Tag Archives: Rates

Location revealed for ‘benefit-related deaths’ Tribunal hearing in November

The battleground: Field House, in London. It doesn't look like much from the outside but it is where the DWP will try to slither out of its Freedom of Information oblligations - again.

The battleground: Field House, in London. It doesn’t look like much from the outside but it is where the DWP will try to slither out of its Freedom of Information oblligations – again.

The First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) has provided details of the venue for the ‘benefit-related deaths’ hearing at which the DWP will appeal for permission not to publish the exact number of people who have died while claiming incapacity benefits since November 2011.

It will be at Field House, 15 Bream’s Buildings, London EC4A 1DZ, starting at 10am on November 10 this year. Apparently it’s a five-minute walk from Chancery Lane tube station; those of you with disabilities will need to plan extra time to allow for your conditions (although obviously you don’t need This Writer to remind you of that).

All tribunal hearings of this kind are open to the public, so if you are able to attend, please make a note of the date and location in your diary and come along. If you can’t, tell all your friends to come in your place.

Here’s a map:

150821tribunallocationmap

 

Any and all support on the day would be welcome. The Conservative Government, by rush-publishing its fudged ‘ASMR’ statistics on benefit-related deaths, is hoping to quiet public unrest about the number of deaths that have taken place after its “welfare reforms”.

It seems clear that ministers are terrified that this issue will continue to blow up in their face.

This is your chance to show that you are not going to let it lie down and die.

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Iain Duncan Smith accused of planning to ‘fudge’ benefit death stats – Mirror Online

Campaigners (like Vox Political’s Mike Sivier) say Iain Duncan Smith is trying to fudge the figures.

View it as blowing my own trumpet if you like, but This Writer could not let the quiet announcement that the DWP will be publishing its doctored death statistics go by without a splash in the papers.

The Daily Mirror has been brilliant on this whole story and its latest article continues the run:

The department [of work and pensions] today announced a series of documents will be published on Thursday August 27th, detailing the number of deaths for people on out-of-work benefits, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance.

But campaigners worry the Government intend to ‘fudge’ the figures – releasing them in a form that’s impossible to compare to previous releases.

Mike Sivier, the blogger whose Freedom of Information Request sparked the DWP’s panic, said the release is unlikely to include the actual number of deaths.

Instead, the department has signalled that they’ll publish “Age-Standardised Mortality Rates (ASMR)” – ratios of deaths of claimants when compared with the population as a whole.

Mike Sivier said: “It is remarkable that, after three years of inactivity, the Conservative Government has rushed these ‘fudged’ figures into publication so soon after I won an appeal against the Department for Work and Pensions, meaning the actual numbers – not the ASMR fudge – would have to be published.”

Source: Iain Duncan Smith accused of planning to ‘fudge’ benefit death stats – Mirror Online

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Date set for tribunal hearing over benefit-related deaths

court

An appeal by the Department for Work and Pensions, against being forced to reveal the exact number of people who have died while claiming social security benefits, will be heard by a tribunal in November – if it gets that far.

The DWP appealed to the First-tier Tribunal (Information Rights) on May 28, after the Information Commissioner ruled that it should honour a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by Vox Political writer Mike Sivier. The request demanded the exact number of deaths of people claiming Incapacity Benefit and Employment and Support Allowance between November 2011 and May 2014.

The Department, currently run by the Conservative Government, initially claimed that the information was due to be published at an unspecified date in the future – but it was later revealed that the facts would be fudged into ‘Age-Standardised Mortality Rates’, presenting the deaths as a ratio compared with the population as a whole. So the initial claim was a lie and the plan was not to provide the information at all.

According to the government, these fudged figures are being rushed into publication on August 27, so we will all be able to see whether they are any use, in good time before any hearing takes place.

The Information Tribunal has now set down the date on which it will hear evidence. This will happen on November 10, at a location in central London. Make a note of it in your diary if you are interested in attending.

A new development from the DWP, as part of the appeal, is an attempt to persuade the tribunal to use its ‘steps discretion’ if it rules against the government department.

The law allows the tribunal to dictate any steps necessary to honour a FoI request – and the DWP is asking for a ruling that, even if it is found to be breaking the law by refusing to publish the requested information, no steps should be taken to provide it.

The Conservative Government debases itself by falling to such depths. Not only that, but the attempt is likely to fail; the ‘steps discretion’ is only used in extraordinary circumstances and there are none in this case.

Furthermore, the tactic may become irrelevant if This Writer is successful in his bid for the Tribunal to strike out the case as an abuse of process. My claim is that the law is clearly against the DWP – it has a less-than-50-per-cent chance of success – so the appeal is a waste of the Tribunal’s time.

If the Tribunal agrees, then the DWP’s appeal will be cancelled and the Department will be ordered to provide the information immediately.

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IMPORTANT: Do NOT trust Cameron over benefit-related deaths

150608camerontroubled

From reading Twitter tonight, it seems many, many people have become over-excited about Marie Rimmer’s achievement in getting David Cameron to say the Conservative Government will be publishing figures relating to people who have died while claiming benefit.

What are you all thinking?

David Cameron is a LIAR. You should all know that by know.

When he said, “The data will be published; they are being prepared for publication as we speak,” he was referring to a very particular version of this information which will be completely useless in working out the number of people who have died.

Only a week ago, This Blog revealed that the government plans to publish the figures as ‘Age-Standardised Mortality Rates’.

I wrote: “Age-Standardised mortality rates are the number of deaths, usually expressed per 100,000, that would occur in that area if it had the same age structure as the standard population and the local age-specific rates of the area applied, according to Public Health England.

“The figures to be published by the DWP would not state the number of deaths which have taken place between November 2011 and May 2014. Instead we would be given a fudged figure showing the number of deaths among ESA claimants when compared with the average number among the population as a whole. That is not what I requested; it is not what anybody wants.”

My assessment is endorsed by Ms Rimmer in this Mirror Online article, which states: “Officials want to release ‘standardised’ figures which won’t show the actual number of deaths – even though they released actual death numbers in 2012.

“Instead of the real-life numbers they plan to release ‘Age Standardised Mortality Rates’, which present deaths as a ratio when compared to the population as a whole.”

Ms Rimmer is quoted as follows: “What is needed now from this disclosure is the full picture with information unadulterated.

“The Prime Minister must stick to his word by publishing the data unedited.”

This Writer’s opinion is that he wanted to take away people’s reason for signing the petition to force the DWP to reveal the exact number of people who have died since the Conservatives enacted their cruel ‘welfare reforms’ in the early years of the Coalition Government.

That petition currently has nearly a quarter of a million signatories and it seems likely that Cameron is terrified that he’ll be crushed by the weight of public opinion.

He should be.

It is important that people realise what David Cameron and his government are promising is not what the public has demanded.

Unfortunately, it is true that a lie can go around the world while the truth is still putting on its running shoes and This Blog cannot publicise the facts without help.

Please share this article as widely as you can and contact your local news media – papers, TV and radio – to let them know that the government has misled people.

It is important that we do everything we can to stop David Cameron from getting away with this.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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