Feb 222014

I am delighted to see that Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, has written to Sheila Gilmore MP in response to her complaint to the authority over the Work Capability Assessment statistics.

This follows a great deal of intensive research in to the figures on the ilegal/mylegal forums to which Sheila Gilmore’s attention has been drawn and which she has acknowledged.  Her unstinting challenge of the DWP in her role on the Parliamentary select committee over the dreaded Employment & Support Allowance along with many other increasingly alarming elements of welfare reform are to be applauded.

And here follows Dilnot’s reply, to view it all use this link…..

In my view we are only scratching the surface with a much deeper failing in these statistics which has yet to emerge.  What particularly galls me is how the media as well as government and its ministers have continually based all their (mis) reporting on the back of figures which it is becoming more and more obvious were flawed from the outset.  The error which emerges in this instance is one where the DWP are effectively concealing their own ‘overturns’ within a set of statistics which have been misrepresented as ones subject to ‘initial assessment’.

The effect of this is (1) to hide the true initial results and (2) to keep from the public the true number of decisions which the DWP considers to be erroneous at the initial stage.

My bigger concern is what these figures hide; the true number of claimants who have appealed.  Figures from Her Majesties Tribunals, Courts and Tribunals Service confirm that over 1 million Employment & Support Allowance appeals have been lodged with Tribunals, many more will be waiting for action at the DWP and no clear figures have yet been made available making it clear as to how many internal reconsiderations by the DWP have led to Work Capability Assessment results being overturned.

Our thanks as ever to Nick –a true hero

Go to http://ilegal.org.uk/thread/7258/serious-flaws-governments-statistics?page=12&scrollTo=21206

To see this post in all its glory including tweet to Nick thanking him for his research from Sheila Gilmore

Please follow Nick on twitter and support his great work @Mylegalforum

May 292013

The chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Andrew Dilnot, has responded to a complaint from Sheila Gilmore MP regarding an article published in the Daily Telegraph which implied that 900,000 people who had been in receipt of Incapacity Benefit had dropped their claims rather than undergo a face-to-face assessment for the replacement benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). The article quoted Rt Hon. Grant Shapps MP, in his capacity as Conservative Party Chairman, as saying “This is a new figure, nearly a million people have come off incapacity benefit…before going for the test. They take themselves off.”

After investigation, Mr Dilnot concluded that these statements were misleading, although he formulates his response more diplomatically, as the 900,000 persons quoted did not appear to be claiming Incapacity Benefits, but represented the cumulative total of 878,300 new ESA claims which were closed before undergoing assessessment in the period from October 2008 to May 2012. Which means these people closed their claims before receiving benefits, and this happened over a period of four years. And according to research undertaken by DWP, an important reason why ESA claims in this sample were withdrawn or closed before they were fully assessed was because the person recovered and either returned to work, or claimed a benefit more appropriate to their situation.

Regarding claimants on Incapacity Benefits, a total of 603,600 recipients were referred for reassessment as part of the migration across to ESA between March 2011 and May 2012. Of these, 19,700 claims were closed prior to a work capability assessment in the period to May 2012.

Again, the right wing press and the Conservative Party have been caught red handed manipulating the figures. This is an exercise that DWP and IDS have also mastered over the past 3 years, by repeatedly using the number of new ESA claims to boost the number of people found fit for work, and distorting the real picture. The real picture for those who can remember the media headlines fed by DWP ” 70% of Britons on ‘incapacity benefits’ found to be fit to work”, is that with a much more stringent test, over 70% of people previously on incapacity benefits are still entitled to them.

Link to PDF copy of  letter HERE