My bid to foil DWP persecution of people in the ESA support group

[Picture: Skwawkbox blog]

[Picture: Skwawkbox blog]

Insane as it may seem, the Department for Work and Pensions is actively pursuing people with long-term illnesses, apparently in order to make them increasingly anxious and thereby worsen their health.

This will not be news to anybody who is familiar with the benefit system for the sick and disabled. All you others, take note.

On Monday, Mrs Mike received a letter from the DWP. It said:

“Notification of Customer Compliance Visit

“We will be calling at your home.

“A customer compliance officer … will be visiting you at your home on Thursday 3rd December 2015… It is essential that you are available for this visit and provide the documents requested in this letter. This interview has been arranged because your circumstances may have changed and we need to ensure your payments are correct.

“When you claimed benefit you agreed to tell us immediately if the circumstances relating to your benefit entitlement changed.

“What will happen if we do not hear from you?

“If you fail to be available for this visit and do not contact me, your entitlement to benefit may be in doubt and your payments will be stopped.

“If there has been an unreported change in your circumstances then any overpayment will have to be paid back. Further, you may be liable for financial penalties.”

And then there’s a list of documents the ‘customer compliance officer’ wanted to see – ID, bank/pensions/earnings details.

Mrs Mike was deeply distressed by this letter.

I came down from the office to find her in what one might describe as “a proper state”. She was on the verge of panic, in fact – terrified that this ‘customer compliance officer’ was being sent to find any excuse to say she was ‘fit for work’ and throw her off the benefit.

As her carer, it would be grossly understating the situation to say that I was extremely concerned for her mental well-being.

But it’s funny how events transpire – later in the day I saw a tweet from a friend in DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts): “Template letters for those in ESA Support Group harassed by Job Centres.” How interesting… I clicked the link.

“We’ve had increasing numbers of emails from those in the ESA support group facing constant harassment from local job centres,” the DPAC page begins.

“Harassment takes the form of letters and phone calls ‘inviting’ people to work focused interviews, chats with job coaches or other ‘helpers’. Another type of ‘invite’ suggests that the job centre need to check you’re getting the right amount of benefit. They advise you to take in bank statements and other documents.

Often these letters and phone calls wrongly state that your benefits are at risk if you do not attend.

“All such interviews are voluntary according to the regulations, not mandatory. It sounds like a scam warning from some dodgy company doesnt it? But this is the DWP Job Centre, supposedly public servants, causing anxiety and misery.

“We have reproduced two template letters to use if these scams happen to you.”

The letters were directly below. They were written as if by the ESA recipient.

“The DWP is aware that I have been placed in the Support Group for Employment and Support Allowance and therefore exempt from activity of this nature,” the template letter relevant to Mrs Mike states. “The Welfare Reform Act 2012 makes no provision for people allocated to the Support Group to be summoned to attend random benefit interviews.

“On the .GOV website the DWP states:
“Y’ou’ll then be placed in 1 of 2 groups if you’re entitled to ESA:
“‘* work-related activity group, where you’ll have regular interviews with an adviser
“‘* support group, where you don’t have interviews’

“In fact the DWP has the Benefit Centre network that contains benefit integrity centres and performance measurement to undertake this type of review by appropriately qualified officers. Therefore, this interview appears to be incompatible with the DWP’s own processes.

“In respect of payments the DWP knows that I am in the Support Group and the amount of which I am in receipt. Therefore, it can easily determine if this amount is correct without recourse to a face to face review.

“To the best of my knowledge my circumstances have not changed. If the DWP has evidence to the contrary please address it to me in writing as I find the benefit system far too complex and distressing to deal with on the telephone or face to face. I also rely on extensive support from other people when dealing with the DWP.

“This letter has caused me considerable distress and has exacerbated my illness. Should the DWP persist in sending me further letters of a similar nature I can only conclude that it does so knowing that it will cause me alarm or distress. Such actions are a criminal offence under section 2 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and I retain the right to make a criminal complaint to the police.

“As the DWP is acting contrary to the Welfare Reform Act 2012, please regard this letter as notification to cease and desist all such activities immediately.

