Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Cash Charges for Appeals Against Sanctions.

with 29 comments

The Huffington Post reports,

A secret internal document from the Department for Work and Pensions shows that the coalition is planning to charge claimants for appealing against benefit sanctions.

The document, leaked to The Guardian, shows the extent of the government’s assault on civil liberties.

It proposes the “introduction of a charge for people making appeals against [DWP] decisions to social security tribunals” to raise money for the justice department.

What is not said is that this is likely to save a huge amount of money for the DWP through allowing more unjust sanction decisions.

Currently 58% of all appeals to tribunals are successful, a shockingly large figure and evidence again of the fact that targets are driving the huge increase in sanctions rather than any rise in offences by unemployed people.

The existence of targets was confirmed last month by the work and pensions committee of MPs.

Ipswich based Neil Bateman was cited in the Guardian,

Neil Bateman, a long-serving welfare rights lawyer, also described the policy idea as a disgrace. He said: “Stopping people from challenging bad decisions actually strikes at the heart of our democratic arrangement.” He said many of the people he had successfully represented over the years at tribunals would not have got justice if they had been made to pay a fee and that even £5 would be too high a charge for them.

Bateman said that from his experience, a very high proportion of appeals were caused by mistakes and poor-quality decision-making by the DWP. He said this had risen in recent years because the department had got rid of experienced DWP decision-makers, social security law had become more complex and attitudes had changed.

“Under this government there is an attitudinal issue in terms of evidence of increased DWP staff antipathy towards clients and that all results in decisions which are wrong which eventually get turned over at appeal,” Bateman said.

Will this also affect those appealing against ATOS decisions?

The Independent comments,

Figures from the DWP show that one in five recommendations by the Atos firm that suggest benefit recipients are fit for work are overturned at appeal. DWP say the ‘one in five’ figure comes with a caveat: that often more information is being presented at appeal than they were originally party to.

Disability minister Mike Penning last week told MPs the scale of appeals – around 600,000 since its introduction – meant there was “real concern” about the work being carried out. The new proposals are particularly worrying given that anyone wanting to appeal a decision that they are fit to work first has to have all their paperwork looked at again, while receiving no sickness benefits. The Citizens Advice Bureau believes this will result in thousands of people being wrongly forced to survive on no income at all.

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 26, 2014 at 10:40 am

29 Responses

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  1. Reblogged this on seachranaidhe1.

    seachranaidhe1

    February 26, 2014 at 10:46 am

  2. Reblogged this on skully1973's Blog.

    skully1973

    February 26, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    • The idea of charging claimants comes at a time when people are going to have to pay to challenge getting the sack,

      The introduction of charges once the bill is passed will mean workers will have to pay to take their case to a tribunal – which, until now, has been free. The proposed new fees will be £250 for lodging a standard claim and a further £950 if it goes to a hearing.”

      http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/mar/23/employment-tribunals-work-and-careers

      For someone who has lost their job, the total £1,200 may be a serious hurdle, especially as it comes as help with legal fees is being drastically scaled back.”

      Andrew Coates

      February 26, 2014 at 4:23 pm

      • £250 for an sanction appeal?

        At current a County Court claim for £245 (closest possible to the £250 amount) is to sue someone for £5000 to £15,000

        https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money/court-fees

        I expected the initial fee to be around £30, £50 or £80 – all of which are far too high.

        I think the intention is so people cannot use legal aid, I suppose if you cannot prove a recent payment of Jobseekers Allowance (i.e. you couldn’t because you had been sanctioned) then the legal aid payments will be restricted? I am sure there are low-income alternatives but for the average person wouldn’t understand how to go about this.

        We will see.

        Universal Jobmatch

        March 2, 2014 at 8:45 pm

  3. anyone know what is in the ‘bundle’ that the jc send to an appeal tribunal?

    claire

    February 26, 2014 at 7:55 pm

  4. The job is now to discourage as many people as possible & harass them into signing off, not try to get them a job.
    Posted in Benefits, Job Centre

    From the facebook page ‘Atos Miracles’, 24th Jan 2014

    “”As a Jobcentre worker who took early retirement last year to get away from the pressures & stress I can confirm what many contributors are saying. Since the change of government in 2010 there was a total shift in emphasis in what we are there for. It is now to “police” the benefit system, “protect the public purse” & deter people from claiming anything. We are NOT there to help or advise people anymore.

