The government has set up a Commission to examine the Freedom of Information Act and consider what further restrictions should be imposed on the right to know.
In a letter co-ordinated by the Campaign, over 140 media bodies, campaign groups and others wrote to the Prime Minister in September 2015, expressing concern about the Commission’s composition and terms of reference.
Belatedly, the Commission issued a consultation paper which suggested it is considering sweeping restrictions to the legislation, including:
- imposing charges for requests
- making it easier to refuse requests on cost grounds
- making it more difficult to obtain public authorities’ internal discussions, or excluding some from access altogether
- strengthening ministers’ powers to veto disclosures
- changing the way the Act is enforced.
The Campaign together with ARTICLE 19 held a briefing meeting on October 21 2015 for organisations proposing to respond to the consultation. The meeting was attended by nearly 60 organisations. The slides from the meeting are available here.
Provider Forms: “Not a mandatory requirement for claimants to fill in or sign any provider forms or documents when participating in a provider led mandatory activity or programme.” Freedom of Information response from the DWP.
This is important: Hat-Tip: jj.joop.
We signal that we are only publishing the response, and this cannot be taken as in itself guidance for any form of action by claimants whatsoever.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
Central Freedom of Information Team
[DWP request email]
Our reference: VTR FOI 152
Date: 28 January 2015
Dear Mr Allen
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 14 January 2016. You asked
Please provide me with any recorded data held by the DWP stating it is a mandatory requirement for claimants to fill in or sign any provider forms or documents when participating in a provider led mandatory activity or programme.
Also please provide me with any recorded data held by the DWP detailing exactly what action the DWP or a provider can take against a claimant who has agreed to participate in a provider led mandatory activity or programme but who has also declined to fill or sign any provider forms or documents. By forms and documents, I mean: Health and safety checklist, claimant code
of practice, action plans, timesheets, induction checklist sheets, data protection waivers, and so on.
It is not a mandatory requirement for claimants to fill in or sign any provider forms or documents when participating in a provider led mandatory activity or programme.
Because it is not mandatory, there is no recorded data held detailing any action DWP or a provider can take against those who have declined to sign
said forms or documents.
Participants are required to do all they reasonably can to give themselves the best chance of finding work.
Should a participant decline to sign the provider’s forms, this does not mean that they do not have to participate in the programme.
The referral letter given to a participant by Jobcentre Plus details the potential consequences for failing to participate as required.
If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.
DWP Central FoI Team
Charges for Freedom of Information requests are being considered b.y commission reviewing laws
Body tasked with proposing changes to FoI laws could propose people pay a fee for requests, it has emerged as call for evidence issued.