“I will not be accepting the customer compliance visit and in doing so I will not be placing my entitlement to ESA at risk. Any suggestion by the DWP to the contrary will be considered harassment.

“I remind the DWP that I will continue to comply with all lawful requirements in respect of my ongoing claim for ESA.”

Now, some of you might think it’s a bit dicey, sending what is effectively a “cease and desist” demand to a government department, and backing it up with the threat of criminal prosecution.

But those of you who are familiar with This Writer will also know that I love humiliating the DWP, and my natural inclination when offered a chance to do something, rather than sit by and let authority roll over me, is to take the plunge.

So the letter went off yesterday (Tuesday). I had to do a bit of detective work because the DWP correspondence had no return address (clearly they’re trying to make it as difficult as possible for people to shut them down).

I’ll let you know what happens.

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82 thoughts on “My bid to foil DWP persecution of people in the ESA support group

  1. moondancer

    wow. just.. wow.. so glad i read this because i am on esa support group and the dwp terrify me to the degree if i had a letter like this i would chuck it in the bin and not respond and would ignore it and loose my help. thank you for your response letter now i know what to do if i get one of those. thank you so very very much mr sivier.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You should really thank DPAC – it’s their letter.
      I don’t know how this is going to work out, yet. Hopefully it will be okay, but whatever happens you’ll read it here.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        She’s not actually Mrs Sivier – I call her Mrs Mike so she can maintain a certain distance from This Blog in her real life. I’ll pass on your kind words.

  2. veryscared

    I’m in the Support Group for mental and physical health reasons & had one of these Customer Compliance letters earlier this year, and was advised by my excellent Welfare Rights Rep (from mental health services where I receive treatment) to attend. My health seriously deteriorated in the intervening few weeks. It turned out someone had made a malicious claim against me and in fact the interview was a formality, albeit a horrendously intimidating experience for me. As most of these types of phone calls to DWP are just that – malicious – and I had nothing to hide, I was informed at the interview no further action would be taken, and the case would be filed away. Except… relief was short-lived; a mere 24 hours’ later Royal Mail delivered another DWP Customer Compliance Interview letter. I fell apart for a 2nd time and became hysterical. My Welfare Rights Rep was convinced it was a mistake by the inept idiots at DWP (I’m still not convinced it wasn’t intentional intimidation by them) but it took her a whole 7 days of phone calls and letter writing to get a response from them confirming it had been sent ‘in error’. To be somewhat fair, I later spotted that the date on letter #2 was earlier than the date of my interview, so there was a crossover, but I still doubt it was a clerical error.

    I never ever want to have to go through that again.

      1. veryscared

        Thanks lady cb (btw you know me, we’re friends on Fb originally thru a MH group you were admin-ing!) and actually I was released by the hospital earlier today after another failed suicide attempt – this time due to a continuing saga of being messed around and let down by MH services (I note Mike has written a post about this yesterday), as opposed to my last attempt whilst going thru my WCA torture. xxx

      2. veryscared

        And I didn’t know your poor nephew had been through the torment that is the Customer Compliance experience. I am SO sorry. X

  3. Cthulhu

    Hope DPAC’s template works out for your wife and yourself. I wish I knew about this template last year when I had to go to the job centre even though I’m severely disabled and struggle to go to medical appointments. It exacerbated my illnesses and disabilities considerably, to the point I’ve still not recovered and it was last December when they harrassed me. The civil servants working for the DWP should be ashamed of themselves … They don’t have to terrorise people with such glee! This is terrorism of the lowest form and IDS is the biggest terrorist.. This government should look closer to home when eradicating radicals. Clean sweep an’ all that …

  4. sharen joyce

    Omg I got one of those letters too but I have asked for a home visit as I have multiple sclerosis and can’t get about. I am so stressed out about it because without this money I have nothing. I have worked all my life up until 2 yrs ago but had to give up my career that I loved because of my disability. Really not sure what to do anymore and is taking it’s toll on my health with all the worry. Seemingly it was to do with checking I am on the right money, then it’s to do with having someone living with me. Yes I have people staying overnight as I have carers who help me. It’s pretty sick what they are doing as if my life ain’t bad enough stuck indoors 24/7 now I got to worry about this. It’s pushing me over the edge.

