Mandatory reconsiderations and the rule of law

When is a reconsideration not a reconsideration?

When the Department for Work and Pensions are reviewing their own decisions.

Mandatory reviews were introduced by the Conservative government to deter people from appealing unfair Department for Work and Pensions decisions. They are not actually genuine reconsiderations. A Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed that there is a target set so that decisions in at least 80% of cases are to be upheld in the Department’s favour. That is regardless of the actual details and circumstances of each case under review, and the level accuracy, fairness and rationale that informed the original decision. This fundamentally removes an opportunity for access to justice and the right to redress for people who are on the end of unfair political decision making processes.

“This appears to be an absolutely outrageous interference by the executive with the rule of law.”

Absolutely. I campaigned against the introduction of Mandatory Reconsideration back in 2012/13, precisely because it smacks of despicable political authoritarianism and rigid ideological antiwelfareism.

The FoI response says:

The key measures which are used by the Department for Work and Pensions to monitor Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) Performance are: 
a) 90% to be cleared within target. 
b) 80% of the original decisions are to be upheld. 
The performance measures for April 2016 – March 2017 are: 
% MR Cleared within target = 70.2% 
% MR Original Decision Upheld = 87.5% 

Henry Brooke

Note: This should now be read alongside my next blog on Muddled language, as it appears that the DWP did not mean what it said in answer to the FOI request.

From time to time I have been invited to help seriously disabled people attain their rights after their applications for appropriate benefits have been turned down by agents appointed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

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4 thoughts on “Mandatory reconsiderations and the rule of law

  1. Spot on. A decision is not reconsidered, or indeed considered at all, if the outcome is already determined. Since there is an 80% target, the most efficient way of ‘remaking 80% of these decisions would be to put 100 names in a hat and draw out a lucky 20. DWP time and money saved. Sack a few more of them.


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