claimants, who had been reviewed under the DLA procedures and found unfit for years. To be included in Tables 2.4 & 2.6 the ‘fit to work’ decision could only be on their first WCA for migration to ESA. (Indeed it was this group that the ESA /WCA was expected to purge in large numbers through ‘fit to work’ WCA, targeted as the “lifestyle / frauds /scroungers” by IDS.)

      The important point here is how many died, and which group they were in at the time of death.

      Your misunderstanding is quite understandable.

      • Mike Sivier August 30, 2015 at 4:53 pm - Reply

        The claims ended because the claimants were found fit for work. If there was no appeal, the claim ended immediately. If there was an appeal, and the claim ended afterwards, then the result of that appeal was that the ‘fit for work’ decision was upheld – and the claim ended immediately. As the appeal would be, effectively, a re-examination of the evidence provided in a work capability assessment, albeit taking into account the objections of the claimant, it would appear to be – effectively – another work capability assessment. So these were people whose claim ended immediately after a finding of ‘fit for work’ and any argument is over semantics.

        Analysis of claim history or duration is also irrelevant here. The important point is that these people were found ‘fit for work’ and then died, proving they weren’t.

  4. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) August 29, 2015 at 6:50 am - Reply

    Nice TRY Sam Ashworth-Hayes. Try again when you have checked your information more carefully and also considered your reason for wanting to publish it.

  5. Tom August 29, 2015 at 8:17 am - Reply

    Hi Mike. I’ve been trying to get my head around the DWP release this week. I’m still confused as to who the 2,650 group is if it’s not people who are still on ESA because they are in the appeals system. How would the DWP know that they had died if they had been found fit for work and then moved off the benefits system?

    I had a chat with the stats office and they though that the majority of that group would be people in the appeals system. This doesn’t mean it’s any less concerning, but would mean (as Full Fact suggested) that it’s not necessarily people dying soon after a fit for work decision – the longer that period is, the harder it is to know how much higher the mortality rate is than you’d expect among the general population.

    • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 11:16 am - Reply

      It has to be a two-week period for ESA, six weeks for IB/SDA (which were being phased out, remember). A fit-for-work decision, with no appeal, means they come off the benefit – no ifs, no buts. I’ve indicated that the number of appeals is irrelevant to this because, thanks to DWP opaqueness, any that are completed and still have a fit-for-work decision would be included in the original number.
      If you think that’s wrong, talk to the DWP.

      • johnny void August 29, 2015 at 11:32 am - Reply

        So everyone found Fit For Work died within two weeks, and there were over 2000 of them? Yet the answer to the other FOI says around 40,000 died in total within a year of their WCA, from all groups and over a longer period. It doesn’t make sense, fair enough to blame the DWP, but when you’re own analysis produces bizarre and unlikely conclusions then you need to go back and look at that. The 2/6 weeks thing is a red herring, a misunderstanding of how the DWP stats people explained they collect the data of benefit off-flows.

        • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 12:13 pm - Reply

          Actually, you’ve hit on something there.
          I don’t think it’s realistic to expect everyone who was found fit for work – who died – to have done so within two weeks of the decision and the consequent closure of their claim; the 2,380 (we’re discussing ESA here – the other benefits were on a six-week time period) must only apply to those who did. Therefore it seems likely that there is an undetermined number of people who died after the DWP had finished with them.
          If anyone can tell me the relevance of a person dying within a year of their work capability assessment, I’ll be happy to have the knowledge. The information we have covers a period nearly four times as long and at the moment I can’t see how it produces any useful information.

      • johnny void August 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm - Reply

        The answer to the first question in the ESA release shows that 40,680 people died within one year of their WCA decision between 1 May 2010 and 28 February 2013. That’s people from all groups, including the Support Group. Yet you are suggesting that 2,380 people died within two weeks of their Fit For Work decision in a shorter time period. That’s implausible.

        Nowhere in the release does it say the deaths were within two weeks, just that the stats people scan the database of benefit off-flows every two weeks and because dates can be wrong/missing they have assumed everyone with a date of death within two/six weeks of the end of their claim had their claim stopped due to them dying.

        • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 12:34 pm - Reply

          I’m not suggesting it – the DWP is suggesting it. It’s the DWP’s statistical release; those are the DWP’s figures.
          “They have assumed everyone with a date of death within two/six weeks of the end of their claim had their claim stopped due to them dying” – can you not see how bizarre that sentence is? The DWP knows – exactly – the reason for the end of every claim. Otherwise the claim would not be ended. If somebody dies, their claim stops. The claim doesn’t stop and then the DWP looks and assumes it stopped because they died.