  5. jaynel62

    I had one of these ‘interviews’ before the templates come out – I dutifully attended the JC with all my info to find they were ‘Checking’ a HMRC note dated before I received ESA, in fact from when I was working!

    Lots of apologies later, I’ve never heard since??

    All Best Mike & Mrs, awaiting outcome x

  6. Jeffery Davies

    You can also email them at that lovely jcp dwp oh it get there they dont like the emails but alass they culling the stock by any means aktion t4 you or others might think not but far far to many now have lost their lives through this endless abuse by a government department jeff3

    1. ladycrookback

      Yes Jeff. Aktion T4 like it or not was a tick box exercise based on not seeing their victims face to face and trying to get 3 Drs to agree that anyone disabled should die. if they did not get 3 unanimous Drs they asked again until hey got the death vote.
      They didn’t believe us and yet more and more folk are willing to mention the war now without fear of Godwins Law.

  7. Claire

    I have had the same letter from DWP but I am in the wrag group I went for the interview with bank statements etc was told everything was ok and not to worry. A few days later I get a letter saying benefit will continue. A few days after that I get another letter saying I have to send in bank statements etc . I am very worried, confused and annoyed as I don’t know what to do or what’s going to happen.

  8. Kevin Ward

    Thanks for this I chair a customer relations stakeholders forum (as I am employed in HEI as a welfare advisor) I shall be raising this with the DWP customers relationship manager. … see what they have to say…

  9. John

    The DWP and IDS really do think that they are a law unto themselves….. it’s really all part of a highly corrupt government. What does it tell you about them, when they ignore a judges high court rulings, eh?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      High Court rulings?
      I may have known about this and forgotten – in fact, I may have written about this and forgotten. Do you have any links?

      1. John

        Mike, forgive me, my response might be a little inaccurate with regards to the high court. I have read articles (which if I find them again, will post), but I am aware that certain claimants of JSA (if not ESA, although I’m sure I’ve heard of those cases also), have taken the DWP to court over what they termed ‘unlawful’ practices, and the judge has agreed with the claimant and overturned the DWP’s decision. The DWP however has decided to ignore the rulings? It may not have been the high court but it was a legal court. I apologise for any potential inaccuracies on that one. If I was wrong previously, I’ll be careful next time!

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        There have been plenty of court rulings against the DWP!
        I think there was one recently, the result of which the DWP appeared to be ignoring in its statement. I’ll try to dig it out later.

  10. rupertrlmitchell

    Well stated Mike and I wish you all the best and also thank you for sharing your experiences and expertise with us all. The DWP is no longer a department worthy of the name and certainly is not fit for the purpose and, as you say, is reminiscent of the Nazi party under Hitler Goebbels et al.

    I certainly do not condone malingerers but the minority is being used as an excuse for persecution of those who so badly are in need of real help and understanding.

  11. amnesiaclinic

    Good luck, Mike and thanks for sharing and alerting everyone. Mrs Mike is very lucky to have you! I hope it all works out but I hate to think of the number of people who have been harassed by this. Totally wrong and does need stopping. They know exactly what they are doing.
    But there’s always money for war.

  12. Julie Chandler

    I have had to deal with these people on behalf of family members and their treatment of us has been appalling and caused untold stress. Harassment is not the word and I know many genuine people who have had benefit stopped(which surely is against the law) I ended up going to my MP (Michael Meacher, sadly passed away) Thank you.

  13. foggy

    Mike, it is in the DWP’s very own Regs that a Compliance Interview can be done via paper (sending in requested documentation such as bank statements etc to prove no financial change) or via the telephone. They know this but they still choose to make those in the support group go into an episode of extreme anxiety and fear through this totally unnecessary route.

    I’ve just used their own Regs and the safeguarding and vulnerable persons act along with a cease and desist letter to stop them harassing a support group claimant. The claimant swiftly heard back that there was ‘no further action’ !

