Jun 172014
 

DWP ministers said only 9% of ESA decisions were wrong.  Our research reveals the DWP have been quoting from figures which state 151,800 appeals have succeeded.  Our evidence shows the true figure to be at least 567,634 – casting serious doubt over 43% of 1,302,200 ‘fit for work’ decisions. 
 

ilegal Press Release – 16th June 2013


DWP’s internal figures reveal a much higher number of successful ESA appeals than have been made publicly available.

article-2520639-19FD00E400000578-512_634x330

DWP reply on 13 June 2014 to a Freedom of Information Act request made as part of an investigation in to DWP figures relating to the controversial Work Capability Assessment by ilegal.org.uk has revealed that of 1,287,323 ESA appeals, at least 567,634 claimants have had the original DWP decision overturned in their favour.

Government’s key defence of the assessments has been that around 9% of all decisions are incorrect.  The most controversial of which are those where a claimant is found fit for work.  DWP figures (for new claims) show that betweenOctober 2008 and September 2013 a total of 1,306,200 fit for work decisions have been made.

It is with considerable disappointment noted that the DWP’s latest publicly available statistics confirm that only 151,800 successful appeals have been recorded out of a total of 410,400 appeals (for new claimants only).  Our investigations reveal evidence of three times as many appeals being ‘internally recorded’ of which
567,634 have been successful.  The DWP have revealed to us figures which show nearly quarter of a million internal reconsiderations have led to decisions on new ESA claims being overturned in favour of the claimant; we have added these to figures from HMCTS tribunals which provides us with a much higher figure than the DWP seems to be prepared to admit to in their publicly available figures.

Our intensive research into the assessment of claimants for the DWP’s Employment & Support Allowance (ESA) has, following a freedom of information request to the DWP, provided one of the final pieces of the jigsaw needed to unpick the Department’s overly complicated statistics. We now have the final clue which has enabled us to identify that no less than 567,634 ESA claimants have in fact had their initial ESA refusals overturned in their favour.

It is a startling revelation that the government department has apparently been keeping a lid on a set of statistics that clearly shows between May 2010 and June 2013 no less than 820,356 decisions were looked at again by the DWP after claimants had been assessed by the controversial private contractors Atos Healthcare. These ‘internal’ statistics show that a very substantial 232,782 (28.5%) decisions were then subsequently overturned in the claimant’s favour.

What makes this all the worse is that these reconsideration statistics come on top of separate figures that show us that of those claimants who did not have the decisions overturned in their favour by the DWP, 817,102 went on to appeal to tribunals arranged by Her Majesties’ Courts & Tribunals Service where a further 332,607 were then overturned in the claimant’s favour by the tribunal.

These figures completely negate all of the DWP’s claims that it is getting the majority of its decisions right

These figures completely negate all of the DWP’s claims that it is getting the majority of its decisions right. Government ministers in conjunction with the DWP’s Press office have been telling us that a million claimants have been found fit for work whereas these figures show that in reality this is only a small part of the true story and that huge numbers have gone on to successfully appeal decisions which were wrong.

These new figures highlight the dubious practice of using the unchallenged assessment results, which only encourage media sensationalisation, with headlines such as those appearing in the Daily Express in July 2011 stating that ‘75% on sickness benefits were faking’. The same article goes on to say that out of ‘…2.6 million on the sick, 1.9 million could work’ before receiving an endorsement from the Prime Minister with an assurance that his government was “producing a much better system where we put people through their paces and say that if you can work, you should work”.

DWP and Ministers know the truth, they just aren’t telling anyone

These figures have been available to the DWP and its ministers since April 2010 from their ‘Decision Making & Appeals Case Recorder (DMACR) – ESA Management Information Statistics’. The DWP confirms this to be unpublished information which is for internal department information only, yet our research notes that the Right Hon Chris Grayling was using the same information in answer to Parliamentary questions on the 10th January 2012. 

