Written questions and answers

Written questions allow Members of Parliament to ask government ministers for information on the work, policy and activities of government departments.

Historical written answers can be found in Hansard.

Find the latest written questions and answers for the 2017-19 session below. We welcome your feedback on this service.

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Unique Identifying Number – Every written question in the House of Commons has a UIN per Parliament. In the House of Lords each written questions has a UIN per parliamentary session.
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Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Personal Independence Payment Administrative Exercise data release of 4 July 2019, what accounts for the difference between her Department’s original Equality Impact Assessment in 2017 of 14 per cent of claimants being affected following review, and the figures published by her Department showing that only 0.8 per cent of cases have received an increased award after being reviewed.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 15 July 2019

Our published estimates were produced before knowing the full detail of which claimants would be eligible for additional payments following the MH legal judgment.

There was significant uncertainty around the estimates prior to the start of the administrative exercise in June 2018, from which point we had revised guidance in place to reflect the judgment, having consulted with key stakeholders. Our estimates remain subject to change as we monitor the outcomes of the exercise.

We are intent on making sure everyone who is affected by the judgement is identified and are committed to ensuring that disabled people get the support they are entitled to.

Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 08 July 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Personal Independence Payment Administrative Exercise data release, published by her Department on 4 July 2019, if she will commission an independent comparative assessment of the estimate of the number of claimants that would be affected in Equality Impact Assessment published in 2017 and the figures published by her Department on 4 July 2019.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 15 July 2019

We have no plans to commission an independent assessment. Our original estimates were based on the best available information at the time, and we were clear that they were very likely to change as the guidance implementing the judgement was produced and data was gathered from the administrative exercise to implement it.

Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 24 June 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate he has made of the number of people that are eligible for the higher rate of personal independence payment as a result of the changes to the personal independence payment assessment guide issued on 17 June 2019.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 02 July 2019

On 17 June 2019 the Department published an updated Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Assessment Guide. The updates included changes to the guidance on PIP activity 3 to reflect that help required for a special diet can constitute therapy in certain circumstances. This is in line with the LB Upper Tribunal decision, handed down in November 2016. The Department expects only a small number of claimants to benefit from these changes.

The updates also included changes to give greater clarity on the duration of awards to ensure claimants are given the right award length, and on the number of companions at PIP assessments, as well as other minor updates.

Q
(Battersea)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 22 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Department for Work and Pensions: Metro Newspaper
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much her Department has spent on the Universal Credit Uncovered advertising campaign.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 11 June 2019
Holding answer received on 06 June 2019

The Department provides services to around 22 million people, and has a responsibility to communicate policy and essential information to claimants and other key audiences, in a similar way to other government departments. Newspaper advertising contributes to our routine communications activity that has been running alongside the rollout of Universal Credit since 2013.

The Universal Credit Uncovered media partnership with the Metro is currently underway and running for a further six weeks so we are unable to provide accurate spend to date figures for the partnership. However, we can commit to publish final full spend on the partnership at the end of July once all activity has concluded.

The information used for the partnership was sourced by DWP officials. The content features actual claimant case studies and interviews from Jobcentre work coaches, and the advertorials have been developed in partnership with the Metro.

Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 16 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme: Self-employed
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that the Access to Work scheme supports disabled people who are self-employed.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 24 May 2019

We have undertaken significant reform of Access to Work, but there are still further opportunities for improvements and we are committed to listening to our customers and stakeholders.

For example, to address points raised about the Access to Work self-employment customer journey in the DWP research report ‘Access to Work: Qualitative research with applicants, employers and delivery staff’, published in November 2018, we worked closely with customers and stakeholders to identify the issues and develop a new self-employment customer journey for freelancers and contractors.

To support this work, we are also developing an Access to Work ‘Workplace Adjustments Passport’, comprising a current record of an Access to Work customer’s support needs. This ‘passport’ is designed to be shared with new employers and commissioners, so that Access to Work customers who change jobs or move between contracts can be sure that their support needs are known in advance and adjustments may be put in place swiftly.

We will be announcing the detail of these new reforms later in the year.

Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 16 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Access to Work Programme
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent discussions she has had with (a) disabled people and (b) disabled people's organisations on the Access to Work scheme.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 24 May 2019

I am committed to ensuring that disabled people and disabled people’s organisations are engaged with and listened to. My diary for this year is filling up with meetings with disabled people and stakeholders, ranging from individual Access to Work customers to larger organisations such as Action on Hearing Loss.

Access to Work has a regular stakeholder forum which brings together disabled people and disabled people’s organisations to discuss how the Access to Work offer works for our customers. This group includes representatives from organisations such as the Thomas Pocklington Trust, Versus Arthritis and the National Deaf Children’s Association. The group is due to meet next month and will discuss plans for future improvements for the Access to Work scheme.

