By Robert Thomas and Joe Tomlinson
In September 2017, the Work and Pensions Committee launched an inquiry into how the assessment processes for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are handled by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) contractors ATOS, Capita and Maximus, and how the application, assessment and appeals processes for these two benefits are working. Data shows that claimants are successful in appealing against their decision in 65% of cases, for both PIP and ESA, and that there has been an 29% increase in such appeals being registered since this time last year. Given these high rates of overturn at appeal, the Committee sought evidence (until 10 November 2017) on the effectiveness of assessment processes used to determine eligibility for these benefits, on the experience of applicants going through it, and on common lessons that can be learned from the two processes.
This blog post presents the evidence submitted to the Committee by Robert Thomas and Joe Tomlinson on the mandatory reconsideration aspects of the inquiry. Thomas and Tomlinson, members of UKAJI, have researched internal review mechanisms used by government departments, including the Home Office and the DWP. In their submission to the Committee, they highlight the evidence for problems with mandatory reconsideration and recommend changes for improvement, including the need to link administrative review with developments in the courts and tribunals digitalisation transformation reforms.
The full text of the evidence submission is available below and also can be downloaded here.
About the authors:
Professor Robert Thomas is Professor of Public Law at the University of Manchester. Dr Joe Tomlinson is a Lecturer in Public Law at the University of Sheffield and Research Director at the Public Law Project.
Fantastic work Robert well done! You get to the heart of the matter on the importance of de-politicised administrative independence and oversight. Thanks for sharing.