We question then why the DWP has consistently ‘over promoted’ only the results of Work Capability Assessments relating to ‘initial’ decisions (including the opinions of Atos Healthcare in the absence of a statutory DWP decision) when it could instead have come clean and declared how hundreds of thousands of their incorrect decisions have since been overturned in favour of the person appealing.

These revelations seriously undermine the DWP’s contention that the initial Work Capability Assessment outcomes are a valid measure of the claimant’s ability to work. The DWP has consistently defended its assessments by giving an impression that only a relatively low number of decisions have been overturned whereas the reality is that well over half a million have resulted in a successful outcome for the claimant.

And this DOES NOT include the 712,000 people awaiting assessments BEFORE they can appeal

This news must have come as cause for grave concern when considered in the light of a recent revelation by DWP Minister Mike Penning which revealed that in addition to the figures we have highlighted, a further 712,000 Employment & Support Allowance claimants are awaiting assessments without which they cannot yet appeal.

This hugely unacceptable backlog of cases means people with disabling medical conditions are left hanging for months and months on a basic allowance way below what they are entitled to. This is leaving hundreds of thousands deprived of the support they require and means having to scrape by on money which is wholly insufficient to meet their needs due to disability and illness. It also means many claimants affected by severe and complex mental health conditions are facing prolonged torment as they wait month upon month for their decision to be overturned before they can even lodge an appeal.

Face up to reality: it doesn’t work. Scrap the WCA

These findings add considerably to the pleas of disabled groups all over the country to scrap the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and to find a better way to assess their needs.

It is simply appalling that the DWP, along with Ministers and other government spokespeople appear to be feeding the media with misleading statistics that are unrepresentative of the real story and instead encourage headlines vilifying the disabled and the genuinely ill. These figures clearly show the DWP has evidence in their possession which shows how in far too many cases the decisions it is making are dead wrong and they know they’re dead wrong.

Editorial notes

Please contact the author of this article Nick Dilworth for verification of any of the figures quoted.  We welcome sharing our findings on social media and allow this information to be produced providing credit is given to the
i-legal website with links to the article produced.

We apologise for the slight delay in publishing this release.  This was due to a need to align the figures to ones recently produced by the DWP in their Work Capability Assessment figures released on the 12th June 2014 which relate to the most recent statistics up to September 2013.

A full supporting explanatory memorandum will be published very shortly.

The Reconsideration statistics relate to new ESA claimants only (excluding incapacity benefit to ESA conversion cases) whereas HMCTS figures refer to all ESA claimants.  It is our contention that had the DWP supplied all of the information we had requested, the figures for reconsiderations would have been considerably higher.

We acknowledge that not all appeals will be against fit for work findings for new claimants but given the DWP’s emphasis on this claimant cohort and the lack of information to the contrary we are of the contention that other appeals relating to claimants being moved from the Work Related Activity Group to Support Group are likely to be of a much lower volume and more likely to be contained within the cohort relating to incapacity benefit/ESA assessment.

We would like to express our thanks to Anita Bellows an i-legal member for her cooperation and for making the freedom of information request upon our guidance and our thanks extend to the DPAC organisation with whom Anita is also a member.

http://ilegal.org.uk/thread/8640/release-staggering-numbers-overturned-secrecy?page=1&scrollTo=21759

with thanks as ever to Nick  @Mylegalforum

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

Jan 262014
 

As if we hadn’t had enough benefit bashing via Channel 4 with their highly dubious misrepresentation of everyone on benefits as accurately represented by the carefully selected participants of Benefit Street, it seems the BBC has joined the fray in their highly misleading (and factually wrong) headlines informing us: ‘Million sickness benefit applicants ‘fit for work’.’

I completely agree with Mike Sivier of Vox Political who accuses the “BBC of being a mouthpiece for the Tory party”, he’s wisely encouraging people to write in and complain.  It’s good advice to those who are incensed by the right wing media’s continual portrayal of everyone on benefits as low life scum.

So you know what you have to do; complain in your droves!

