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Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman   

Millbank Tower Grimsby

Millbank North East Lincolnshire
London DN32 

Reference: C2034991

27 March 2018

Dear Sir/Madam,

Complaint outcome about the Department of Work and Pensions

I have received the letter dated of 26 February 2018 informing me of the decision not to
investigate my complaint. This has not entirely come as a surprise as I am familiar with how the
PHSO works and how all statutory complaints procedures are rigged to filter the number of
complaints which the organisation has to deal with.

I have been through similar processes due to official error so have an insight into how evidence is
twisted and considered disproportionately in the public authority’s favour to play down the
significance of the maladministration with a view to justify dismissing the complaint. It is also
apparent procedure, where a previous complaint body has upheld some or all of the concerns, but
not to the complainant’s satisfaction, for the Ombudsman to routinely defend that body’s decision
thus dismissing further representations made in order to invalidate the complaint. Suffice to say it
was anticipated that the Ombudsman would favour considering evidence for this agenda over the
incontrovertible arguments supporting the complaint.

The key test to be applied in cases involving bias was laid down by the decision in Porter v
Magill [2002] 2 Ac 357] in the House of Lords. The way the complaint was dealt with was so
manifestly biased that any fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts, would
have been entirely justified in reaching that conclusion in this case.
No special powers of deduction are needed to see that a complainant is set-up for his concerns to
be rejected in a two stage ruse. An update letter informs the aggrieved person which of the issues
raised in the complaint are intended to be investigated. These are shrewdly selected with a view
to invalidating them for one or a number of generic (or off-the-shelf) reasons. It can be safely
assumed that by this stage the ombudsman has decided to investigate no further and will have
already prepared the follow up letter briefly explaining how the decision had been arrived at in
respect of each carefully presented aspect of the complaint.

This is perfectly demonstrated in the contrived way the Ombudsman presented the issues raised
in the complaint about the Independent Case Examiner's (ICE) report in respect of emails, phone
calls, interviews etc., which Grimsby Jobcentre claimed to hold no records of which would
enable them to satisfy the ICE's line of investigation. This was shrewdly presented in a way that
twisted my concerns from being about the Jobcentre holding no records – which I did hold and
verified by providing them – to being a complaint about the ICE failing in her report to explain
why the Jobcentre could not confirm the events. The concern was presented in the following
terms (emphasis added):

“You state that the final response expressed no records of events and the ICE report fails
to explain why.”

There is no reference anywhere in my complaint or supporting documents to provide evidence

that I had questioned the ICE report in respect of failing to give an explanation as to why the
Jobcentre claimed to have no records of certain events (i.e., the ICE report fails to explain why).
Clearly then, the Ombudsman had engineered an opening to exploit the ICE’s report which
explained in paragraph 8 that ‘JCP have limited documentary evidence available for events from
2009 to August 2013 due to their data retention policy’.

It is telling that the time period referred to in the report relating to the limited available evidence
was conveniently omitted in the outcome letter, presumably because the new evidence I had
provided included records going beyond August 2013. This was academic anyway, as was the
outcome letter focussing on the ICE’s report (annex) explaining the ‘Data Retention Policy’ and
an obvious smoke screen because it no longer mattered whether the Jobcentre had retained the
records. The following from the Ombudsman’s outcome letter does not apply in the
circumstances and is wholly inappropriate:
“The ICE report explains that JCP have limited documentary evidence due to their data
retention policy under the DPA 1998 and provide an explanation of this policy. We
consider that the ICE report has provided a clear and transparent account of JCP’s data
retention policy and explanation for why the evidence was not available to them.

Whilst we appreciate that this may be frustrating for you, we consider both ICE's
explanation of the lack of records, as well as the conclusions drawn from the evidence
available, are reasonable.”

There was no justification to dismiss evidence which I had located as a consequence of the ICE
identifying what was in question just because the Jobcentre informed the ICE that it was unable
to confirm the catalogue of events. What was relevant to the Ombudsman's investigation was the
evidence it was provided, not what the Jobcentre was prepared to admit. There is no doubt that
this was a ploy intended to divert the focus from the real issue which was that I had provided a
substantial amount of new evidence in respect of the Ombudsman submission which was a direct
result of the ICE’s findings.

This reinforces the assertion that the Ombudsman will have already prepared the outcome letter
owing to the fact that I had commented on its update letter to clarify the position but the
Ombudsman took none of this into account and proceeded as it so obviously intended to
regardless of what concerns I might have raised.

