ESA Appeals

I have been looking at the January 2012 statistical release for the review of Employment and Support Allowance. According to the tables

  • 1,023,000 claimants have been reassessed (table 1a)
  • 622,000 have been found fit for work (table 1a)
  • 521,000 of those found fit for work have appealed (table 3), and
  • 38% of those cases heard so far (80,000 out of 210,000) have been successful (table 3).

The implication is that we are are looking at a very large number of decisions that are provably wrong – more than 30% of all decisions that people are fit for work. The DWP and claimants have been forced through an expensive and time-consuming appeal process to set things right. This is a shambles.

Further note. I have amended this entry to remove a predictive figure. This was a quick, back-of-the-envelope calculation. I’ve been delighted – but taken aback – by the interest that my guesstimate attracted, but the more I look at it, the less confidence I have in any possible prediction I might make. In particular,

  • the rate of decision-making has slowed,
  • the statistical information in the tables does not cover the same time periods, and none of the information is particularly up to date
  • the level of new appeals seems to be falling
  • the success rate seems to be falling, and
  • as gwenhwyfaer comments, large numbers of appeals appear to be disappearing from the process without explanation, and I cannot assume that they will eventually have decisions made.

5 comments

  1. DavidG

    All too believable!

    I might not be a doctor, but as an engineer I’m fully aware of what my responsibilities are in professional conduct, and what theirs should be. None of my contacts with ATOS have remotely approached the necessary level of professionalism, and when they finally managed to actually conduct a WCA it promptly strayed into outright abuse. In terms of professional competence the Keystone Kops put ATOS to shame….

  2. gwenhwyfaer

    One point – the figures you quite relate entirely to initial assessments (see Table 1b for the separate repeat assessment figures), and the dataset makes a point of stating that it excludes the IB migrations.

    However, for me the most interesting statistics are firstly, that 85% of FFW decisions – the “appeal your FFW decision” is getting out there! – and secondly, that fully 60% of those appeals have apparently gone missing – a statistic that’s remained more or less constant; even the first quarter of ESA’s existence has 57% of appeals missing a recorded outcome. Assuming that those appeals which have been heard have been largely the quickly-decideable ones, it’s entirely possible that the 38% figure will rise over time, possibly even as high as the 70% success rate reported by CAB – but I really would love to know what’s happening with the missing appeals! Looking at table 6, it appears that for every 2 people who win their FFW appeal, another 1 has their FFW rescinded after reconsideration, which would account for 12% of the missing appeal figures – but that still leaves 88% unaccounted for. Where are they?

    In short – yes, is really is all a bit of a shambles. The figures tell the story of a system that has all but collapsed already.

  3. Steve

    As an ex-employee of DWP this comes as no surprise. I often voiced my opinion about the amount of money wasted on appeals against incompetent ATOS decisions. Of course, my opinion wasn’t required.

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