I am not overall impressed with the Guardian's political correspondents. The social correspondents are hit and miss, but sometimes give me feelings of hope. Now the senior political correspondent has done something quite impressive and uplifting, with rather excellent reporting of the DWP sanctions targets that ministers have persistently denied exist, despite the overwhelming circumstantial evidence to the contrary.
Most of that evidence is publicly available, but now the Guardian has been sent what is as close as you can get to a smoking gun- a scorecard, laid out like a league table. Notice red arrows for when a Jobcentre is dropping and green arrows for when it is rising. There can be no argument about what managers are being encouraged to achieve with here. This is not some basic administrative document; this is something that the DWP have deliberately tried to hide.
The indicator of this are the words in block-capitals 'RESTRICTED COMMERCIAL'. Everything the DWP produces and handles is subject to Freedom Of Information requests, unless it falls in one of the clauses of exemption. Some of these have close oversight and some don't. Commercial relationships the government has with private contractors is one of them and that is the excuse used here for giving the document protected status. It's not the first restricted-commercial document to be leaked, but all that have been that I have seen have all been DWP ones. This is a culture of secrecy, and dishonesty. There is no commercial interest being protected here, this label has been used because it can only be challenged if it is challenged and that can only happen if it is exposed. As they don't expect them to be leaked when they abuse this label, they WILL use it to hide information that should be public.
The misuse of FOI protected labels by the DWP is a scandal in itself and I hope I'm not going to be a lone screaming voice on this.