The significant amount of additional time spent putting together my complaint to the
Ombudsman should have been the end of the matter. All angles had been covered so there was no
room for manoeuvre yet I have needed to dedicate several more weeks of my time going over the
same matters but from a different angle in the hope that the picture is more clearly seen (see this
letter’s Annex). I trust the decision to take this matter no further will be reversed.

Yours Sincerely

Reference: C2034991

PHSO Complaint letter 27 March 2018

Consolatory payment

1. There is evidence in the outcome letter that gives rise to a suspicion that the supporting
documents I had provided had not even been considered. This may also possibly apply to the
representations included in the prescribed complaint form.

2. In respect of the consolatory payment issues, the outcome letter reiterates largely word for
word what was in the ICE’s report. The Ombudsman is obliged to consider the matter
objectively which clearly did not happen because there is no evidence that my
representations had been taken into account which included proper reasoning for why the
amount paid was not in line with DWP policy guidance, ‘the Guide for Special Payment
Officers’1 and ‘Financial Redress for Maladministration’. The latter was first highlighted in
my complaint of 26 August 2014, after my case had been referred for a Special Payment and
was refused therefore before the Complaints Resolution Manager intervened and re-referred
it for consideration.

3. It is clear from the final outcome that the Ombudsman exploited the token representations I
made in response to the update letter of 9 February 2018 to avoid having to take into account
all the relevant evidence in my complaint and supporting documents. It is evident from those
papers that the concerns regarding the ‘failure to consider the amount in line with JCP's own
guidelines’ applied in more than one context and in relation to more than one decision and
department. By that I mean there was a failure by the Jobcentre and then the Special
Payment Unit at Glasgow (SPU) to recognise that a payment was appropriate (see below
paras 26 to 33) and when eventually it was accepted that a payment should have been made
it failed to consider an appropriate amount in line with DWP policy guidance.

4. The ICE similarly relied only on information that had been obtained from the DWP, i.e., my
representations had not been taken into account. This is evident from the ICE's report in

The delegated limit for a consolatory payment is £500 and may be paid without referral to the DWP Complaints,
Redress and Stewardship Team (CReST). Any case which exceeds this limit should be referred to CReST to

which it was stated in para 60 that ‘it is not known what these documents were’, referring to
an email I sent to ‘Officer A’ on 23 January 2014. The email had attached two documents in
support of my request for a Special Payment. These were later forwarded to the ICE along
with all of the papers which comprised the original DWP complaint of 26 August 2014 at the
same time an update letter was sent on 23 January 2016.

5. The 45 page complaint document meticulously records almost every detail with references
corresponding to supporting documents, where relevant. This can clearly be seen in respect
of the two documents mentioned in the ICE's report in the complaint (para 57) as follows:

“On 23.1.14 telephoned [Officer A] and discussed various issues including allocation
of NI Credits and bringing up to date records. Agreed it might be helpful for the
Special Payments Team for determining any or the level of consolatory payment if
submitted documents already held (Appeal Grounds and Tribunal decisions).
Subsequently emailed as attachments to [Officer A] in the afternoon of the 23rd (see
Emails #14). The possibility of scanning the appeal bundle consisting of around 80
pages to further support the amount of time spent was also discussed.”

6. The third document referred to in the above quote (Emails) contained 40 emails condensed
into 28 pages which were easily cross-referenced to the DWP complaint, for example
“Emails #14”. The DWP complaint, and all of the papers supporting it were provided at each
of the complaint stages including the Ombudsman. The subsequent email (Emails #15) was
from ‘Officer A’ and confirmed the following2:

“thank you for telephoning me earlier today and for sending me these details. I have
now forwarded these documents to the Special Payments Team in Glasgow, who will
find them helpful.”

7. It is therefore irrational that the ICE would have stated in her report that it was ‘not known
what these documents were’, especially as a letter to her prior to sending the papers on 22
December 2015 itemised the documents as follows (emphasis added):

♦ DWP Complaint 26 Aug 2014

♦ Grounds of Appeal
♦ Appeal bundle 18 November 13 (excludes Grounds of Appeal, provided above)

Paragraph 72 of the ICE's report states ‘You said that it had been agreed during a telephone call on 23 January
2014 that your grounds of appeal would be forwarded to the Special Payments Team but that had not happened -
there is no record of a telephone call that day’

♦ Hull Appeals team 7 May 13
♦ Miscellaneous
♦ Directions Notice 6 June 13 (Duplication)
♦ Directions Notice 19 June 13
♦ Gy Jobcentre 16 March 2014
♦ Social Entitlement Tribunal - All Decisions
♦ Emails
♦ financial redress for maladministration
♦ SI 1975 No. 556
♦ Appeal JSA 18 April 2014 – Form GL24
♦ Misc2

8. The above list was also duplicated (all but the first item) on the first page of the DWP
complaint itself preceded by the following explanatory note:

“Below are documents listed in the order first referred to in this complaint. It is
therefore of central importance that all are available for considering the issues
outlined, and asked to be re-sent in the event any are missing.”

