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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Decision Making Errors - the myth as to why.

It is well know that about 40% of ESA fit-for-work decisions made by DWP (note DWP not Atos) are reversed on appeal.  Worrying, but DWP has convinced itself that it is not its fault as in 65% of reversals, the Tribunal had additional information, so it not concerned about the error rate as there is a convenient and plausible explanation, despite the devastating impact it can have on a disabled person’s life.
This 40% figure is authenticated by reports issued by the Tribunals Service, but as long ago as 2009.  However, DWP fails to mention that the same reports also point out that it is not always the case that the DM does not have the information, more that they tend to ignore it.  The TS says:
“The 65% figure for the production of additional evidence suggests that an important source of information is being overlooked in the decision-making process. There continues to be a tendency on the part of decision-makers to discount oral evidence received from the appellant in the process of evidence gathering prior to the decision and then in the preparation of the appeal, and not to seek out new evidence to verify the facts where the decision has been challenged. Where a decision is challenged it is the duty of the decision-maker to review the initial decision, satisfy themselves that the facts are correct, ensure that there is no further evidence that might lead to a review and where they do not accept evidence or doubt it explain why, making this explicit in the submission to the tribunal.”
One would imagine that in the interests of effective staff performance management, DWP collates TS outcomes by Decision Maker as the basis for re-training etc. but NOT SO.  The strong and clear recommendation above has just been ignored for the past 2 years!!!

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