      • johnny void August 29, 2015 at 12:45 pm - Reply

        Bangs head on desk. The DWP receives a notification of death from either the claimant’s family or the government’s Tell Us Once service. Then the claim stops. Sometimes the date of the actual claim stopping is not the same as the date as the date of death, or the claim end date is missing – although the claim is still recorded as ending due to a death. This is because the DWP is a huge organisation that is shit at admin. So for the purposes of the statistics it is assumed that if a claim has ended within two weeks of a reported death then the claim ended due to that death. That’s all the two weeks thing is, as it says in the release. Honestly Mike, you’re supposed to look at the facts and then interpret them, not decide what you want the data to say and then try fit the facts to your narrative.

        • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 12:57 pm - Reply

          Yes – the DWP is told that a claimant has died and stops the claim. It doesn’t look around, realise a claim has stopped and assume that someone has died, which is what your previous comment seemed to be saying. Yes, the date of the claim stopping may not be the same as the date of death – that’s why the two/six week ‘scan’ period is used. The DWP should be pressed on reasons for a claim end date being missing as there does not seem to be any excuse for that. Being “a huge organisation that is shit at admin” is not an excuse. In any case, it can’t be assumed that if a claim ended within two weeks of a reported death then the claim ended due to that death – without any other reason being provided, then the claim must have ended due to that death.
          I disagree – you are supposed to look at the facts and understand them – not interpret them, and certainly not decide what you want the data to say and try to fit the facts to your narrative. Please stop doing that.

      • johnny void August 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm - Reply

        So you now seem to agree that the fullfact piece is correct and that 2,380 people did not die within two weeks of being found Fit For Work. Good. You should add a clarification.

        • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 1:11 pm - Reply

          No, I do not. You’re confusing a claim ending because a claimant has been found fit for work with a claim ending because a claimant has died.

      • johnny void August 29, 2015 at 1:26 pm - Reply

        I give up. You’re wrong Mike, I came to the same conclusion as fullfact and so has everyone else who understood what the release actually says.

        You’ve been banging on for months that these statistics would show tens of thousands of people had died due to reforms and this made the Tories like the Nazis. The statistics were never likely to show that, it’s not true, and it does no help to those trying to find out exactly what the impacts of welfare reform are. Fair play for getting the numbers out of the DWP and I’ve held my tongue until now, but your constant misinterpretation of the stats has been no credit to blogging.

        Incidentally if the Tories are like the Nazis, what does that make Ed Miliband, whose social security policies were virtually identical? A watered down Nazi, a Mussolini perhaps? That’s Ed Miliband who you wanted us to vote for.

        • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 3:27 pm - Reply

          Thanks for letting me know what I’ve been saying over the past few months. I tend to disagree. The Tories do look like Nazis, due to their treatment of people as demonstrated by the first-hand accounts we have had over the past few years. There is a very easy correlation between the behaviour of one organisation and the other. If you choose not to see it, that’s up to you.
          The statistics, on the other hand, were necessary to show that, no matter what these Tories said, wrong decisions were still being made and deaths were still taking place. Again, that is demonstrable from the figures we have been given. I, along with others, need to have a good hard look at them to find out what further conclusions we can draw, but that one was obvious.
          My differences with Labour’s policy on social security are well-documented so I fail to understand the point behind your last paragraph. Miliband and Labour will still offering a better package than the Tories.
          Please stop trying to tell other people what they think. That is something that does you no credit. To be honest, you seem to have changed radically. I never expected you to leap to the Tories’ defence.

      • johnny void August 29, 2015 at 3:42 pm - Reply

        So fullfact aren’t fit to be toilet paper, I must be a Tory, and all because we’ve pointed out that you, along with many others including the national press, have misunderstood this data. That’s why I give up.

        • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 4:08 pm - Reply

          You really can’t help attributing opinions to other people, can you?
          On your way, Johnny. You haven’t pointed out anything apart from your own personal bias.

  6. Mili August 29, 2015 at 9:23 am - Reply

    Tweeted @melissacade68

  7. johnny void August 29, 2015 at 10:51 am - Reply

    The ASMR figures show that the probably of someone in the WRAG group dying is about twice as high as for the general population, and those in the Support Group about four times higher. But you’re suggesting people found Fit For Work are fifty times more likely to die? Come on Mike, you’ve lost the plot here.

    • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 11:10 am - Reply

      As I’ve said – don’t lay blame on me; I’m quoting someone else’s figures.
      If the DWP doesn’t want those figures quoted, perhaps it will come out with some of its own, along with a methodology so we can all understand where it found them.

      • johnny void August 29, 2015 at 11:25 am - Reply

        Fair enough, but bodges like this don’t help. Age is vital, the chances of an 18 year old dying from a heart attack are tiny, a 50 year old not so unlikely. Nearly half of ESA claimants are over 50, that’s why the ASMR figures (which we don’t have for FFW) are so important.