    I hope Mrs Mike is feeling a tad better now you’ve taken positive action for her

    1. ladycrookback

      Thank you for this ‘foggy’. In all my reading I have found no note of this and now I learn my nephew died for nothing and I ended up attending his funeral while under Drs orders to stay in bed and not haemorrhage to death …. (I was so stressed I and my husband forgot the midwife had said this) Thus begins a sort of healing…. Knowing he died for nothing hurts yet somehow helps….

  14. shazzyrm

    I had a phone call inviting me to pop in and talk to an advisor but refused on the phone. Luckily for me, nothing came of it and I wasn’t threatened. The advisor on the phone said that it wasn’t mandatory. At least some are being honest if not all. Have bookmarked the letters in case 🙂 Thank you!

  15. Mr.Angry

    Many thanks for this Mike very informative and most helpful, I wish you all the best in your dealing with these nazis.

    It seems there is no end to their cruelness they will hound the weakest making them worse, my sympathies to Mrs.Mike and I a so glad she has you there to support her.

    Best of luck

  16. Someone

    Unfortunately compliance visits ARE mandatory, even for those in Support Group. I don’t think you will get very far with this approach.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      If you had been able to supply a reference to the statutory basis for your comment, or even a proper name and email address, I might be more inclined to believe you.
      As it is, I’ll put my faith in the experts at DPAC for now.

      1. Someone

        I don’t have an email address. Plenty of other people haven’t given proper names either, like “Mr Angry” or “foggy” above.

        The DWP are entitled to review claims for any reason, or even no reason at all, after three months of an award having been made. I can’t point to the specific law about this but the people over at benefits&work always advise that compliance visits are mandatory and should be attended.

        I think you are confusing the “work focused interview” invitations that are sent to Support Group claimants which make it seem like they were mandatory when they were not. Compliance interviews are different.

        I’m happy to be proven wrong and I hope it goes well for you, however I suspect it will just result it the claim being stopped.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Those who comment under pseudonyms provide their real names in their email addresses. I know who they are.

        We’ll see what happens. Since you are looking at other comments, you’ll already have seen a lot of evidence against your belief.

      3. Helping Hand

        FAO “Someone” – and Mike Sivier

        I don’t doubt your sincerity “Someone”, and I note your reference to the difference between a “Work Focused” interview, and a “Customer Compliance” interview. Good point.

        But, the second template letter from the DPAC website – which is the one relevant to Mrs Mike – does not specify or refer to a Customer Compliance interview, unlike the first template letter. The second template letter merely uses the word “interview” by itself.

        The best solution to all of this is for a Freedom of Information request to be made on the “What do They Know” website asking plainly if “Customer Compliance interviews are mandatory. Mind you, whether you will get a plain and unambiguous answer remains to be seen!

        What Do They Know website:

    2. Cthulhu

      I’ve read the info in the link you provided and it’s very ambiguous and they seem unsure as to whether these letters are compliance letters or just harassment. Btw my real name is Pam Sanby. Perhaps using pseudo names isn’t the best thing to do … Stand by our beliefs and statements and all that!

    3. foggy

      Someone said:

      December 2, 2015 at 11:33 am

      ‘Unfortunately compliance visits ARE mandatory, even for those in Support Group. I don’t think you will get very far with this approach.’

      See Compliance Guidance;
      Decide the method of intervention and allocate the case
      36. There are a number of methods of intervention the Local Service
      Compliance Team Leader (LSCTL) can choose for each case:
       office interview
       visit
       post – If the claimant is not in receipt of a benefit but Local Service
      Compliance activity is still appropriate
       telephone – If the claimant contacts the office prior to the interview.
      37. Office interviews should always be the preferred method, dependant on
      room availability and the claimant’s personal circumstances.
      38. Cases can be viewed and allocated to a Local Service Compliance Officer
      on FRAIMS, taking into account their workload and experience, see

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Of course, one also needs to know why an intervention is planned in the first place.

      2. Helping Hand

        Excellent point, Mike. The most obvious question in the first place is what the interview will be about, because the vague letter does not indicate at all what it will be about.