9. A feasible explanation would be that whoever forwarded the case papers to the ICE did not
send a complete set of documents and the ones I had sent on 23 January 2016 were not
considered. The ICE’s reply of 26 January 2016 to my 23 January 2016 update letter stated
‘your case papers have been requested from JCP today’.

10. That would be consistent with the Jobcentre's handling of the documents I had sent in
support of my request for a consolatory payment. The SPU indicated that it did not receive
one of the documents which the Jobcentre claimed to have forwarded. This would account
for why the SPU wrote to me explaining that a special payment was not appropriate because
they cannot make a payment if they have not done anything wrong or where an error has had
minimal impact on the customer. The letter dated 23 January 2014 also stated the following
which was consistent with the SPU not having seen the “Grounds of Appeal”.

“Consolatory payments are made in very exceptional circumstances where an official

error has had a direct adverse effect on the life of the customer and/or on the life of
another person. We cannot make a payment if we have not done anything wrong or
where an error has had minimal impact on the customer. A consolatory payment for

gross inconvenience resulting from official error will only be made if the errors made
are so severe or are over such a protracted period of time that it causes the customer
clear difficulties in the pursuit of benefits or pursuing a justified complaint.

After considering the circumstances of your request I have decided a special payment
is not appropriate.”

11. The content of the missing document gave a reasonable indication of how much
inconvenience had resulted from the Jobcentre’s official error in the years prior to making
the appeal and the subsequent 8 month period stretching from 23 April 2013 to 20 December
2013 when HMCTS informed me that the DWP had overturned the sanctions. It is also
telling that the Jobcentre expressed that the SPU would ask if required when I queried if
further evidence of the injustice would be needed, and when I asked to be provided a contact
at the SPU (because of previous unacceptable delays waiting for replies) it declined to do so.

12. The SPU was asked to confirm what information had been sent by the Jobcentre in relation
to the Special Payment request as it appeared from the reply that there was no awareness of
the gross inconvenience that had been caused, nor of the length of time the dispute had been

13. The SPU claimed to be unable to confirm what documents had been sent by the Jobcentre
because the information I had requested had to be handled by the sending office, Grimsby,
which was considering a payment on my behalf, and recommended that I contact ‘Officer A’

14. Eventually after a number of attempts to get answers there was a reply from the SPU dated 6
February 2014 in which it was stated in respect of the information sent by the Jobcentre in
support of the request for a consolatory payment as follows:

“I asked for additional information and received the appeal court decisions of
12/12/13 in your favour, your letter of 02/05/13 when you ask for a Subject Access
Request and a letter explaining the reasons for your missing credits.”

15. The Grounds of Appeal document is not listed above which explains along with the
reluctance to confirm the matter that it was not sent as I had been assured it was. The same
letter also revealed that the decision to turn down National Insurance credits which were

subsequently appealed against, related to only one period (7 July 2010 to 13 August 2010)
when in fact there were six decisions. It is therefore questioned if the appeal court decisions
of 12 December 2013 were sent as I had provided them why it would not have been clear
there were six decisions overturned? The second document I am able to identify. This is a
letter dated 2 May 2013 authorising the Jobcentre to access and release my personal
information under the Data Protection Act. It is contained in supporting papers to my DWP
complaint. However, I do not know what the third document ‘explaining the reasons’ for the
missing credits refers to.

16. It is clear from the SPU’s letter that by leaving it in the hands of Grimsby Jobcentre to
communicate the degree of inconvenience I was put to led to further injustice, as it was in
the Jobcentre’s interest to play this down. The time pursuing the matter had been extended
by at least 2 months at that point although it was unknown then there would still be several
more years required of my time to learn the full extent of the errors and negligence.

17. There is every reason to believe that the presented facts had been manipulated and the most
relevant document omitted. For example, it is not apparent from the SPU’s 23 January 2014
letter or its 6 February 2014 correspondence dealing with my concerns that it was aware that
I had to wait 111 days to receive the information from the Subject Access Request. The law
allows only 40 days to respond so it is unlikely that it would ever have been dealt with had I
not chased Grimsby Jobcentre for it to do so.

