Has the Season of Goodwill infected the DWP’s compliance unit?

Distortion With Prejudice: Will we ever get FACTS from the Department for Work and Pensions - or just more spin and spiel?

Distortion With Prejudice: Will we ever get FACTS from the Department for Work and Pensions – or just more spin and spiel?

It seems the answer to the above question is “yes”.

Readers may recall that Mrs Mike received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions’ ‘compliance unit’ at the end of last month, announcing that our home would be invaded by a ‘compliance officer’ on December 3.

Particularly disturbing was the following passage:

“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.”

The letter put Mrs Mike on the verge of panic – 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

In response, and thanks to a friend who signposted us to information on the Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) website, Mrs Mike told the DWP, in terms only slightly more polite than what follows here, to get stuffed.

You see, the information provided to her showed that any letter causing her considerable distress and exacerbating her illness, as this had, put the DWP in a very actionable position. She was able to respond: “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.”

In addition, she said she was entirely happy to conform to all legal requirements.

Would you believe we had a telephone call from a DWP ‘compliance manager’ today (December 23)?

It was from one of those ‘Out of area’ numbers that we never ever answer, but fortunately she left a message and I called her back.

She could not apologise enough for the upset that had been caused to Mrs Mike.

She said there was no allegation of wrong-doing; it was a purely-routine reassessment.

She said she had already sent a letter assuring Mrs Mike that she need not be worried over the Christmas period; this call was to ascertain whether she would be happy to submit her reassessment in writing, so we would have a copy for our records, to be returned by the end of January.

The whole episode made a welcome change from the usual antagonism – although we should all know it’s just a ceasefire – hostilities will undoubtedly recommence soon.

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


15 thoughts on “Has the Season of Goodwill infected the DWP’s compliance unit?

  1. Justice

    Double Standards

    I know of one case where a person was charged by the police with a “breach-of-the-peace” because a letter sent by that person allegedly put the recipient in a “state of fear and alarm” – even although there was no intent on the part of the sender to cause any alarm or offence.

    So yes, you can be charged for sending a letter which puts the recipient in a state of fear and alarm.

    The person who was charged in that case asked the police why no one at the DWP was ever charged when that department sends out numerous letters everyday which put the recipients in a state of fear and alarm! The question was not answered!!

  2. jeffrey davies

    well dwp say sorry i think not but far to many gets these letters off them the torys way of culling the stock but we arm our selfs with knowledge now to fight back against this perpetual abuse by a government department jeff3

  3. bevchat

    Good to hear that at least Mrs Mike got an apology but really this should not have got this far and if the DWP had not sent the letter in such a manner I think this and her stress could of been avoided….The whole thing is appalling I myself have a medical assessment coming up in the New Year for PIP as its changing from DLA…I suffer from a chronic Heart condition as well as physical disabilities…so I know what stress can do…I recently had to be admitted into hospital for two reasons…firstly a chest infection and secondly I was getting extremely stressed over the medical assessment that was due…and had to be cancelled when I was admitted into hospital. So my daughter had to ring them to inform them and get another appt hence why I have another one in Jan…The letters really are quite intimidating…!

  4. casalealex

    My answer to the question is NO! They know that many people would not be able to write the kind of letter that Mrs Mike was able to. They would be stressed and comply with the ‘order’. The DWP are aware of this, so if they are faced with a Mrs Mike response, they will give an apology ‘shamology’, fully aware that hundreds/thousands of others will not repond as Mrs Mike was able to do x

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      That’s why I published the letter and the link to the DPAC site from which it was taken.
      I do take your point that many people won’t see the articles or get their of their own accord, though; we can only do what we are able to.

  5. Jonno R

    I hope they are not doing their usual drop kick. I have had one every xmas for the last 3 years. I had a call from the complaints dept yesterday appologising profusely for failing to act on the results of a tribunal hearing and the ICO and realising I may be entitled to more contribution based benefit from ESA. I’ve had these before and the result was my claim being cancelled on 24/12/13, reason eventually given was ‘income support is paid from IS office and incapacity benefit paid by IB office but in your case IS was paid by IB office so the IS10 form you returned was delivered to the wrong place.” That was explanation no 5 because 1-4 were senseless crap about a decision being made that wasn’t a decision because if it were it would be illegal, so therefore it was just a note on my file made by a DM to decide what the decision would be when it was made. Previously they had refused to make a decision. ( I only found out about this through subject access request because somebody decent called me anonymously and warned me. They still refuse to respond to any letter demanding an explanation )

    On 24/12/14 a 2 kilo bundle was sent after being posted on the 10th to the wrong address giving me 4 days to respond as they had challenged the tribunal judges power to reverse the “decision to refuse to make a decision” if no response was returned they would assume I no longer wished to make a claim.

    Last xmas I was still recovering from a nervous breakdown and my transfer to ESA was going through so I had to assume the worse and forget xmas again.

    I have told them countless times not to phone me as I cannot retain information since the psychotic incident I had due to stress from all this. I suspect the call I had yesterday will not be logged and will result in some catastrophe. I haven’t been able to get anything anyway as my PIP was refused and my car was taken so i can’t go and buy anything even if I had some money.

    1. Jonno R

      Just as I suspected. A letter hit my mat this morning informing me that my ESA is being reduced by £23.31 pw because I was forced to cash in my pension in 2013 when my benefits
      Were stopped without reason just as i was about to move home and had to pay removal fees. I informed them that I had been forced to do this but if my benefits were restored within 5 weeks I could return the lump
      Sum I had taken out.. They ignored this until after 7 weeks and then wanted details of the payment I had so they could deduct it from my income support.
      This had been sorted by the independent case examiner and a tribunal judge but every time someone looks in my file they start on me again. Last time they demanded my paperwork it was the 9th time so I refused to send anything and added harassment to my complaint of maladministration. I got £50 consolitary payment after I had potentially lost more than £25000 which would be the value of my pension had it been able to mature. 2 years later they tried to say I had excess capital because of the lump sum I had and wanted
      me to repay 2 years of income support. When the shooting pains in my chest had stopped i turned the page to read that they would not be collecting it as it was
      Their fault they did not deal
      With it at the time but because I wasn’t entitled to it I was also not entitled to the council tax discount so it looked like I would have to repay that and lose my discount
      . TheDWP advised me not to tell the council. They advised me to commit fraud ! It’s obviously still not sorted despite a judge saying there was no reason to be concerned about making repayments.
      But nevertheless here we go again

  6. NMac

    Typical bullying behaviour, but you stood up to them and they backed down. Well done and I hope both of you have a stress free and peaceful Christmas and New Year.

  7. Mr.Angry

    Truly sorry Mike you and Mrs Mike are being persecuted under the Tory regimes, thankfully she has you alongside to bat in her court, so glad you have sorted out this despicable issue.

    My thanks foe all your wonderful blogs and wish you both a wonderful Xmas .

  8. mozzas01

    Many congrats to Mrs Mike.

    The Veterans Agency (VA), which is a branch of the DWP, send similar threatening letters to disabled veterans regarding reviews of War Pensions.
    I usually reply via email, copy the email to the Chair of the BMA and to the 4 so called ‘welfare committees’ for veterans and this resulted in my pension review being reduced from the allocated 6-9 MONTHS to 48 hours after I sent the email.
    Play them at their own game, demonstrate you will not be intimidated and that you know what you are talking about, and the DWP staff will fold.

    Many thanks for all your work Mike and my best to you and Mrs Mike.

    Please check your emails… 🙂

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’ll try to check my emails. They’ve been over-full of junk for a while, which has been distracting, but I’ve been trying to clear them out and restore order.

Comments are closed.