        Given that it could be about anything from benefit fraud to how you have maintained yourself during a sanction period, and even that will not be revealed until the person actually undergoes the interview, it is no wonder recipients are surprised and confused about why a letter like that has suddenly arrived out of the blue.

  17. Helen

    Yes thank you, Mike. I too am in the support group and a letter like this makes my stomach churn even now. Should I receive this letter I would be more than happy to send the sample letter, you’ve been kind enough to show us, to DWP as I feel the more people “attack” them hopefully this will lead to the DWP eventually stopping sending these letters. I appreciate this is a big hope, however you never know if we keep chipping away at the DWP.

  18. Helping Hand

    The DWP get away with all manner of dubious activities everyday – and they get away with it because no one challenges them. It is outrageous that officials in public office are allowed to manipulate and deceive members of the public with a set script of chicanery, lies and intimidation. And they do this most of the time with impunity.

    I’ve come across a website which gives out highly useful legal information on how to tackle Jobcentre malpractice. It might not deal exactly with each element of the case presented here, but it is a vital tool nonetheless in the fight against the many injustices carried out at Jobcentres all over the country on a daily basis.

  19. wildswimmerpete

    Even those in receipt of the State pension can be called into the Jobcentre if also in receipt of Pension Guarantee Credit. I understand that while paid by the Pension Service and not JC+ the benefit fraud investigators (to use their proper name) are based at JC+

  20. Helping Hand

    The term “Customer Compliance” is a vague euphemism for the team which carries out benefit fraud investigations.

    I know that if an anonymous member of the public reports a benefit claimant on the fraud hotline (a freephone 0800 number), it is the Customer Compliance Team that carries out the subsequent investigation.

    Another example of the Customer Compliance Team in action is where a benefit claimant has been sanctioned. Sanctioned claimants can later be called for interview and asked to give an account of how they have supported themselves during the sanction period – presumably because the DWP suspects that in order to survive, sanctioned claimants must be working on the fly or committing crime. I’m not even sure if the Customer Compliance Team are operating within the law on that one! I strongly suspect the sanctioned claimant would have the legal right to say “I do not consent to supply you with any information”.

    It does seems odd indeed to call an ill person for interview by such a “team”. You might just want to tell them that there has been no change in the circumstances of Mrs Mike and add that Mrs Mike is not involved in any criminality, and then, if there is any further demands from the DWP, tell them equitably that “I do not consent to supply you with any information”.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The letter I sent does have a line that there has been no change in cricumstances.
      If she was involved in criminality I would be astonished. She doesn’t seem to have the energy at the moment.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      There is a link in the article but by all means, we can have it in the comments too.

  21. thelovelywibblywobblyoldlady

    Hope Mrs Mike is feeling better about things now.

    I know this might sound bad minded and please excuse me whilst I adjust my tin foil hat, but I wonder if this is some kind of perverted “payback” for the fact that you caused such embarrassment for the DWP over the release of the mortality statistics – I wouldn’t put anything past the bast**ds!

  22. Tony Turtle

    Although I agree these visits are a necessary evil, they are needed to sort out the evil fakers, all 0.7% of them!

    However, I think a visit by an experienced nurse and a GP, not your own, to give an opinion on your condition (or your significant other) would be a better idea. Don’t give the visit such a severe title, compliance suggests mandatory, perhaps “home assessment” might be preferable?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You think forcing another ‘medical’ assessment on people is the right way to go? It isn’t.
      These interviews are triggered when they want a claimant to believe they’ve found something wrong with the claim. As there is nothing wrong with my partner’s, we can only conclude that they are trying to harass her.

    2. ladycrookback

      Tell that to the people who came up with the term ‘Tony Turtle’ The 0.7% as we are TIRED of telling people is mostly made up of the DWPs own error. And those of us who have lost relatives could not give a damn about 0.7% What do 0.7% fraudulent able bodied people or 0.75 self appointed screw up merchants errors matter to US?

      Stand at the grave of someone you love and say that again! Believe me. the family who had said the same to me said to me and implored MY help and support for the funeral “I understand now” when my nephew gassed himself 10 days after Christmas 2013.