What the BBC won’t tell you is that over 5 million of you have been subjected to the humiliating & Support Allowance regime in terms of original claims, reassessments and transfers from existing benefits.  Whilst the overall claimant count hovers around 2.5 million, lightning has a nasty habit of striking more than once and thousands of you will have been repeatedly struck by the absolute chaos which surrounds the DWP’s handling of this particular benefit.  So hopefully there should be no shortage of complaints to the BBC.

But before doing so, I would encourage you to get ‘clued up’ on the facts which the BBC (and no doubt the papers which will follow) make no attempt to explain, as with so many of these reports they only give you half the story (well in this case considerably less) ……

For some extraordinary reason the DWP and media have an almost obsession with ‘new claims’ for the dreaded Employment & Support Allowance.  On nearly every statistical release the accent is principally on new claims, it’s not hard to understand why; they invariably provide the public with more sensationalist headlines over ‘millions being found fit for work or ‘closing their claims without an assessment’ (by the awful Atos ‘Healthcare’ who conduct the controversial examinations under £100 million contracts with the DWP).

Here’s what they don’t tell you….

Over 2.3 million cases are being left out of the BBC’s figures
leaving out claimant success rates of up to 88%.

Why leave out 88% claimant success rates?

Searching for Facts vs. Fiction - Magnifying Glass


In excess of 2.3 million incapacity benefit cases (each one yielding a result) being tested under the much stricter ‘Employment & Support Allowance’ regime and those who are ‘examined’ on a second, third or even fourth occasion are being completely left out of the figures.

Had the BBC fully reported the facts, they would have had to go in to the nasty truth which gets in the way of a good story.  They could have told you all how in the six months between October 2012 and May 2013 an average of 83% of 1,078,200 incapacity claimants were passing their assessments and 88% of those 1,332,300 ‘repeatedly assessed’ were re-qualifying for the allowance.

But the Beeb buried the good news.

Instead they chose to home in only new claimants who score a lower ‘pass’ rate at what the DWP incorrectly cite as an ‘initial’ assessment’.  The BBC cites an average of 32% of ‘new applicants’ being found ‘fit for work’ between 2008 and 2013.  I’m not sure where the BBC get the figure from as it’s more correctly an average of 46% for new claimants being found ‘fit for work’ with 54% qualifying for the allowance following assessment.  The figure rises to 60% when we look at the last six months to May 2013, I’ll come back to my reservations over these figures later on in this thread.

The BBC headlines are meaningless unless considered with the context of all the available facts.  It just looks like more of the same propaganda aimed at making us think people are coming off benefits and back in the work market.


Why doesn’t the BBC challenge the bigger picture? 

 

nick chart


Don’t they possess a calculator?


Let me show you what everyone out there seems to be missing, you’ll need to follow something which sadly seems too challenging for the BBC….

The BBC article tells us that very close to 2 million people have come off the sick either as a result of being found ‘fit for work’ or ‘closing their claims before being assessed’.   The clear intention of the BBC is to infer 2 million people should not have been claiming the sick and should instead be in the labour market, meaning either looking for work or in work.

The DWP tables for October 2008 to May 2013 tells us that the figure for ALL claimants found fit for work is in fact
1,453,400 and the numbers closing their claims amounts to 1,298,400 making a grand total of……


2,751,800 allegedly ready for labour market

Why didn’t the BBC give us the figure for ALL claimants?

I’d suggest; because they knew it would open up a can of worms for a government which they continually support with misleading articles when it comes to reporting on those ‘on the sick’.

Given that the above figures relate to the entire time the ESA assessment programme has been running (since 2008) it is is necessary to align the ESA figures with the time the Coalition has been in power.  This enables us to analyse how many (of ALL ESA claimants) have been found either ‘fit for work’ or who have ‘closed their claims before assessment’ since May 2010 to May 2013. The latest DWP figures available is (it will be even higher now):

1,856,100 allegedly ready for labour market
under Coalition

This infers that the Coalition has found 1.85 million claimants ready and able to enter the labour market.  Claimants in this position would generally claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or attempt to find work, (some will however neither claim or work). When it comes to work bear in mind that the Coalition claim to have found ‘1 million extra jobs’, it’s not enough to give everyone seemingly ‘coming off the sick’ a position in employment – it’s 856,100 short.

