> Regarding an outstanding as yet undisclosed report on DWP investigation of 60 Welfare Related Deaths.
I understand the DWP told the Guardian it had no plans to disclose these internal reports.
It is held that the DWP intends to invoke section 36, which is designed to protect information whose disclosure under FOI would, or would be likely to, prejudice “the maintenance of the convention of the collective responsibility” of ministers; would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank provision of advice, or the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation; would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.
Im sure this is a self protectionist measure too far . I know you share my disgust of Welfare Reforms and its antisocial nature.
Will you raise this question, over disclosure, of the results at Prime Ministers Questions next week? Im sure all Ministers would be interested to hear the PMs reply.
I think We need to seriously expose this governments lack of application and service to the general public.
That was because many people are interested in ALL the affects of Welfare Reform, as am I. It is having catastrophic effects on people and communities. Television programmes are using suffering as what some people call poverty porn, which doesnt actually enforce a social conscience, but reinforces a disgust and scum feeling, an anti representation of reality, that shows the RHETORIC of a non caring Govt, and reinforces their ideals of Worthless Scroungers.
The rhetoric is poison.
YOU COULD be out of work next week? Or become ill or sick at any time.
Do you ask your MP about social issues? Rhetoric? Dont give up.
IT COULD BE YOU .
UPDATE 20TH JANUARY...
Excellent reply from my MP about the DWP . "thank you for your letter 17 the January. This is indeed a very disturbing situation and I shall follow it up. I do not know whether I will get a chance to raise it at Prime Ministers Questions, but I shall write to you as soon as I have any news" can't be fairer than that!
UPDATE 21ST JANUARY...
Emailed MP courteously as follows:
Thank you for your attention to my earlier briefing.
I note it wasnt possible today for you to raise issue at PMQs
It is an issue that has disturbed me. And I appreciate any highlighting of this you can make in the most public manner possible.
UPDATE 18TH FEBRUARY 2015
My MP elicited this reply from IDS ...
12 february 2015
Dear Gerald ((edit: again note lack of protocol , Its Sir Gerald))
Thankyou for your letter 19th Jan on behalf of ((your constituent)) regarding Peer Review Information .
The Department for Work And Pensions (DWP) is currently handling several Freedom of Information requests regarding the release of Peer Review information.
The DWP is required to consider the relevant legislation before releasing information. The Department is currently at this stage and will provide appropriate responses to the Freedom Of Information requests in due course.
The RT Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP
-------- This i fear shows that indeed the intent is to use a section 36. And only scratches at an answer.
UPDATE THURSDAY 19TH FEB
This from Samuel Miller ...
t's official: The DWP has just informed me that it will NOT release the 49 internal reviews of benefit-related deaths, even with the personal information redacted. (Disclosing the content of these reviews, even in anonymised and summarised form, may still allow individuals to be identified, states the DWP) The information requested is being withheld as it falls under the exemption in Section 44 of the Act and Section 36 (2) (b) and (c) of the Freedom of Information Act.
Dear Mr Miller,
Thank you for your Freedom of Information request received on 24/11/2014. You asked for:-
With regard to this article (http://disabilitynewsservice.com/2014/11/dwp-admits-investigating-
60-benefit-related-deaths-since-2012/) published online by Disability News Service, I am
writing to request that the 60 peer reviews, conducted by the DWP following the death of a
customer since February 2012, be mailed to my home address, which is below my signature
Please be mindful that I am only requesting the peer reviews themselves and not the personal
files of benefit claimants, so the Data Protection Act should NOT be triggered by this FOI
request. If necessary, please feel free to redact personal information contained in the 60 peer
review files, which may violate the Act, but NOT the analysis and any conclusions.
We wrote to you on 21 January and again on 17 February explaining that we needed more
time to assess the public interest because the information you seek engages an exemption
which requires the public interest to be considered.
I should like to advise that although the Department had conducted 60 Peer Reviews in total
by the time it responded to an FOI request with the figure you have quoted, in fact only 49 of
these reviews had been conducted in circumstances where the claimant had died. The
Department regrets the error in its previous response on this point.
I confirm that the Department holds the information you have requested but it is being withheld
as it falls under the exemption in Section 44 of the Act and Section 36 (2) (b) and (c) of the
Freedom of Information Act
The exemption at section 44 of the FoI Act
Section 123 of the Social Security Administration Act (SSSA) 1992 makes it an offence for
anyone who is employed in social security administration to disclose without lawful authority
any information which he acquired in the course of that employment and which relates to a
particular person. All the personal information contained in a Peer Review report is captured
by this provision.
Disclosing the content of these reviews, even in anonymised and summarised form, may still
allow individuals to be identified.
This triggers the FoI exemption at section 44 of the FoI Act which recognises existing statutory bars to disclosure contained in other statutes. Section 44 is an absolute exemption which means that there is no requirement to consider the public interest test in such cases.
The exemptions at section 36(2)(b) and (c) of the FoI Act
This exemption covers information which if released would, or would be likely to, prejudice the free and frank provision of advice or which would otherwise, or would be likely otherwise, to prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.
This is because disclosing the recommendations contained in these reviews, even in anonymised format, would be likely to inhibit the candour of their authors and so undermine their purpose.
This exemption requires the public interest for and against disclosure to be balanced. In this instance we concluded that the public interest weighed in favour of withholding the requested information because of the risks and harm identified above.
If you have, any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.
DWP Central FoI Team
so they used 44 and 36