  8. Dez Chandler August 29, 2015 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Sam Ashworth-Hayes either cherry picks his hit lines for “Not so Full Facts” or just plucks them out of the ether to present himself as a challenging writer rather than the unresearched muppet writer that he is. Obviously got his eye on a future conservative post somewhere or maybe preparing the ground for a knighthood for services rendered…..like a lot of other previous subserviant yes men knighthoods.

  9. mohandeer August 29, 2015 at 2:10 pm - Reply

    “If 2,380 people were found fit for work from late 2011 to early 2014, and all 2,380 subsequently died in the process of challenging that decision, that would indicate that something was almost certainly going wrong in the assessment process.”
    So how many WOULD have to die before it was decided that something was wrong with the process. This statement seems glib at the very least, I would have thought that if even one third of those figures, died – 700 deaths – after being found “fit for work” that would seem to indicate very loudly, that something was very wrong with the process. How many after being forced onto JSA and survived more than 6 weeks then died? How many of those on JSA after being found fit for work, being sanctioned because they were unable to attend Job Centre (their names automatically being removed from statistics so they do not show up as unemployed) died?

    • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 3:08 pm - Reply

      The point is that a lot more than 2,380 people have been found fit for work in that time period. But the 2,380 figure relates only to people the DWP discovered had died while it was still checking up on them. It doesn’t follow what happens to people who are thrown off-benefit.

  10. fathomie August 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I think some (hi Johnny) aren’t used to dealing with statistics or how the DWP process works. The total number of deaths 40,000, is recorded by the flagging up on the system by either notification by relatives, another dept – or by a member of staff. The latter is crucial to the other statistic, deaths during the assessment process and appeal. The two, despite, what has been argued, are unrelated.

    The assessment figure is gathered thus: – after the pointless WCA your are then informed in writing that you have failed the assessment and are fit for work. As statistically speaking very few do get through, it is not a joke. After this, within three days you are telephoned by a member of DWP staff to tell you why you failed. At this point, if you’ve died, that information will be passed to the DWP. if you fail to respond they will try again to phone you until they get through. If that fails they will contact you in writing. They do this as it’s a legal requirement to get the process done within given time constraints. If, in that time you don’t reply they have to establish why. They cannot ‘assume’ you have found work. As such they will discover you have died. However, they will NOT note why. Hope that helps.

    If you are one of the unlucky few not to succeed at appeal, and you die, this is harder to check up on. They will inform you in writing of the result, but there is no follow up if you fail. ‘But’, there’s always a but, most people don’t simply ‘fail’. They have normally been placed on benefits again until the appeal is decided. It’s at this point they check up on you, as you are required to attend meetings etc, that death can then be discovered or informed.

    These figures though, should still be treated with caution. As no reason for death is given, the DWP will simply argue ‘natural causes’. I am surprised though, as in most depts it’s a requirement, that they don’t seem to have kept a record of when the member of public has committed suicide? Every dept I worked for, including quangos, was obliged to do so once they were informed.

    Further, the information on ‘lower mortality rates on JSA’, has been put out for an obvious reason – to counter accusations that Sanctions cause suicides.

    Until a figure that a) shows the death rate among those sanctioned, and b) breaks down the ESA/WCA figures into suicides or worsening conditions due to assessments and loss of ESA we are still in the dark.

  11. Hilary Burford August 29, 2015 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    Full facts have been challenged before on the accuracy of its facts http://www.ukcolumn.org/article/faux-facts-disturbing-truth-about-fullfactorg

  12. fathomie August 29, 2015 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    I have e-mailed fullfact with my concerns over the handling of the data.

  13. paulrutherford8 August 29, 2015 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Am I missing something in all this?

    Surely the people taking the WCA are ALL sick to start with?

    If that is the case, then their life-expectancy [in many cases], is statistically going to be shorter than the mean, or average. Their deaths are NOT going to be due to any sort of accident, mishap or anything else: their death will [statistically], be due to the course of their illness.

    Therefore, put simply, ALL the deaths are those of people with life-threatening, or limiting conditions. ALL those deaths are of people whose conditions were denied by the DWP, who found them ‘fit for work’.

    On appeal, those people were still as sick [or worse], than they were when first claiming.

    This is the point that always appears [to me, though I haven’t read much, because I’ve been ill], to get lost in all the arguments.

    100% of these people were sick. Their sickness was denied. They died.

    [I will have to go read this all up, like I said, I may have missed a glaring point!!]