      I should have said , ‘Hard luck’

      It is lucky for folk like you that we are better than you are.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Is your nephew one of the known DWP-related deaths, or is he another that needs to be recorded and publicised? What happened?

  23. mohandeer

    Although this pertains to the FRAIMS claim investigations I would think that the criteria should also apply to any request for an LSCO demand. Without checking first the DWP is in default of their own rules. Any failure to do so leaves the DWP in breach of “good practices” – just a thought.

    29. Before carrying out the intervention the Local Service Compliance Officer
    (LSCO) must ensure by checking all Departmental systems that the
    Compliance (01/15)
    matched person is the claimant. It is also important that the following good
    practices are followed to ensure that the matched data does not contain
     the referral is intelligence only and should be treated with caution
     staff should ascertain that incorrectness exists before making
    approaches to claimants
     care must be taken when making preliminary investigations such as
    ensuring that personal details have matched correctly.

  24. mohandeer

    I also am in the support group and expect to lose my ESA payments in April after my assessment. Having to sell my home after 38 years working to pay a mortgage for 25 years of that will be, to say the least, a little galling. The government will have to fork out a minimum of £360 for HB which will save them minus £140. Work that one out if you can.
    Hope Mrs. Mike can keep herself together and doesn’t get too stressed, which will of course exacerbate any health issues. You are obviously very devoted to her and I hope too, that the added stress does not impact your own health. Best wishes to you and yours.

  25. Phil Lee

    Is it time to organise a mass report of IDS to the Serious and Organised Crime Unit over this? We already know that a number of unfortunate people have been bullied to death by the criminal organisation he leads, and many more have had mental conditions seriously and adversely affected.
    I have in mind a concerted effort by everyone across multiple on-line groups agreeing to start reporting on a single day, and jam the lines until action is taken.
    I’m sure that through social media it would be possible to organise thousands of complainants – just look at the number who sign petitions.

    1. John

      I know I’ll never be able to prove this one, but I’ve quite often heard of very bad attitudes from jobcentre staff, in particular the Ashton one (which is I believe where UC started from), and have wondered whether the managers there deliberately train their staff to behave in as obnoxious a way as possible, or whether the attitudes of a lot of staff there are just caused by a cocktail of different factors, from general bad attitudes to people to low staff moral and everything in between.

  26. papajay1965

    This is brilliant, thank you for sharing,

    Our local DWP officer for the work-related activity group, just happens to go to our church, I myself was placed in the support group about 6 months ago, yet she constantly approaches me at church offering me to go and have a “chat” to be honest I got so sick of it I contacted the DWP.
    Obviously there is a certain amount of training they must receive in order to do the job they do, and one has to wonder if the pathetic excuse of a rebuttal i constantly hear is one they are taught or has been made up by the individual themselves, when you have a life changing illness the last ridiculous statement you want to hear is “If Stephen Hawking can work then anyone can”
    Anyway that’s my rant…..
    I will be eager to hear how Mrs Mike gets on from the Do it With Pressure people..

    Good luck Mrs Mike..

    1. ladycrookback

      Any time you want to borrow a full scale rant on the bull that is that ‘If SH can work…” be my guest. Other half whose Mum died of MND has a one word response uttered in tones of disgust that would sand floors….. ….. “God”.

      SH has round the clock care. a world class brain and at the crucial moment he GOT the support he needed. Anyone who has actually READ his biography knows that he was only able to continue studying after his diagnosis due to an accessible home being available at the crucial moment (which he nearly did not get)

      Give me SHs support and I could do my job too… Unfortunately….

      As for the woman being a church member…. as a Christian, words fail me! If she is so convinced all YOU need is willpower where is HER will to instantly heal you? 🙂 perhaps she could try a little faith healing?

      “If you had faith as small as a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, “throw yourself into the sea.”
      “Cure me, please?” ….
      “No? Oh, well, clearly not everything is possible on mere faith then!”

  27. Gazza

    OT: CWP/MWA and Tribunal Decision on 25Oct15 from Moneysavingexperts

    Mike apologies about putting it here with ESA but I think everyone should know and I could see no other appropriate place to put this up.