But remember, it’s NOT just the sick who are looking for work, we also need to consider other working age groups as others will potentially have to position themselves towards the labour market after coming off working age benefits, we also need to consider how many of our 1.85 million may perhaps claim another working age benefit.  The way we do is to check the DWP cumulative figures for ALL working age benefits and make a comparison between May 2010 and May 2013.

This is replicated copy and paste of a DWP table:

Quarter     

Total

JSA

Incap
/ESA


Lone parents


Carers     

Other
Income Based    


Disabled      

Bereaved

May-10

Aug-10

Nov-10

Feb-11

May-11

Aug-11

Nov-11

Feb-12

May-12

Aug-12

Nov-12

Feb-13

May-13

5,747.83  
5,744.64

5,685.60

5,765.34

5,709.55

5,802.82

5,778.16

5,881.70

5,753.88

5,708.22

5,636.79

5,695.38

5,541.49

1,354.62

1,349.71

1,328.91

1,438.67

1,404.14

1,482.86

1,478.43

1,589.64

1,484.07

1,471.07

1,443.54

1,514.37

1,371.62

2,613.10

2,606.61

2,586.42

2,578.66

2,570.22

2,582.18

2,575.60

2,557.68

2,528.14

2,517.07

2,499.96

2,475.67

2,456.47

679.15

672.35

648.3

613.78

595.4

595.29

581.62

584.17

577.08

545.24

510.06

504.89

499.73

430.23

439.43

445.44

450.42

456.06

465.99

470.96

477.15

486.94

495.71

504.13

513.61

523.64

192.19

191.38

192.03

191.76

187.18

180.08

174.91

169.11

164.96

159.9

156.01

151.26

147.79

390.81

396.81

399.38

406.31

411.01

413.11

413.84

420.7

429.51

437.17

442.2

454.31

460.53

87.74

88.36

85.11

85.75

85.55

83.3

82.79

83.25

83.17

82.06

80.89

81.26

81.7

Now let’s look at the difference within the same working age benefits by comparing 2010 against 2013….


Total

JSA


Incap/
ESA


Lone
Parents

Carers

Other
income
based

Disabled

Bereaved


Difference
between
2010
& 2013 >

 -206,340     

+17,000     

-156,630   

-179,420  

+93,410   

-44,400  

+69,720 

-6,040

These revealing figures show how the claimant count has risen or fallen in terms of actual claimant numbers recorded by the DWP unlike the ONS figures who collate the data using a ‘labour market survey’.

That’s how the ONS can provide more up to date figures than the DWP, the DWP work at a much slower pace and can only count claimants up to May 2013.  None the less the DWP claimant count is the one which most accurately informs us how many claimants are within the DWP system.

What we can see from these figures is this:

The numbers on JSA has actually increased by 17,000

The numbers on incapacity / ESA has fallen by 156,630

There are 179,420 fewer lone parents

93,410 more people are carers

Other income based claims are down by 44,400

The DWP aren’t too clear over their definition of ‘disabled’ within the claimant count

And finally, Bereavement claims are down by 6,040

The total reduction in ALL the main working age claims is 206,340 under the Coalition


Remember these are the actual claimant count figures derived from the DWP and therefore hard for anyone to refute, they are designated a reliable National statistic and are not based on surveys but on an actual measure of those claiming benefits.

So what conclusions can we draw



From the facts since May 2010?

Well, despite what the BBC tell you about nearly 2 million being identified as ready to hit the labour markets, the reality is they have under-quoted the overall figure, it’s actually 1,856,100 found either ‘fit for work’ or having ‘closed their claims before assessment’.  There’s no way 1.8 million claimants have somehow magically disappeared from the incapacity claim count (including ESA) because the DWP’s own figures confirm the overall numbers have only reduced by 156,630 since May 2010; it’s all there in black and white.

