Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons?

Why was new research from the Department for Work and Pensions, which downgraded estimates for the growth in Disability Living Allowance, a major reason given for welfare reform, delayed until after the welfare bill passed the Commons?

Yesterday we reported how in research published on Monday,  the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) finally acknowledged that one of the key figures it has been using to make the case for cuts to disability living allowance gives ‘a distorted picture’ .

The blogger and regular Left Foot Forward commenter Mason Dixon, Autistic (MDA) has pointed out that if this information had been released when it was signed off, back in May, it would have been released while MPs were debating the welfare reform bill which has now left the House of Commons.

These raise some questions about  DWP’s handling of evidence on benefit receipt and how it communicates this evidence to stakeholders, including MPs.  

This is what MDA said in the comments to yesterday’s article:

 “Can I just point out that the report itself was published on Monday, but inside it is dated as July on the front page of the PDF and then later the author signs off the date as May 2011.

This report has been delayed for nearly three months. May is when it was going through its second reading in the Commons, July is when the government made a failed attempt to hurry it through the Second Reading in the Lords but it got delayed until September.

“So this has been released right in the middle of a very good time to bury bad news.”

We have checked the DWP’s series of ‘ad hoc analyses’, to which the research released on Monday belongs. Most of these reports have what seems to be a sign off date (by a named civil servant) and a publication date, as well as a date of publication on the DWP’s website.

The table shows these dates for reports published to date in the third quarter of this year. Compared to the other reports, the gap between sign off and publication date on the DLA analysis certainly looks anomalous. For other reports, sign off and publication more or less coincide (in one case, which we are unable to explain, publication preceded sign-off!).

Given how many thousands of people are to be affected by the disability reform bill, holding this analysis back while parliamentarians debated the bill seems, on the surface, seriously irresponsible. Left Foot Forward has put these questions to the DWP, and will report back on the answers if and when they appear: 

1)      Why was there such a long gap between sign off and publication of this particular piece of analysis? Was there some additional level of civil service clearance required before this analysis could be published, compared to other ad hoc analyses, and if so at what level? Who cleared the report for publication, and when? Who decided on the date the analysis was to be released? 

2) Who commissioned the report? Was it commissioned at the request of the Secretary of State’s or other ministerial private office? 

3) How did it come about that such basic analysis of the drivers of DLA growth was only carried out after the government had set out its proposals for radical changes to DLA?

4) What steps did the DWP take to communicate the findings of this analysis to parliamentarians in the course of the Commons debates on the Welfare Reform Bill? 

74 Responses to “Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons?”

  1. tbc

    “@danielelton: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/gPtRVL9 < why indeed?

  2. Jos Bell

    “@danielelton: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/gPtRVL9 < why indeed?

  3. Tim Easton

    “@danielelton: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/gPtRVL9 < why indeed?

  4. Sam Barnett-Cormack

    “@danielelton: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/gPtRVL9 < why indeed?

  5. Richard McCarthy

    “@danielelton: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/gPtRVL9 < why indeed?

  6. John Croft

    Good question RT @danielelton: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/EBgpQxi

  7. liane gomersall

    “@danielelton: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/gPtRVL9 < why indeed?

  8. Chris Boyle

    http://t.co/VBAiMog DWP deliberately delays releasing inconvenient facts until the Steal From The Disabled Bill clears commons. Fuckers.

  9. helenlp

    “@danielelton: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/gPtRVL9 < why indeed?

  10. John Aldis

    http://t.co/VBAiMog DWP deliberately delays releasing inconvenient facts until the Steal From The Disabled Bill clears commons. Fuckers.

  11. Tim Abbott

    RT @chaostocosmos Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/7HSBH0I

  12. Angela Elniff-Larsen

    RT @leftfootfwd: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/J7S8ifx

  13. NoSuitableCandidate

    RT @leftfootfwd: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/B6BviFK

  14. Aletheia

    RT @leftfootfwd: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/iSIIoxK

  15. Not Given

    Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? | Left Foot Fo… http://t.co/o5G1wJs

  16.  David 

    RT @leftfootfwd: Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/iSIIoxK

  17. LESPN

    Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? http://t.co/XaL7Fn0

  18. Jim

    There are so many examples of announcing with great relish how they are going to treat the sick and disabled but also a certain degree of falsehood and slight of hand plays that can at best be described as incompetent and at worst as corrupt and irresponsible.

  19. Yet another nasty in the welfare bill: Means testing support for the disabled-since-youth | Left Foot Forward

    […] Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? – Daniel Elton, August 12th […]

  20. Mason Dixon Autistic

    LeftFootForward looked into my concerns about why the report on DLA rising was buried for three months http://t.co/WQwKdXxW #wrb #helpsuey2y

  21. Mason Dixon Autistic

    @suey2y http://t.co/lPRGLyvs #leftfootforward investigated my concerns about buried #DLA report #spartacusreport

  22. B Rawsthorn

    @suey2y http://t.co/lPRGLyvs #leftfootforward investigated my concerns about buried #DLA report #spartacusreport

  23. Janet Graham

    @suey2y http://t.co/lPRGLyvs #leftfootforward investigated my concerns about buried #DLA report #spartacusreport

  24. Yes, but are you REALLY disabled? | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • Why did DWP delay releasing new data until after welfare reform bill cleared Commons? – Daniel Elton, August 12th […]

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