    [on Moneysavingexperts look under Resources menu and Page 2 of DWP and at the bottom of the page for the Tribunal Decision]

    The penny just dropped about why CWP/MWA contracts [and probably other so called contracts] have been ended, and there is implications for the current ones as well, only IF you have NOT signed papers. [is there is a withdrawal letter from the signed contract available for others who have?]

    The things to remember are:
    – No contract can be forced on anyone.
    – A Organization that signs a contract with another organization has no power to compel anything on an individual outside of that contract.
    – Services offered may or may not be taken up by an individual under those conditions, and have no power to compel use, and even if they do use the offered services as have not signed contract still not bound by it i.e. its becomes a freebie you can use or drop.

    This means:
    – DWP has no legal power to allow external bodies/persons to compel obedience to anything required by them – you are in effect not bound by that contract and anything to do with it and immune from its consequences.
    – Any external bodies/persons taking on such powers which do not exist under law are therefore acting in a illegal and criminal manner.
    – DWP personnel who on being made aware of this illegality, are therefore themselves encouraging the criminal activity and are therefore themselves breaking the law.

    This basically means that Mandatory Activity Notice issued by DWP vis a vis CWP/MWA is not worth the paper it is written on and explains why cancelled.

    Further the change of emphasis to “Health” is now understandable, it is another attempt to disguise the illegality of the whole thing as the same Huge Hole exists in the new plans. No one can be forced to sign and to even hint of duress to sign is harassment (easy test is require such compulsion in writing), I am not understating the fraud aspect, but you have to start somewhere.

  28. subvert - overturn, overthrow, morality of Government

    Dear Mike

    Hope this article can be of some use as a citation- varfication for the DPAC forum against the DWP and the commisioners misinterprets his interpritation on (FOIA) from the Supreme Court tom quashed the FOIA solicitor who exercise of his power to overrule a decision of the Tribunal – a decision about whether disclosure was in the public interest.

    In a Policy Exchange report released today, Professor Christopher Forsyth and I argue that the Supreme Court’s most important constitutional law decision this year was dangerously wrong.

    The case, Evans v Attorney General [2015] UKSC 21, concerned the Attorney General’s exercise of the so-called ministerial veto – the power under section 53 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) – to block release of the Prince of Wales’s letters to departments. The Information Commissioner had said disclosure of the letters was not in the public interest. The Upper Tribunal disagreed. Finally, the Attorney General, agreeing with the Commissioner, exercised his power to override the Tribunal.

    Astonishingly, a majority of the Supreme Court (five of seven judges) quashed the Attorney General’s exercise of his power to overrule a decision of the Tribunal – a decision about whether disclosure was in the public interest. As the dissenting judges, Lord Hughes and Lord Wilson, made clear, the two majority judgments in the Supreme Court do not respect the choice Parliament made in enacting the FOIA. And after Evans, any future exercise of the ministerial veto risks legal challenge.

    Welcomed by some as a victory for the separation of powers, we contend that the judgment in fact flouts the separation of powers and the rule of law. The Supreme Court undermined Parliament’s democratic choice to entrust senior ministers with the final responsibility to judge what the public interest requires – ministers who are, after all, accountable to Parliament.

    The paper explains how the first majority judgment, by Lord Neuberger (joined by Lord Reed and Lord Kerr), misinterprets section 53, imposing an extremely implausible meaning which effectively removes the section from the statute book. The misinterpretation was grounded, we say, on a dubious theory about the entitlement of judges to protect constitutional principle by disregarding Parliament’s clearly expressed will. We also argue that the court is quite simply wrong about the relevant constitutional principles in the case: questions of the public interest are quite properly entrusted to the executive, accountable to Parliament.

    The second majority judgment, by Lord Mance (joined by Lady Hale), is less glaringly wrong but is nonetheless also highly problematic. While nominally resisting Lord Neuberger’s misinterpretation, Lord Mance effectively achieves the same outcome by concluding that the Attorney General was not entitled to take a different view to the Tribunal about the existence and significance of constitutional conventions and about possible public reaction to the release of the letters. These were questions, we maintain, that were rightly for the Attorney General himself to decide, for which he was accountable to Parliament, in the way the scheme of the FOIA contemplates and encourages.

