Here is a DWP response to a request for Internal review, the details are self-explanatory and I intend to refer the matter to the Information Commissioner
Thank you for your email of 4 December 2012 requesting a review of the handling of the response to your Freedom of Information request of 8 November 2012.
I can confirm that I was unconnected with the earlier reply to your initial request under FoI and that I have considered your request afresh.
In your request of 8 November 2012 you asked for:-
“1/ Could you provide the legal advice that states that if the DWP say someone is for for work and the claimant’s medical advisors say they are not for for work that the prospective employer’s insurance will cover them and the potential employee should they employ that person.
2/ If you are unable to provide the actual advice could you confirm that DWP has asked for, and received, such advice and the date upon which such advice was received.”
My review decision
Your request for internal review asked:
“Please could you carry out an internal review of your response to FOI request VTR 4418/12 as frankly it is unbelievable that it would cost more than £600 just to confirm whether or not legal advice on such an important point has been received”.
I have reviewed the information provided in the DWP reply of 4 December 2012 and can confirm that the information provided to you was correct and as full a reply as possible to your request. I therefore uphold the original reply sent to you by DWP.If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.
Yours sincerely, DWP Central FoI Team
Here’s a response in parliament to a similar question:
Parliamentary Question | who’s legally liable for wellbeing of claimants found fit for work? | 19 December 2012
by Tony Britton on December 20, 2012
Well, apparently, no one!
The Countess of Mar tabled a written question that asked the Government: “What person or organisation is legally liable for the wellbeing of benefits claimants who are found to be fit for work under the work capability assessment and who are then made to work?”
In his written reply on 19 December 2012, the Minister for Welfare Reform at the Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) replied:
The purpose of the work capability assessment (WCA) is to assist DWP decision-makers in assessing eligibility for benefit, or levels of benefit. The WCA is not a medical diagnosis and the decision affects benefit only; it does not oblige anyone to work.
Whilst the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is legally responsible for all benefit decisions made by officials of the department on his behalf, there is no legal responsibility held by the Secretary of State for the well-being of benefit claimants.
Therefore, neither DWP nor WCA healthcare professionals are liable for any adverse consequence suffered by a claimant following a decision that the claimant is fit for work or for work-related activity.
This is what the law says:
The Employment and Support Allowance Regulations 2008
PART 5Exceptional circumstances
29.—(1) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work as determined in accordance with the limited capability for work assessment is to be treated as having limited capability for work if paragraph (2) applies to the claimant.
(2) This paragraph applies if—
(a)the claimant is suffering from a life threatening disease in relation to which—
(i)there is medical evidence that the disease is uncontrollable, or uncontrolled, by a recognised therapeutic procedure; and
(ii)in the case of a disease that is uncontrolled, there is a reasonable cause for it not to be controlled by a recognised therapeutic procedure; or
(b)the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement and, by reasons of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work.
Certain claimants to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity
35.—(1) A claimant is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—
(a)the claimant is terminally ill;
(b)the claimant is—
(i)receiving treatment by way of intravenous, intraperitoneal or intrathecal chemotherapy; or
(ii)recovering from that treatment and the Secretary of State is satisfied that the claimant should be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity; or
(c)in the case of a woman, she is pregnant and there is a serious risk of damage to her health or to the health of her unborn child if she does not refrain from work-related activity.
(2) A claimant who does not have limited capability for work-related activity as determined in accordance with regulation 34(1) is to be treated as having limited capability for work-related activity if—
(a)the claimant suffers from some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement; and
(b)by reasons of such disease or disablement, there would be a substantial risk to the mental or physical health of any person if the claimant were found not to have limited capability for work-related activity.
So that would seem to knock the whole shebang into the realms of Kafkaesque gibberish.