The BBC have failed to look at whether the numbers being found fit for work or closing their claims has materially made any difference to the claimant count; in short there is very little impact upon the overall numbers of claimants.

The Government’s claims to have found ‘1 million extra jobs’ are pretty meaningless too.

A Daily Telegraph article uncovered a study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Jan 2010 revealed that 1.31 million people were made redundant during the pre-2010 recession.  The DWP were processing an astonishing 6.2 million fresh claims for jobseeker’s allowance between April 2008 and November 2009.  It highlights how the claimant count is far from a static number, each month thousands of claimants come on and off all benefits. The Telegraph article reveals that on Jobseeker’s Allowance alone in December 2009 ” over 350,000 – left unemployment benefit in a single month.”

Similarly, many thousands of claimants leave Employment & Support Allowance each month, the quarterly figures for May 2013 amount to 153,360 coming off benefit, some 175,810 came off other incapacity benefits in the same quarter, the number of claimants coming off Income Support amounted to 150,130 Add the whole lot together and you can see how ‘1 million extra jobs’ isn’t going to go far. What we really need to know is how long these jobs last and exactly which groups of people are filling them.

What the BBC fails to address in their meaningless drivel over 1 million being found ‘fit for work’ and a further 1 million closing their claim before assessment is what happens to these claimants afterwards.

Let’s also not forget the massive numbers of job losses in the public sector under the coalition, the GMB Union claim that over 631,000 job losses have been dished out under the Coalition.

We also have, according to Thomson Reuters a 1.1 million increase in the population aged 16 and over , what few people realise is that when the number of people in the labour market increases, exactly the same number of unemployed will result in a reduction in the unemployment level simply because it’s a smaller percentage of a bigger number. There are all kinds of factors which factor in to an increase in the working age population, not least that fewer people can afford to retire as well as changes in the age at which people can retire.

So there you have it, the BBC headlines are very much a ‘non story’ without all the peripheral facts which they so conveniently omit to mention.

In my next post, I’ll explain what closing a claim without an assessment really means, I’ll then go on and explain why the DWP’s latest work assessment figures continued to be riddled with flaws.

with great thanks to the excellent Nick for agreeing DPAC can repost-for more see: http://legalaidandme.proboards.com/thread/7258/serious-flaws-governments-statistics?page=11&scrollTo=21055

 

Follow Nick on Twitter: @Mylegalforum



 

May 042013
 

Yet another Daily Mail FAIL!!



What is it with these journalists from the Daily Mail?

Why can’t they ever get anything right when it comes to reporting something factual over the government’s callous welfare reforms.  Here’s a really ‘slack’ piece of journalism from one of the Daily Mail’s finest, strangely enough he goes by the name of James Slack; slack by name slack by nature I’d say.

Read Slack’s factually inaccurate article here



The REAL facts with all the DWP links are here

Slack makes a pathetic attempt to try and get his deluded readers to believe that it’s the ‘lefties’ who are creating the myths over the dangerously hazardous welfare reforms which government is inflicting upon thousands.  Slack headlines his article ‘ What the Left doesn’t want you to know about Britain’s £200 billion welfare bill’.  He goes on to write the usual rubbish we’ve grown accustomed to reading in the gutter press, the particular piece which got my goat was Slack’s incredibly lazy attempt to rubbish what he absurdly pitches as a left – sided myth over those on incapacity benefits. Here’s an excerpt from Slack’s article:

‘Slack fact 1’

 

“THE TRULY SICK ARE NOT BEING FORCED TO WORK”

“CLAIM: New tests to check Incapacity Benefit claimants’ inability to work are having a devastating effect on the sick and mentally ill.”

“REALITY: Incapacity Benefit, which was renamed Employment and Support Allowance, is paid to people considered unfit for work. Only 232,000 — one in eight of those tested by doctors — have been deemed too unwell to do any work.”


Actually in reality incapacity benefit was never renamed Employment & Support Allowance at all

If Slack had checked his facts he would see that the Employment & Support Allowance here is entirely separate to the incapacity benefits found here.  If one had been renamed as the other the two would not continue to exist.    