    • Mike Sivier August 29, 2015 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      The government disagrees with you. The government believes that some people taking the WCA are NOT sick, or at least, not sick enough to receive state benefit, even if they’re too sick to work.
      Those who are put into the support group are intended to include those whose life-expectancy is statistically going to be shorter than the average – although not all of them are expected to die in the near, or even far, future; those in the work-related activity group are expected to get better. Those deemed ‘fit for work’ are not considered to be ill at all, under the government’s current standards.
      You are exactly right that these figures prove the government wrong. Barring accidents – and, as I’ve said many times, these people can’t ALL have fallen under a bus – it is unreasonable to expect as many people to have died within a two-week period, after a fit-for-work decision, as have done so. Not if they were as healthy as the government said they were.

    • fathomie August 29, 2015 at 6:24 pm - Reply

      Exactly. You are not even going to be assessed unless you are ill in some way. The problem is, is that many of those (as Johnny voids site lists) who have died took their own lives as a result of the assessment failure, and subsequent loss of appeal. The problem is proving the govt directly caused those deaths, and they aren’t going to admit it whatever happens.

      What’s disgraceful, is that the duty of care of the DWP/ATOS/Maximus staff is clearly being flaunted, as the ‘experts’ receive your medical records, and any other bodies records of your health and they simply ignore them in order to do the govts bidding.

      Govt (of any stripe) are loathe to admit they are wrong, Labour govts will at a push, Tory ones never do. Let’s face it, it took 16 years to get justice for the Guildford Four. Birmingham six and Mcguire Seven, and privately the Tories still think they are guilty, despite the ironclad evidence, including confessions by the IRA team that did carry out the Guildford attacks, that says otherwise.

  14. Brian August 29, 2015 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Arguments on the interpretation of figures aside, there is no doubt that even one person dying as a result of political ideology is a crime. I say this because the relevance mentioned by “fathomie” in Duty of Care may become the key to proving the Government negligence.

    You may have noted that the DPP has recently stated it is considering a charge of Corporate Liability, concerning the hacking scandal. This has been a problematic area in the past, very similar to to holding Ministers (Public Servants) to account. Should the DPP conclude this is now an avenue to pursue, we may well see it applied to Public Servants, ie, MP’s.

  15. weavehole August 30, 2015 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Yes, you’re quite right. Thanks.
    In fact there is an extra 270 for IB/SDA right below it which I missed entirely.

    Yes, that is what I would like to see. A comparison with normal death rate for working age. And if possible for other periods of time 2000-2010, 1990-2000 etc

    A great start! And I hope the beginnings of some useful evidence based policies.

  16. Will Moy August 30, 2015 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Mike, I’m sorry you were so unhappy with our factcheck. I’ve spent quite a while reviewing it and the DWP releases against these and other comments. Clearly, if serious people can get such different impressions, DWP have not done enough to explain what’s going on.

    But the only people we know of who have actually checked the meaning with DWP statisticians—ourselves and Tom, who commented above—have been told by DWP that the figures include people in the appeals system, despite what you’ve told us about your FOI request.

    You may have seen that the author you mentioned as having worked on the mortality rates has actually concluded that he made an error of interpretation for that reason: http://lartsocial.org/FFW.

    It shouldn’t be necessary to talk to DWP to find this out, of course, nor should they have published something so open to contradictory interpretations. But our conclusion is based on doing the legwork and using the interpretation that came from the horse’s mouth.

    I did think that you were right that it wasn’t clear that the mortality rates section was meant to refer to ESA specifically. The last para mentions it, but it’s not clear. I’ve updated the article to clarify that, and to correct the description of the appeals process, which others picked up on.

    We will be asking DWP to clarify this first thing on Tuesday, and will follow up then.

    – Will Moy (Director of Full Fact)

    • Mike Sivier August 30, 2015 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      The fact still remains that the people concerned were found fit for work and then died. The date the claim ended is entirely irrelevant. The fact that some of them died after appealing against it is not relevant either – they were still found fit for work and then died.

  17. mrmarcpc September 3, 2015 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Nothing that the tories print and say is worth the paper it’s written on, everything they say, do and publish is lies, complete and utter horse****, we should force them to release the true figures so all of the UK can see and know the truth about what their viciously evil cuts have really done to the poor and ill of the UK!

  18. AJH September 10, 2015 at 2:05 am - Reply

    FWIW it has been updated,most recently today.I find it revealing that they feel vindicated by confirmation by the DWP, who of course are going to extraordinary lengths to obfuscate. They appear to be confusing themselves in the process and have “corrected” the statistics since last week. Salient point to me is, is this a reasonable way to treat people? Resoundingly no.

  19. mrmarcpc September 11, 2015 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    They aren’t going to tell us the true figures now are they, they’re tories remember, telling the truth is totally alien to them and any document that they publish is only fit for bog paper!

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