DWP also undertakes regular engagement with stakeholders on specific issues. For example, this week officials held a stakeholder workshop on Access to Work’s Tech Fund policy, exploring strategies for encouraging the take-up of assistive technology to meet support needs. Next week, we are hosting the latest in a series of stakeholder workshops to discuss the Access to Work offer for self-employed people.

Q
(Battersea)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 01 May 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Universal Credit: Disability
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) seriously ill and (b) disabled people are no longer eligible for severe disability premium as a result of (i) natural and (ii) managed migration to universal credit since 16 January 2019.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 08 May 2019

Since the introduction of The Universal Credit (Transitional Provisions) (SDP Gateway) Amendment Regulations 2019, which came into force on 16th January 2019, claimants entitled to the SDP are not required to move to Universal Credit, even if they experience a change in circumstance.

Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 11 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2019 to Question 232109 on Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations, whether she plans to publish findings from the Proof of Concept.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 29 April 2019

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 4 April 2019 to Questions 239290, 239291 & 239292.

Small numbers of participants involved may limit the ability to breakdown the data by specific groups.

Grouped Questions: 244199 | 244200 | 244201
Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 11 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Answer of 19 March 2019 t Question 232109 on Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations, whether her Department plans to collect data on the number of disabled people participating in the Proof of Concept who are subsequently found to have Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 29 April 2019

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 4 April 2019 to Questions 239290, 239291 & 239292.

Small numbers of participants involved may limit the ability to breakdown the data by specific groups.

Grouped Questions: 244198 | 244200 | 244201
Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 11 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2019 to Question 232109 on Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations, whether the design of the proof of concept will take account of the potential effect of reducing conditionality requirements on the Department’s ability to avoid sanctions.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 29 April 2019

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 4 April 2019 to Questions 239290, 239291 & 239292.

Small numbers of participants involved may limit the ability to breakdown the data by specific groups.

Grouped Questions: 244198 | 244199 | 244201
Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 11 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 19 March 2019 to Question 232109 on Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations, whether the design of the proof of concept will take account of the potential effect of reducing conditionality requirements on the Department’s ability to safeguard vulnerable claimants.
A
Answered by: Alok Sharma
Answered on: 29 April 2019

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 4 April 2019 to Questions 239290, 239291 & 239292.

Small numbers of participants involved may limit the ability to breakdown the data by specific groups.

Grouped Questions: 244198 | 244199 | 244200
Q
(Battersea)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 09 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Personal Independence Payment: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average clearance time has been for personal independence payment appeals at tribunal in (a) Battersea and (b) nationally in each of the last five years for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 24 April 2019
Holding answer received on 15 April 2019

Information about the average clearance times for personal independence payment (PIP) appeals to the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support) (SSCS) is published at:

www.gov.uk/government/collections/tribunals-statistics

SSCS appeals are listed into the hearing venue nearest to the appellant’s home address. The published data (which can be viewed at the link above) provide information about clearance times for PIP appeals at (a) the hearing venue covering Battersea and (b) nationally from 2015/16; data for the preceding two years are provided below.

Personal Independence Payment1

Fox Court 2

National

Financial Year

Average Clearance Time (in weeks)

Average Clearance Time (in weeks)

2013-2014

~

9

2014-2015

15

14

  1. PIP was introduced in April 2013 and replaced Disability Living Allowance
  2. Appeals for those people living in the Battersea area are heard in the Fox Court venue

~ There were insufficient cases in this period to provide a statistically robust average

Although care is taken when processing and analysing the data, the details are subject to inaccuracies inherent in any large- scale case management system and are the best data that are available.

Clearance times are calculated from receipt of the appeal to its final disposal. An appeal is not necessarily disposed of at its first hearing. The final disposal decision on the appeal may be reached after an earlier hearing had been adjourned (which may be directed by the judge for a variety of reasons, such as to seek further evidence), or after an earlier hearing date had been postponed (again, for a variety of reasons, often at the request of the appellant). An appeal may also have been decided at an earlier date by the First-tier Tribunal, only for the case to have gone on to the Upper Tribunal, to be returned once again to the First-tier for its final disposal.

Latest figures (to December 2018) indicate that since PIP was introduced, 3.9 million decisions have been made, and of these 10% have been appealed and 5% have been overturned at tribunals.

Q
(Battersea)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 09 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to her letter of 4 April 2019, in what time frame she will complete updating the current ESA65B letter with input from medical organisations.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 15 April 2019

We expect the revised version to be delivered by Summer 2019.

Q
(Battersea)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 09 April 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Personal Independence Payment: Battersea
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time for a mandatory reconsideration after a personal independence payment assessment was in Battersea constituency in each of the last five years for which data is available.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 15 April 2019

Information on median clearance times for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) Mandatory Reconsiderations (MRs) is provided in the table below.

