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SAR requests to the DWP


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After chasing up my own request made in November and being told by the BDC that they hadn't received any such request, I did a bit of research.

 

It seems that this is not an uncommon event, BDC's up and down the country routinely mislay, erase, or as in my case just refuse to admit they received a request.

 

The 40 day response time is also routinely ignored, one person I contacted told me they finally got the information six and a half months after requesting it, and that was after sending in three applications.

 

Interestingly the DWP state that the address to send SAR requests is 'found at the top of letters we write to you', which is what I did. I was somewhat bemused to be told by a spokesperson at my local BDC which is supposedly based in Hackney East London but has a Nine Elms Lane SW95 address, that it's actually Glasgow benefits bentre that process London claims, and any correspondence to them gets routed through Wolverhampton first!

 

So I suppose Hackney processes Glasgow's benefit claims then?

 

All done in the name of efficiency of course. I often feel the DWP are obtuse at times, I've now come to the conclusion that they are round the bend.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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I had "issues" with a SAR I had personally delivered to my local JCP office - They provided a CD of (some) telephone calls along with a fairly comprehensive printout from Newcastle and an incomplete file from A4e (who were running the FnD programme in my area). Played letter tennis for a while with the data controller in the local DWP office pointing out the omissions in the A4e file. The last letter I sent to him, I informed him that I would hold him personally responsible for the missing data and name him in any complaints raised with the ICO and/or my MP.

 

Did it do any good. No, but I still have his name on file should I ever need it.

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Regarding the location of the processing office, there are three factors at play.

 

1) Some offices are allocated an area remote from their physical location. I worked at Glasgow BDC, which deals with claims from Central and West London. This is political and pragmatic - it's harder to recruit staff on DWP wages if they also have to live in London.

 

2) Offices sometimes export work if they are overwhelmed. For a time I worked in a team that variously processed claims from Romford, Stratford (London), Makerfield (Lancashire) and some others. We were the most efficient office and we had spare capacity.

 

3) Specialisms: some things, such as debt collection, are handled in offices that don't actually process the claims for that area. Habitual Residence Tests are all processed at an office in Wick, on the far north coast of Scotland.

 

Addresses: the address you see for any given BDC will not usually be the street address of the building where it's located. The address is that of a secure Royal Mail handling facility which tends to process mail for a number of Jobcentres and BDCs in the area. Mail is then redistributed to each office, with predictable consequences.

 

Right, so - the place to send your SAR is the Royal Mail standard address for the office that holds your claim. That office is the one that is ultimately responsible for what happens, and will typically be the BDC associated with your local Jobcentre, but not necessarily the closest BDC. Mail such as that should be sent Recorded, and I really do feel more people should be complaining to the Information Commissioner's Office about tardy responses to SARs by the DWP.

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Yes thanks, I have that document but in word format, it's the same as the PDF though.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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I assume you have proof of posting if so escalate this as a Formal Complaint and make sure you title it 'Formal Complaint' enclose your proof of posting with the letter and see what they say.

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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I assume you have proof of posting if so escalate this as a Formal Complaint and make sure you title it 'Formal Complaint' enclose your proof of posting with the letter and see what they say.

Unfortunately not, I forgot the golden rule and sent it normal post. I won't be making that mistake again.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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Right, so - the place to send your SARlink3.gif is the Royal Mail standard address for the office that holds your claim. That office is the one that is ultimately responsible for what happens, and will typically be the BDC associated with your local Jobcentre, but not necessarily the closest BDC. Mail such as that should be sent Recorded, and I really do feel more people should be complaining to the Information Commissioner's Office about tardy responses to SARs by the DWP.
Which is what I thought antone, however the guy I spoke to at Hackney BDC which is the office I've always dealt with, regarding payments, claim inquiries, etc. Insisted that Glasgow is the place to contact. It's confusing.

I'm just going to print off three copies and send one off to JCP, one to Hackney, and one to Glasgow all recorded delivery.

One has to get to the right department..................hopefully.

 

This is all part of the evidence trail that I'm putting together with regard to the wrongful sanction I received in December (still unresolved by the way), there's a heap of stuff that just doesn't stack up. Things like my prognosis changing magically from 12 to 24 months ( I was referred to the WP by JCP's ESA advisor in Feb 2012 because she said my pronosis on her system was 12 months, therefore a mandatory referral) when it was definitely 24 months to begin with, Hackney BDC have confirmed that the status was put on the system as soon as they processed the tribunal decision.

 

Being told by JCP's WP liaison officer on Christmas eve that the sanction had 100% been overturned and that she was looking at that info on the screen as she spoke to me. The story changed in the new year to it's still being hammered out between JCP and the LM DMA,so she imagined it then? A hallucination?

 

Apparently everyone concerned with the case at Stratford JCP is in full agreement that the sanction was 'unlawful' that I've been treated abominably , but seem powerless to do anything about it, I feel I'm being given the run around big time.

My MP has raised the issue with the Director General of Operations at JCP but that's going to be a drawn out affair methinks.

Edited by osdset

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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I'm just going to print off three copies and send one off to JCP, one to Hackney, and one to Glasgow all recorded delivery.

 

If you're sending multiple copies, also address one to central office at Caxton House, Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NA. It shouldn't be necessary to send three/four/five requests to different offices - I'm sure the ICO would agree that a single SAR delivered to the local DWP office should be sufficient.

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I sent my first SAR in September(sent the 17th), I have proof of posting for that - ignored

Made a complaint on 11 November. Took it to my local JCP who stamped and took a copy and sent it to the complaints team.

The complaints team then responded by promising me it by the 24th December 2013. IT still isn't here on the 4th January. I sent a complaint to the ICO on the 29th December 2013, and am waiting to hear from that.

So far I have waited 4 1/2 months for this info.

Disgusting!

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The DWP plainly don't want this info being made readily available, hence the hassle.

 

I guess the expectation is that people will eventually give up.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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  • 1 month later...

SAR information received from DWP today, two A4 sized parcels containing 830 pages in total, many printed on both sides. Crikey! And that lot is just the info for an ESA claim spanning 18 months, luckily the vital info was near the top, I really didn't fancy going through that lot page by page.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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Did you request all information held by subcontractors (i.e. Work Programme providers) ?

 

If not, another SAR targeting Seetec's records (sent to the DWP) would be in order.

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Did you request all information held by subcontractors (i.e. Work Programme providers) ?

 

If not, another SAR targeting Seetec's records (sent to the DWP) would be in order.

 

Yes, Seetec's stuff was among it all including their contract with all financial figures redacted.

 

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges

 

Being poor is like being a Pelican. No matter where you look, all you see is a large bill.

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