Note: some of the press releases which earned Chris Grayling a referral to the Cabinet Office for misconduct have disappeared from the DWP website, but aren't we lucky The National Archives are often over-looked and probably would have refused a request to remove stuff. No wonder Tim Berners-Lee suggested that everything the government has, they should put online. This is the missing press release for January, but the one for April is currently unobtainable. The difference between the missing January and April press releases and the February one (apart from it being only about the Aberdeen and Burnley IB-ESA transfer trials rather than nationwide figures) that is still available is that the missing two are the ones that attracted complaints. The Cabinet Office response to The Broken of Britain was that "Chris Grayling is the very model of a modern major general...".
EDIT: I make a terrible mistake and apologise. The links I had to the press releases were correct when I first had them but don't work any more. Further speculations I make about why the 'press releases are missing' are an epic failure to apply Occam's Razor on my part as I was unable to spot the press releases in the list on the DWP website after my links failed. The major point of the post, regarding the natural out-take of claimants coming off benefits not being factored in official claims of 'people who stopped their claim before or during assessment' and of the extraordinary number of ESA claimants in the Assessment phase- remain unchanged. Read on.
The February 10th 2011 DWP press release used more moderate, less emotionally charged and overtly political language. But crucially it said nothing about claims dropped 'before assessment', whilst the January one did (it said 39% of claims 'were closed before assessment was complete or assessment still in progress'') and
Remember this graph from earlier posts?
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But it's no wonder the press release regarding Aberdeen and Burnley do not mention the group who 'stopped their claim before assessment' as there would have been no new IB claimants when it started in 2010 because new claims were halted two years earlier. Without new claimants, the figures for 'stopped claim before assessment' would have been too low to sling the tabloids some bait to rage against people 'fiddling the system'. Now looking at the figures for ESA claimants in the April press release (
EDIT: I have since heard that the expected waiting time for an assessment for each client is 12-13 weeks. That is some important context to remember for these graphs.
A breakdown of ESA claimants by stage of assessment looks like this:
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No. RELEASE THE TIME SERIES GRAPH.
|Click to- oh what's the point. You know by now|
There have been reports on blogs and in articles that people with terminal illnesses or significant difficulties have been wrongly found 'fit for work' and placed in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) or denied ESA completely they have then appealed, gone to tribunal and won. But then sometimes just weeks later they are told they must be assessed again.
Case file #4 finds that the figures lend credence to these claims: these people are never allowed to leave the Assessment group until they are worn down and give up. That is why the WRAG grows faster than any other group and the Assessment phase figure hardly shrinks proportionally to the intake of total claimants. I'm certain that the orange Support group line will never, ever catch up to the purple Assessment phase line. This can only be hidden for so long, so it could be that the DWP press releases making claims about people who 'dropped their claim before assessment was complete or assessment still in process'
The DWP must be made to clarify what is meant by 'claim closed before assessment complete' because the figures don't square unless the accusations made by eligible claimants are true.