Let’s ALL show our support for this whistleblower dismissed by DWP

Whistleblower: Enrico La Rocca deserved protection as a whistleblower but the DWP ignored that in order to sack him.

The PCS union has asked for members to send messages of support to a whistleblower after the Department for Work and Pensions broke rules by dismissing him.

Perhaps we should all do the same?

Would that send an appropriate message?

Here’s the story:

The DWP dismissed Enrico La Rocca, an employee for more than 27 years, then working in Preston Carers’ Allowance unit, in May.

Mr La Rocca had highlighted serious concerns about the department’s handling of CA overpayments over a number of years.

His concerns were taken up by the National Audit Office (NAO), whose investigation resulted in a report revealing that the DWP’s own 2019 internal audit had found two-thirds of earnings-related CA overpayments over £2,500 could have been stopped earlier, if DWP officers had looked at all the data-matching alerts produced by its systems.

A subsequent Work and Pensions Select Committee report into these concerns said the DWP was “culpable” for the Carers Allowance overpayments due to “administrative failure”

The committee’s chair referred to “shocking ineptitude” in the handling of the overpayments.

The committee recommended that the department should write off the overpayments, rather than continue to prosecute claimants.

The DWP took little action to address these concerns, so Mr La Rocca sought to have them taken up as a whistleblowing complaint by the Civil Service Commission.

This was refused, due to a lack of a proper internal investigation by the DWP; the commission refused to consider the whistleblowing complaint until the department responded to the concerns internally.

Meanwhile, concerned by media reports of claimants having cases referred to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) despite the DWP’s failures to address these serious issues, Mr La Rocca contacted the Crown Prosecution Service to ask for disclosure of the NAO report to the court – in order to ensure a just decision could be made.

It was this – the effort to contact the CPS and request that the NAO report, already in the public domain, was shared with the court – that was used by DWP as justification for his dismissal.

As far as the PCS union is concerned, Mr La Rocca’s decision to contact the CPS was part of ongoing whistleblowing, addressing a clear and legitimate concern.

Therefore he should have been provided with whistleblower protection and not dismissed, according to the union.

PCS is supporting Mr La Rocca in challenging his dismissal, taking legal advice on his behalf to seek his reinstatement via an Employment Tribunal.

In its story, PCS has requested that any branches wishing to pass on messages of support to Mr La Rocca and his branch in opposing what the union’s members believe is an unfair and unwarranted dismissal can email either [email protected] or [email protected]

As a former Carers’ Allowance recipient who has just been contacted – nine months after I closed my claim – by the DWP, seeking details of my earnings during the period of my claim, I’m quite keen to send my own support to this man – who was obviously doing valuable work.

How about you?

Source: Whistleblower dismissed by DWP | Public and Commercial Services Union

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2 thoughts on “Let’s ALL show our support for this whistleblower dismissed by DWP

  1. Grey Swans

    Dear Vox Political,
    Help people to escape the cruel system of Carer’s Allowance, when it can be varied and drop people into overpayments, that the DWP try to hide. And sack people who flag it up.

    Get basic income from babes to granny, direct from Bank of England, not government, so generating nil national debt and not a burden on the taxpayer.

    Please widely share my Basic income petition

  2. The Toffee (597)

    Mr La Rocca has my full support, and I wish him all the very best in his tribunal. He is (Or rather, was, unfortunately) one of the extremely rare few working within the DWP that seem to actually give a toss.

    For all I know it could’ve been him put my father onto the higher rate of AA (Attendance Allowance) following a mandatory reconsideration phone call, because they stopped his AA (And by default, my carer’s allowance) for no apparent reason other than the wording was slightly different on the new form compared to on a previous form he’d filled in that was approved!

    That’s what they’ll stop your benefits for…A word out of place.

    So, in the event Mr La Rocca is unsuccessful, will the PCS go out on strike to show support for both Mr La Rocca AND the victims of their wilful complicity in handing out unfair and unjust benefit sanctions (Combined with £50 ‘civil penalties’ these days) for the past 12-15 or so years?

    I very much doubt it.

    I have NO faith in that union. None whatsoever. AFAIC they’re quislings. Unless we see more Mr La Roccas then that will always be the case, for me.

Comments are closed.