‘Slack fact 2’

“Another 837,000 who took the test were found to be fit to work immediately, and a further 367,300 were judged able to do some level of work.”


In reality Slack is miles off the mark with this little gem.  In actual fact only 700,200 incapacity benefit claimants have been tested under the much stricter Employment & Support Allowance rules of which 496,800 (71%) were found to be perfectly entitled to the allowance.  the percentage figure varies each month – figures of 78% being recorded in October 2010, 77% in March 2011 and 75% in July 2012.   

290,200 were deemed chronically incapacitated and incapable of any work related activity whatsoever and 206,600 were deemed to have a severe limitation such that they qualified for ‘support’ from the government in helping them work towards a return to work – sadly very few end up getting the Support because the DWP is seemingly too busy feeding the press with the kind of garbage which incompetent journalists like Slack writes for the Daily Fail. 

‘Slack fact 3’

“Some 878,300 people — around a third of the 2.6 million who were claiming the benefit — have chosen to drop their claims rather than face a medical.”


In actual fact the figure relating to incapacity claimants, who for any number or reasons dropped their claim, is nowhere near 878,300 – it is 24,700 as per the DWP’s most up to date figures of August 2012.

‘Slack fact 4’

“One in eight of those tested by doctors”
In actual fact the DWP under it’s private and ‘commercially sensitive’contracting arrangements with Atos Healthcare recruits an abundance of nurses as well as doctors and the chances of everyone being tested by a fully qualified doctor is zero.



‘Slack fact 5’

“Some 30 people were claiming they were unfit to work because of blisters, while 60 cited acne and 2,110 said ‘sprains and strains’ rendered them unfit for employment.”


How on earth can Slack have had access to what should be highly confidential medical records relating to 30 individual assessments to know precisely what conditions they were citing as their one and only ground for claiming they were unfit for employment?

It bemuses me how the Daily Mail can make so much fuss about footballer Wayne Rooney’s £130,000 a week sprained sprained ankle with no reference or inference to the possibility of him ‘skiving’.

I also note the gutter press draws attention in previous articles to the tragedy of a 31 year old woman who committed suicide over what they describe as a ‘minor skin condition. The article describes how the woman’s mental health deteriorated to the point where, after two failed attempts, she sadly took her own life by jumping off the Humber Bridge.

I presume James Slack would not retrospectively imply the poor woman was ‘fit for work?’

Why not email Slack and tell him what a truly useless
journalist he is is?



j.slack@dailymail.co.uk



And then complain



To the Press Complaints Commission

 

 

 

 

 


 

Unreal!  The Daily Mail prints the 

 

‘Workshy map’ 

 



 

“This map of Britain reveals the ‘workshy’ spots around the country where people claiming incapacity benefit claimants are actually fit enough to work.

The Government introduced tough new health tests for those who claimed to be too unwell to get back into employment two years ago.

Since then some 203,000, 30 per cent, out of 700,000 receiving the old Incapacity Benefit were declared fit to find work.”

“The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said Birmingham had the biggest number of claimants capable of work. Of 14,640 claimants, 5,180 were fit.”

Once again we are indebted to Nick at My Legal Forum-who seems to be taking over the DPAC web site but in the best possible way

For more from Nick see

http://ilegal.org.uk/thread/7616/page/1/cut-slack-quit-media-lies

twitter: @Mylegalforum

and we promise more brilliance fromNick very soon

Apr 222012
 

It’s vital funding which we need to help thousands of people with their benefit appeals

DPAC wants to thank Nick @Mylegalforum once more for letting us post this to DPAC

What we need people to do is contact their local or representative peer in the House of Lords by Monday April 23rd when the legal aid (LASPO) bill goes back to the House of Lords. It’s also worth contacting your MP as they can speak with Peers.

The best links we can find are here..

http://www.writetothem.com/lords

http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-a-lord/lord/

It’s really easy via the ‘write to them’ link, just enter in your area (Town or County) and it will locate you a ‘peer’ in the House of Lords.