    We had a mystery shopper process where we would be rung up & visited several times a year & mystery shoppers would ask questions about claiming, ask for leaflets etc. This was fed back to offices & used to improve the service. The new government scrapped it. Staff now know that they can say any old rubbish to customers, forget to mention things that can be claimed for & no one is going to challenge them. We were even told by management that “x” was available but that we were not to tell claimants & only discuss if asked by them.

    The job is now to discourage as many people as possible & harass them into signing off, not try to get them a job or what they are entitled to. Claimants are referred to pointless courses in the hope that they won’t go….so then we can stop their money.

    It does not matter if anything we do is of use to claimants. If staff don’t do this they are threatened with disciplinary action & possible dismissal. Staff are left with a” them or us” attitude. Many of my ex colleagues have mortgages & kids & are trapped. As jobcentre workers they know how hard it is to get a job & no one wants ex Jobcentre staff!”

    https://welfaretales.wordpress.com/tag/job-centre/

    There is no end to this department’s scheming ways’ sitting there being told bare faced lies after being harassed and intimidated couldn’t happen anywhere else.the total abuse of jobseekers directions to send people on useless courses for relaxation therapy is ridiculous.

    There clearly hoping claimants will just disappear from the system.

    ken

    February 26, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    • ken :
      The job is now to discourage as many people as possible & harass them into signing off, not try to get them a job.

      Yep, that’s the JCP actual policy, I have it from 2 sources.

      Another Fine Mess

      February 26, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      • Were they not getting Easter eggs last year as incentives for sanctions and rejecting benefit applications?

        Chris

        February 27, 2014 at 1:35 am

      • Totally agree.

        Andrew Coates

        February 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm

  5. It’s all going tit’s up for Iain Duncan Smith.

    First this week we had this:

    There are problems with the delivery of the Personal Independence Payment, the new benefit to replace the Disability Living Allowance.

    Disabled people have been left waiting months for an assessment with providers Capita and Atos along with the DWP running at long delays.

    http://www.channel4.com/news/disability-benefits-contractor-runs-into-trouble-video

    Then there’s this:

    IDS loses battle on child poverty: Osborne blocks plan to tear up official definition.

    Plans to tear up the official definition of child poverty will be put on ice today following a Government row.

    Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith proposed that factors such as family breakdown and debt should be included in a new measure of children’s life chances.

    But senior colleagues are understood to have warned that the move would leave the Government open to charges of deliberately changing the goalposts in an attempt to mask the alleged impact of its austerity policies.

    Labour work and pensions spokesman Rachel Reeves said: ‘Any attempt to change the way poverty is measured won’t do anything to help the children whose lives are being damaged… under this Government’

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2568913/IDS-loses-battle-child-poverty-Osborne-blocks-plan-tear-official-definition.html

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 27, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    • His, and his ‘reforms’ days must be numbered surely!

      “The National Audit Office discovered that the new personal independence payment, which will replace the disability living allowance, will cost almost three and a half times more to administer and take double the amount of time to process.”
      http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/27/benefit-mismanagement-hurting-sick-and-disabled-atos-capita

      Another Fine Mess

      February 27, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    • We haven’t been hearing anything lately about Community Work Placements – does anyone know what’s going on? Normally, by now, you’d be hearing IDS and Osborne beating their chests non-stop. I’m not unhopeful the whole thing will prove unworkable and fall flat on its face before it has even begun.

      jj joop

      February 27, 2014 at 7:22 pm

      • Exactly my thoughts.

        I have looked but so far there is nothing.

        All I get is continuous pressure to do some kind of ‘voluntary work’.

        Andrew Coates

        February 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      • Andrew: I don’t get anything. I just go in, sign on and that’s it. No pressure; no nothing.

        jj joop

        February 28, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      • Having said that, though. I think your age does come in to it. I’m nearly 60. I have found it’s mostly the under forties who seem to get all the hassle and pressure. They tend to leave us coffin-dodgers alone.

        jj joop

        February 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm

  6. This is how stupid the DWP actually are:

    Rochdale coma woman Sheila Holt told to ‘find work’.

    An “unreserved apology” had been issued by the government to the family of a woman who was sent a letter encouraging her to find work even though she has been in a coma for two months.

    Sheila Holt, from Rochdale, was invited to “intensive job-focused activity”.

    “Members of her family repeatedly informed Seetec, a contractor carrying out work capability assessments for the DWP, that she was not well “but they continued to get harassed by those organisations”.

    Ms Holt’s father Ken said her last job was 27 years ago and last year she was forced to go on a job-seeking course for eight days.