18. If there was any serious will on the part of the Jobcentre to properly address the level of
injustice, or any of the organisations involved, there was justification3 for subdividing the
matters into at least six distinct complaints that would have enabled compensation of up to
£3,000 to have been made without referring the payment further to be authorised4. Though
still nowhere near fully compensating for the injustice it would have been a less insulting
amount and would have been entirely justified in the circumstances. Moreover there was
justification for referring the matter to the DWP Complaints, Redress and Stewardship Team
(CReST) so that a more appropriate payment could have been considered to reflect the

Letters of 17 September, 7 October and 16 October 2014 from the Complaints Resolution Manager at Hull
Jobcentre addressing the 26 August 2014 DWP complaint raise issues about the complexity of the complaint and that
a number of different issues had to be investigated which attributed to the delay in providing a full reply.
Payment up to £500 can be made in respect of a consolatory payment without referral to the DWP Complaints,
Redress and Stewardship Team (CReST).

degree of injustice caused by unlawful actions which first began as far back as July 2010.
This was first raised in correspondence to the ICE when the complaint was escalated in
December 2015, however, she expressed in her outcome report of 9 March 2017 that the
apologies and the two consolatory payments of £350 and £50 were appropriate redress given
the circumstances of my case.

19. The ‘Guidance for Special Payment Officers’ provides more detailed advice on the actual
processes for considering and making a special payment including what is required for
decision making in respect of special payments exceeding the delegated limits (£500 in the
case of consolatory payments). Apparently no account was taken of my representations by
the ICE because there was no reference to CReST referrals or the detailed guidance
regarding payments exceeding the delegated limits. Only the ‘Financial Redress for
Maladministration’ was referred to but that was in a letter from the Office of the ICE, i.e.,
after I had queried some of the findings in the outcome report.

20. The ‘Guidance for Special Payment Officers’ was specifically referred to in my complaint to
the Ombudsman. It was then I suggested they are ignored in favour of routinely opposing
paying compensation or else there would have been no hesitation in referring the case to
CReST to redress the significant injustice the errors had caused over the protracted period of
time. Consistent with all the other decisions in the outcome letter, it was obvious that the
material considered by the Ombudsman was limited to what the ICE had determined. The
Ombudsman is unlikely to have even noticed that I had included the policy guidance,
‘Financial Redress for Maladministration’ in my supporting documents because the
outcome letter specifically highlights it to inform me of the ‘financial redress payment
range’ as if it was something I did not know (see the Ombudsman’s 26 February 2018
outcome letter:

“Although there were failures on behalf of JCP, it apologised in response to these

errors and has provided consolatory payments amounting to £400, which we consider
is appropriate redress in line with Financial Redress for Maladministration Guidelines
- Special Payments Scheme: Policy and Guiding Principles (April 2012). This sets out
that the financial redress payment range varies from £25 to £500.”

Even this was not entirely accurate as paragraph 5.13 of the guidance states in respect of the
financial redress payment range as follows:

“Consolatory payments usually range between £25 and £500, although lower or
higher payments may be appropriate having considered the individual circumstances
of a case, in the context of the guiding principles.”

21. As well as agreeing with the ICE, the Ombudsman considered that the amount offered was
consistent with other cases where financial redress has been paid and as a result was satisfied
that the amount was appropriate. The decision was not supported and it is not seen how the
Ombudsman could have possibly identified a comparable case where the injustice had
impacted on the affected person for approaching 8 years.

22. To reiterate what was said in the complaint, if I had not escalated the concerns through every
stage of the process, then the extent of the maladministration so far uncovered would not
have been known (each stage uncovered additional official errors). The ICE’s investigation
discovered to my detriment another instance of my claim being closed in May 2015 without
being notified. Another discovery was that I was not obliged, as a National Insurance Credits
only claimant, to engage or participate with the Work Programme and therefore should not
have been referred to a Decision Maker for consideration of a sanction decision (my claim
had been incorrectly closed on two occasions for failing to attend Work Programme

23. The ICE and consequently the Ombudsman’s consideration that the two consolatory
payments of £350 and £50 were appropriate redress given the circumstances of my case
would to any fair minded and informed observer, having considered all relevant factors, be
so manifestly unreasonable that he could not have believed they sincerely held that view.
However, it is not just this which needs to be taken into account because the ICE had judged
the appropriateness of the payment at the stage when it was awarded in October 2014, i.e.,
on the basis that the matter/injustices had ended at that point. Therefore the fact that around
a further three and a half years has been necessary to uncover the official error so far
revealed has not been accounted for. Even now, the process is not at an end because the
Ombudsman failed to take into account my representations and in many respects disregarded
the ‘PHSO’s Principles for Remedy’5 in favour of relying on the ICE’s report.

