Good for The Independent, which has followed up on Jayne Linney’s blog post about DLA/PIP, mentioned on This Blog yesterday.
In the extract that follows, take particular note of the civil servant’s comments.
On Tuesday DWP officials refused another request for basic information about disability benefits using the same “Section 22” exemption they had tried to use before.
The Department had been asked under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose how many Disability Living Allowance claimants had been made worse off after being moved onto the new Personal Independence Payment benefit.
The Department refused the request, made by a user of the WhatDoTheyKnow website, a tool which helps people scrutinise the Government’s record.
The civil servant who answered the reply ultimately said that thought there was a public interest in the data being released, they should be allowed to publish it “in a manner of form and at a time of their own choosing”.
There’s a lot of discussion about the difficult position of DWP workers at the moment, with many people defending those who try to do right by claimants in the face of harsh directives from Caxton House. This person clearly is not one of them.
Perhaps he or she needs to be reminded that all members of the civil service are servants of the public and as such – in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, when a UK citizen makes a request in a proper manner, the only acceptable response is to honour it.
If this information is exempt under s.22 of the Act, let’s see it on the DWP’s publication schedule. Not there? Then let’s have the facts.
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