Site www.refuted.org.uk no longer updated from today, August 1st 2015

As of August 1st 2015 this site will no longer being updated, therefore any rights based information can no longer be relied upon. However, as most of the website is based upon and refers to Freedom of information Act (FOIA) responses, [DWP provider guidance and contracts] anyone can make new similar FOIA requests via https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/dwp to cross check the validity of the information on http://www.refuted.org.uk that relies upon FOIA disclosures.

http://refuted.org.uk/foi/august/

DWP loses another 3 FOI tribunal hearings, must release names of workfare exploiters

The DWP has lost 3* first tier FOI tribunal appeal hearings on disclosure of the names of Mandatory Work Activity (MWA), Work Programme and Day One Support for Young People Trailblazer workfare exploiters. The tribunal’s decision was “unanimous” and found the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) disclosure exemptions claimed by the DWP on The economy s.29; – Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs s.36(2)(c); – Commercial interests/trade secrets s.43 unfounded and “should therefore fail”. Therefore the DWP must disclose the withheld information, or seek an appeal. All of the 3 requesters Sheldon, Sheenan and Chance used WhatDoTheyKnow.com to make these FOI requests, alongside the cited case of Zola, with regards naming MWA workfare exploiters throughout the UK.

“Each of the appeals therefore fails and the DWP should respond to each of
the information requests in the manner indicated in the relevant decision
notice*” View full tribunal decision onlinedownload (pdf)

*Original FOI requests
Sheldon – : Groundworks and work programme placementsICO notice (FS50517872)
Sheenan – : Divine Rescue MWAICO notice (FS50515872)
Chance – : Day One Support for young People TrailblazerICO notice (FS50520380)
Case cited: ZolaSuccessful bidders (MWA), with historical links and full text of decisions.
Your Freedom of Information Act: Making requests, tips and ideas for Campaigns, Media exposure and to know your rights

Hat tip: @FOIkid

Two more FOI workfare tribunals for #WorkProgramme and Day One Support for Young People Trailblazer

Following the recent Upper Tribunal hearing into releasing the names of workfare hosts for the Mandatory Work Activity scheme. Two further hearings have been set for Thursday October 30th, for the names of workfare placement hosts under the Work Programme and the Day One Support for Young People Trailblazer (“DOSfYP”).

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Community Work Placement Action Plans: Do not sign?

If a Claimant did not wish to sign an action plan they need not sign an Action Plan. We will review the Community Work Placement provider guidance; and issue an amendment to clarify this.” https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mandatory_to_sign_cwp_action_pla

#DoNotSign resources: http://refuted.org.uk/category/donotsign/

Your Freedom of Information Act: Making requests, tips and ideas for Campaigns, Media exposure and to know your rights

Much of this website and it’s forerunner consent.me.uk relies heavily upon disclosures made through Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requests. In this endeavour the preeminent resource has to be: whatdotheyknow.com (WDTK)

This is because WDTK makes FOI requests easy to do and track progress, but crucially the whole process is open to the public. So everyone can learn from having full access to the actual requests and subsequent disclosures, refusals, internal reviews and any follow up annotations of challenges via Information Rights Tribunals.

Know Your Rights

FOI requests are very good for knowing your rights, particularly with regards Winning Benefit Appeals, at the Jobcentre, Universal Jobmatch, Avoiding Workfare and defeating Work Programme sanctions to name a few.

Boycott Workfare

Recently Boycott Workfare used FOI requests to publish it’s research on UK councils using half a million hours of workfare, followed up by media reports in the likes of the Mirror and Guardian.

FOI directory

Whilst WDTK is very good, it only allows for one FOI request to be made at a time and for anyone wanting to send an FOI directly by email it only discloses one address at a time. This is where the ‘FOI directory‘ comes in really handy, as they have produced useful resources like a complete list of FOI email address for all 435 City, Borough and District Local Councils: http://foidirectory.co.uk/city-borough-district-councils-foi/

Send hundreds of FOI requests individually addressed

The above kind of resource can be useful with the Mail Merge functions of most Email software to send each Council an individually addressed request. Mozilla Thunderbird is  free open-source email software and has a Mail Merge add-on. Check ‘How to do an email merge in Thunderbird

Expose cruel and vindictive companies like Seetec

Seetec is one of the DWP’s Work Programme Providers who in just one week asked the DWP to make destitute 4,417 people by benefit sanctions.

In a 5 week period Seetec tried to sanction benefits of nearly 13,000 people (Weeks 18 to 22). In one week alone it called to make 4,417 people destitute (Week 20), compared to 2 by Prospects.

Help the DWP reach it’s FOI target of 8,000 requests

To help reach this target go to: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/body/dwp and submit your FOI requests now and often. In 2013 it’s reached it’s target of 4000 requests.

Benefit Sanctions: Jobcentre evidence gathering questions and computer screen shots

The DWP has disclosed computer screen shots of the ‘DART (Decision and Automated Referral Toolkit). Also known as Labour Market Toolkit’. They show the evidence gathering process Jobcentre ‘Advisers’ undertake before auto referring a JSA entitlement doubt to a Decision Maker by computer. (DM)

If someone subject to a JSA entitlement doubt does not respond to the questions disclosed, evidence gathering potentially leading to a sanction(s) is limited, therefore not answering questions could frustrate any DM referral. It would seem reasonable that a Jobcentre adviser be requested to supply a copy [print out] of all the questions they have, so more considered responses can be given, ideally after independent advice has been secured.

DART: “The Decision and Automated Referral Toolkit is an internal DWP IT system used to send certain sanction doubts to a Labour Market Decision Maker.  Please find a document attached containing screen shots of the system.” https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/181568/response/444578/attach/html/3/Response%204977.pdf.html
From: DWP Central FoI Team – 29 October 2013

Sample DART screen shot: “did you actually apply for any jobs”?

View all disclosures: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/toolkits#incoming-444578

The above processes likely to have been amended as a consequence of the 28th October 2013 changes for challenging Benefit Decisions. More comments on this in the DWP cover letter.

DART and Dart Board Fraud referrals?

Curiously the Jobcentre computer icon for a Fraud Referral is a Dart Board

Image source via dwp 

Notes: Welfare rights law and DWP guidance, in particular, changes frequently.
You may find more recent information via http://refuted.org.uk/category/ or by using the website search facility (top right)