    The Supreme Court in Evans brings together two very troubling trends in our public law: (a) the judicial temptation (as Lord Wilson put it, in dissent) to rewrite statutes of which the courts disapprove, and (b) the overly intrusive review of statutory powers, which wrongly privileges judicial views about the public interest over executive views, ignoring the constitutional importance of political accountability. (This second trend, of which Evans is but one example, will be explored further in a forthcoming paper for the Judicial Power Project by Jason Varuhas of Cambridge University and UNSW.)

    The central significance of Evans is not in its consequences for the monarchy (the Prince of Wales’s correspondence is now subject to an absolute exemption under the FOIA) or even in its implications for the workability of the FOIA and the efficient carrying on of cabinet government (although that is obviously very important). Rather, the case demonstrates the willingness of some – but certainly not all – senior judges to undermine clear statute and to overturn lawful executive action. It is not much comfort that the judges in question, no doubt sincerely, think and say that they are acting to secure the constitution. As Lord Hughes says in dissent, the rule of law is not the rule of courts whatever the statute may say. In our constitution, Acts of Parliament are changed only by Parliament itself, not by judicial fiat, whether in the form of misinterpretation or intrusive judicial review.

    Any future exercise of the ministerial veto is vulnerable to legal challenge. And this means that the authoritative choice Parliament made some fifteen years ago – a choice to enact freedom of information legislation that includes a ministerial veto – has been undone by judicial action. Our constitution forbids just such judicial action. Whatever one thinks about the merits of the FOIA, it follows that there are very good reasons for Parliament now to act to reverse Evans. The point would not be to protect the Prince of Wales’s correspondence – that horse has bolted. Instead, Parliament now should act to restore and to defend the choice it made in enacting the FOIA in the first place. Our paper proposes a draft bill which would meet this end.

    The courts have a vital constitutional role to play in maintaining the rule of law. But they subvert the rule of law and parliamentary democracy when they fail to obey the will of Parliament expressed in statute and when they override the executive’s exercise of its statutory powers. The judicial action in Evans is remarkable and unconstitutional. If the rule of law is not in future to be reduced to the rule of courts then Parliament should act now to answer the Supreme Court and to affirm its authority.

    Professor Richard Ekins is a Fellow of St John’s College and an Associate Professor in the University of Oxford. He leads Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project.

    This article originally appeared on ConservativeHome

    1. donnabusby15

      Hi mike I just thought that this may also help people I recieved a letter to attend a benefit review from my local jobcentre but when I phoned the dwp they said they had no record of it and I was to challenge my local jobcentre as this is illegal I had also recieved a letter for a work support programme interview and then the date of that was changed by the jobcentre and the advisor was changed to but the dwp said again they had no record of the change of dates they only had 1 date I then emailed them and I had previously looked up on the government website and spoken to the citizens advice and my solicitor I told them in the email about the laws I had read and what citizens advice and my solicitor said to me within 48 hours I recieved a phone call from the jobcentre to say I did not have to attend the original interview and also recieved a letter to say that I would recieve a esa 50 or something like that and I would attend another medical at atos just thought I’d share this incase if may help anyone or give anyone a bit of hope

  29. Hugh Walter

    I have several on-going stories for you if you want them, I’ve tried the Gardian, ‘i’, Panorama and Dispatches, I even tried Wikileaks! Voice recordings, letters etc…

    For a start…my Contract with A4E was dated to start after the dates of all the mandatory events in it!

    Experience with Enham Trust (1 fraud, 1 apparent fraud, bullying, incompetence, failure to deliver contractual obligations and more), QEF (failure to deliver contractual obligations), Shaw Trust (out of their depth), A4E (3 or 4 apparent frauds/potemtially fraudulent activities…neighbouring office to the infamous Reading one), and sessions with my ‘advisor’ which last (on tape) less than 90 seconds!

  30. ladycrookback

    Thank you for this, Mike. Heart wrenching stuff for one who has lost family over a compliance interview. Thank you. I know I read this on DPAC s site but somehow the full force of meaning came home here…. on the subject of compliance….

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