Benefit-Related Suicides: DWP Forced to Open up?
Not to Escape Responsibility for Deaths.
A Few Days ago:
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is facing an investigation into its refusal to publish ‘secret’ reviews into 49 benefit-related deaths, it has been reported today.
The investigation was launched by the Information Commissioners Office following a complaint from Disability News Service (DNS).
A number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, including from DNS, demanding that the DWP publish its reviews into benefit-related deaths have been rebuffed by the department.
Officials have since admitted that of the 49 reviews the DWP has carried out so far, 33 included a recommendation to make improvements and 40 were made in response to an apparent suicide.
The DWP says publishing the reviews could represent a breach of section 44 of the Freedom of Information Act; which states that it would be an offence for a DWP employee to, “disclose without lawful authority any information which he acquired in the course of that employment and which relates to a particular person”.
A complaint from DNS has now sparked an investigation by the information watchdog.
Just now we learn: Information commissioner to force DWP to be transparent about investigation into benefit-related suicides. Third Force News.
England’s information commissioner is to launch an investigation into the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) “refusal” to reveal reviews into 49 benefit-related deaths.
It comes after the DWP refused several requests to publish the information saying publishing the reviews could represent a breach of section 44 of the Freedom of Information Act.
The act states it would be an offence for a DWP employee to “disclose without lawful authority any information which he acquired in the course of that employment and which relates to a particular person”.
However, a complaint by campaign group Disability News Service (DNS) has launched an investigation by the watchdog.
Campaigners believe sanctions and cuts to benefits have been so severe many claimants – especially those with mental health problems – have taken their own lives.
The investigation will take a number of months to conclude but in the event investigators rule against the DWP the decision can be appealed.
A spokesman for the information commissioner’s office said: “The focus of my investigation will be to determine whether the DWP is entitled to rely on section 44 as a basis for refusing to provide the information you requested.
“Should it not be a valid refusal of your request the commissioner will also determine what information can be provided within the appropriate cost limit.”
We should make it clear: CO not ‘investigating’ DWP on suicide reports, is assessing if FOI Act refusal justified
As the so-called opinion polls saying that 99.9% of people back sending unemployment out to clean the streets with their toothbrushes and beg for charity in Food Banks cover the pages of the Sun, the Mail and Express, spare a thought for the poor bastards who’d had enough of all that – and ended up in these “events”.