Median Clearance Times, in Calendar Days, for PIP MRs, Normal Rules by Financial Year of MR Clearance, Battersea Parliamentary Constituency:

Financial Year of MR Clearance

Median Calendar Days for MR to be Cleared

2013/14

29

2014/15

30

2015/16

25

2016/17

31

2017/18

33

2018/19
(April 2018 - January 2019)

40

Source: PIP Computer System

This data on PIP MR clearance times is unpublished data. It should be used with caution and it may be subject to future revision.

Measures to reduce the number of outstanding MRs include:

  • Age profiles of outstanding work are managed at a national level to ensure that cases which have been outstanding for longest are actioned first.
  • Resource levels dedicated to the clearance of MRs have been regularly reviewed with significant recruitment, training and redeployment undertaken to support reduced clearance times.

MR is a key element of the decision making process for both the Department and claimants, and whilst ensuring they make quality decisions, decision makers work hard to clear applications without delay. Gathering the right evidence is critical at the MR stage if decisions are not to go to appeal; and we are reviewing our processes to not only obtain this, but to do so whilst continuing to make decisions timeously.

Q
(Battersea)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 09 April 2019
Ministry of Justice
Personal Independence Payment: Appeals
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much has been spent from the public purse on the administration of personal independent payment appeal tribunals in each year since 2013.
A
Answered by: Edward Argar
Answered on: 15 April 2019

The information requested is not held centrally. The cost of Personal Independence Payment and Employment and Support Allowance hearings is included in the overall cost of the First-tier Tribunal (Social Security and Child Support Appeal).

Q
(Battersea)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 29 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Employment and Support Allowance
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many ESA65B letters have been sent to GPs since the wording of that letter was revised, in each month in (a) 2018 and (b) 2019.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 03 April 2019

The Department does not hold information on the number of ESA65B letters sent to GPs.

The ESA65B letter is automatically issued by the IT system to GPs in every case where an Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimant has been found ‘fit for work’.

Link to the latest ESA statistics:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/esa-outcomes-of-work-capability-assessments-including-mandatory-reconsiderations-and-appeals-march-2019

Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 13 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, reference to the Written Statement of 5 March 2019, Health and Disability Announcement, HCWS1376, what estimate she has made of the cost by budget headline of the integration of assessment services due to be implemented from 2021.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 20 March 2019

DWP is committed to achieving value for money and is focussed on achieving the best outcomes for customers. We are in the process of designing the new service around customers, engaging with the market and shaping our approach to safe implementation, all of which needs to be complete as part Department’s business case process, as you would expect from any new service being developed.

Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 13 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, reference to the Written Statement of 5 March 2019, Health and Disability Announcement, HCWS1376, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that its new single digital platform is accessible to ill and disabled people.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 19 March 2019

For many of our customers, digital offers a more accessible communication channel and is something that our stakeholders have been asking for us to introduce. We recognise the challenges for customers who cannot access our online services despite making it accessibility compliant. We will have a choice of other channels available including assisted digital where customers can ask for assistance from friends, family or other organisations, or by contacting DWP by phone or face to face.

Q
(Battersea)
Asked on: 13 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement, of 5 March 2019, HLWS1343, how many ill and disabled people will be involved in her Department’s test on sanctions and conditionality; and what steps her Department plans to take in response to the conclusions of that test.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 19 March 2019

The Department is finalising the design of the Proof of Concept and seeking input from key representatives from the sector. It is a small scale test which will be run in 2-4 jobcentres. We will use the Proof of Concept to test whether we can increase engagement with claimants through Work Coaches starting at no mandatory requirements and then tailoring conditionality up based on an individual’s circumstances.

Q
(Battersea)
[N]
Close

Named Day

'Named day' questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.

Asked on: 13 March 2019
Department for Work and Pensions
Social Security Benefits: Medical Examinations
Commons
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Written Statement of 5 March 2019, Health and Disability Announcement, HCWS1376 and the extension of the contract for the Health and Disability Assessment Service, (a) what the value of that contract extension is, (b) what the terms of that contract extension are and (c) what performance targets have been set out in that contract extension.
A
Answered by: Justin Tomlinson
Answered on: 18 March 2019

On 5th March 2019, the Secretary of State announced in a Written Ministerial Statement that we intend to extend the HDAS Contract to enable the move to an integrated assessment service.

Contract extension negotiations are now underway with the Incumbent provider,
the Centre for Health and Disability Assessments, a subsidiary of Maximus. The value, terms and performance targets of the extension period are still to be determined.

We do not intend to make material changes to the contracts. Our intention is to protect service delivery to allow for ongoing continuous improvement, and to ensure a safe transition to the new integrated assessment service.

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