    After each day she became more and more agitated until she “cracked” her father said, and was hospitalised following a “manic episode”.

    But while in hospital she suffered a heart attack on 17 December last year and is still in a coma after suffering brain damage.

    He said: “If they had left her alone she would not be in this condition. They were threatening her with cuts and she needs the benefits.

    “I just believe it’s all wrong, you should be chasing the people who are fit, get them to work, not them that are not fit. It’s outrageous.”

    Mr Penning said: “I apologise, unreservedly, to the family as the minister responsible.

    “The family have every right to be aggrieved and I hope she makes a full recovery.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-26377119

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 28, 2014 at 11:47 am

  7. Anyone been doing naughty things in front of their webcam?

    Optic Nerve: millions of Yahoo webcam images intercepted by GCHQ.

    • 1.8m users targeted by UK agency in six-month period alone.
    • Optic Nerve program collected Yahoo webcam images in bulk.
    • Yahoo: ‘A whole new level of violation of our users’ privacy’
    • Material included large quantity of sexually explicit images.

    In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/gchq-nsa-webcam-images-internet-yahoo

    I wonder how many polititians have been caught in the nude!

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    • You sure? How much child pornography has been saved and viewed by spies?

      It happens, probably a good 1 in 10 yahoo webcam sessions are adult rated – out of these there will be underage (under 18), teenagers showing their body etc. to their boyfriends/girlfriends and even to strangers.

      To think the Government is useless at tackling rape, murders and child grooming etc. yet on the other hand they have been saving so much data they have intercepted that could surely incriminate these evil people out there? its totally disgusting.

      Universal Jobmatch

      March 2, 2014 at 8:51 pm

  8. Esther McVile moves up the ladder again:

    Esther McVey describes appointment to position that advises the Queen as an “honour”

    The Wirral West MP has been given a position on the Privy Council.

    Not all members are invited to attend the monthly Privy Council meetings but membership is for life.

    This means the Conservative MP can now use the title Right Honourable.

    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/esther-mcvey-describes-appointment-position-6758233

    Please make up your own titles as ‘Right Honourable’ doesn’t quite sit right!

    Obi Wan Kenobi

    February 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    • Maybe the queen will pay for Miss McVile to go on an elocution course, you can just imagine the spectacle of McVile’s accent in the palace.

      Obi Wan Kenobi

      February 28, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      • You can imagine what the queen would probably say to Miss McVile:

        “Esther – if you can’t put things more eloqu

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        February 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      • sorry mean’t to say,

        “Esther – if can’t put things more eloquently, please shut your cake hole”

        Obi Wan Kenobi

        February 28, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    • Around here ‘Privy Council’ means a public loo.

      With her views on welfare scroungers, won’t it be a just little bit embarrasing when she’s ‘advising’ the Queen.

      Another Fine Mess

      February 28, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    • What the fucking hell is going on? She’s only been an MP for a couple of years. She probably got her tits out for Prince Philip or something; a private viewing. Jesus H Christ!

      jj joop

      February 28, 2014 at 4:52 pm

  9. As some have noticed recently or should i say not so recently, up comes a banner on UJM titled A note about cookies. When clicking on the link

    http://www.aboutcookies.org

    Please make a note of the entry titled “cookie law” in the left list and click on it to reiterate an individuals right to have consent obtained first by the site prior to the installation of cookies irrespective of who owns the PC and or internet connection.

    If DWP advisors incite in the future that they or their providers DONT NEED CONSENT while using their systems then simply guide them to the UJM site as they all have access to it.

    So much for forcing individuals to use their system to carryout a 35 hour a week jobsearch.

    gaia

    February 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    • You are allowed 2 hours a day in Ipswich library, that’s 14 hours week.

      It is physically impossible to do more than 14 hours a week on the UJM site if you don’t have a link at home.

      And Ipswich is provided with free public terminals – not the case in lots of places, even if you can get access to a Web-link.

      Which is all assuming that you know how to, or are at ease with, the Net.

      Andrew Coates

      February 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm

      • of course you could always pay for additional hours (subject to caps too I believe) but at such a percentage of weekly income, you might as well move in and live there!

        Universal Jobmatch

        March 2, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      • Love The New Computers In Ipswich No Logging In With Library Card. I’ve Stayed 3 Hours.

        Library

        June 26, 2014 at 9:59 am

      • So have I!

        Andrew Coates

        June 26, 2014 at 10:11 am


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