We need as many Peers as possible to be contacted by Monday. Don’t worry too much about the legal aid bill not being their specialist area or which political party they represent (some ‘cross bench’ peers belong to no particular party).

The aim is to contact them to show how much it matters to you.

The site helps you draft your email (you could use my template in next post) or you can write your own. When its ready just copy (by pressing ‘CTRL’ and ‘C’ on your keyboard) then paste into the dialogue box on the ‘write to them’ site’ (by pressing ‘CTRL’ and ‘V’).

You can find out the full list of peers who voted ‘yes’ or ‘no’ via the links here (it was then listed as amendment 11)

http://mylegal.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=frontline&action=display&thread=601

If you need convincing that welfare benefit specialists don’t just fill in forms read this..

http://mylegal.proboards.com/index.cgi?a….read=649&page=1

Here’s how people end up winning their benefit appeals with legal aid

http://mylegal.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=frontline&action=display&thread=558

It’s very easy!
& very important, here’s why…

For the last 12 years many CAB and law centres have been funded by legal aid and some are very reliant on it because they specialise in areas of law like welfare benefits. The Government has voted to axe this funding which means around 135,000 people per year will no longer be able to get specialist help from paid professionals who win around 75% of their cases. For each case their organisation gets paid a fixed fee of just 150 regardless of how long it takes to complete.

The Tribunals judiciary has predicted that the welfare reforms will result in over 2.5 million people appealing for their benefits between 2010 and 2015; the current figures are seeing a huge increase in appeals – the highest ever. Many people do not realise how vital this funding is to people, especially the disabled. Government has chosen to make savings of 16 million at a time when the need of this help could not be greater, they expect people to fight their cases on their own without help. The Lords have already voted heavily to keep this funding but government says no, they have asked the Lords’ to agree with them – you could make all the difference by persuading them to say ‘NO’.
Read more: http://mylegal.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=frontline&thread=654&page=1#1530#ixzz1smPFP5sQ

 

Apr 152012
 

with many thanks to nick @Mylegalforum for letting us repost see Mylegalforum for more

Here’s how Clarke’s proposals will affect many lives if the Government gets its way this Tuesday – you can kiss goodbye to legal aid for all this..

Clarke is opposing…

(1) A clearer definition of his functions (1)

(2) Access to legal services for domestic violence victims (2)

(3) A better definition of the distinction between him and his director of legal services, but he is putting forward a counter proposal for individual cases which he proposes imposes ‘independence’ (3 & 4 replaced)

(4) Any legal help for welfare benefit work up to first – tier tribunal level (168)

(5) Has made a concession on welfare benefits in the upper tribunal & higher courts which needs to be treated with some degree of caution until its full legal effect is known (169 & 240)

(6) Experts report in clinical negligence cases (170)

(7) Face to face advice – he wants the telephone gateway (24)

(8) Exceptions in respiratory /industrial disease or illness cases (31)

(9) Exceptions in Industrial disease cases where breach of duty by employer (32)

(10) Access to a legal services for a wider number of children (171)

(11) Access to legal services in clinical negligence cases in instances which took place when the victim was a child (172)

Nor is he giving much on domestic violence provisions with the additional opposition of amendments 192 to 196 (excluding 195)

In summary – he’s gone against the Lords on almost everything with some tinkering to suit his government’s aims & a meaningless concession on Upper Tribunal & higher court work in welfare benefit cases which is unlikely to benefit advice agencies given the low number of cases when the bigger problem they face is helping clients with the tsunami of benefits appeals at First Tier level – set to increase to 644,000 appeals per year according to the Tribunal judiciary!

Contact your MP – there are many links to different ways of doing so on the internet. We’ve put one here…

http://mylegal.proboards.com/index.cgi?a….643&page=1#1503

YOU NEED TO ACT TODAY – TIME IS NOT ON OUR SIDE!

Read more: http://mylegal.proboards.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=frontline&thread=646&page=1#1513#ixzz1s8s0SPOI

 

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