Annex B and D respectively of the DWP policy guidance; ‘Financial Redress for Maladministration’ and
‘Guidance for Special Payment Officers’.

24. The more detailed guidance ‘for Special Payment Officers’ has the section header, ‘Unusual
Cases’ (page 38) under which the sub-heading ‘Novel and contentious cases’ recommends
when ‘it may be appropriate for Ministers and senior officials to be alerted at an early stage
to any difficult or controversial case’. There is no question that my case which has still
unanswered questions even after I have been pursuing it for approaching 8 years would fall
under this category.

25. By the time the complaint was in the Ombudsman’s hands the page count of related
documents had risen to well over 300 and been pursued over a period of several years. The
fact is that there was a total disregard for the DWP policy guidance regarding ‘Financial
Redress for Maladministration’ because that guidance stipulates that the department should
consider a payment as a matter of course. Presumably this is to avoid an aggrieved person
being caused additional injustice because of the need to challenge obstacles put in the way
by a department that wishes to prevent a payment being made.

26. Even after the decisions to overturn the sanctions had been made there were still matters
which required addressing. In correspondence to the Jobcentre on 6 January 2014 the issues
were raised and suggested they were remedied without further need to involve another
lengthy appeal. It was also enquired about any options for claiming compensation for the
inordinate amount of time committed to researching the appeal process, sourcing and
preparing evidence to enable producing the relevant papers for submitting the appeal. The
fact that I should not have needed to make a request for compensation was not discovered
until later.

27. The guidance re “Financial Redress for Maladministration” was referred to in my 26 August
2013 complaint (paragraph 52) and submitted along with other supporting papers to
highlight the further injustice caused by the Jobcentre not following the guidance. It should
not have been necessary for me to request compensation, as page 11 of the document states:

“the appropriateness of making a payment should be routinely considered in any

attempt to rectify departmental maladministration, which may have resulted in a
customer (or a third party) experiencing injustice and/or hardship”.

28. Despite the Jobcentre failing to take the initiative, it gave misleading advice about what
could be claimed when I raised the matter. The first response was that it was possible to

receive a special payment under certain circumstances as a direct result of maladministration
for which evidence would need to be provided in support of the costs incurred.

29. The Jobcentre was asked for further detail about the kind of expenditure that would be taken
into account because the cost related to my time taken to produce numerous items of
correspondence, reclaiming Jobseeker's Allowance, researching legislation for the appeal
process, sourcing and preparing evidence etc., etc. The process itself to estimate the costs in
terms of time dedicated to dealing with the various errors was envisaged to be so significant
that it would justify further compensatory payment. I therefore asked if the DWP would
consider these costs allowable and if not I would like it clarifying before embarking on
further work.

30. In response, the Jobcentre implied that allowable costs would be limited to postal and
telephony expenditure, with the possibility of printing costs. However, in each instance it
required evidence providing of how much was spent. I reiterated my concerns that additional
time would be needed to compile evidence and asked for assurance before beginning work
on assessing time (including to compile evidence) that it would not be dismissed. I also
stated that items suggested (postage, printer costs, paper etc.) would be insignificant
compared with time (gross inconvenience) which was the only costs I intended to claim. The
Jobcentre was adamant that no payment was due in respect of the effected person’s time
taken up in pursuit of the complaint and reiterated that only costs such as postal, telephony,
paper etc., were considered to be allowable costs.

31. In response to enquiring about where the authority came from that time spent was not
considered an allowable cost, the Jobcentre stated that the decision was based on DWP
National guidance on Special Payments. It was at this point (20 January 2014) that the
Jobcentre forwarded the application to the SPU. The Jobcentre’s denial that my time was
considered a cost was in direct conflict with what was stated in the aforementioned guidance
which is the following on page 12:

“special payment decisions should have specific regard to the length of time it has
taken to resolve a complaint; and the time and trouble the individual had to go to, in
order to obtain appropriate redress.”

32. The 23 January 2014 letter from SPU (see above para 10) also confirmed this, i.e., that
payment would be considered for gross inconvenience resulting from maladministration over
a protracted period of time. Though this is clearly contrary to its decision that a special
payment was not appropriate in the circumstances, an explanation for that anomaly is given
(see above paras 10 to 17).

33. The SPU offered me the option of challenging its decision if I was not satisfied that it was
correct (another hoop through which to jump). Though at the time I did not do that I did ask
it to confirm what information had been sent by the Jobcentre and received a response on 6
February 2014 (see above paras 12 to 14). I had decided to submit a complaint about the
Jobcentre because of issues that were ongoing even after the 6 sanction decisions had all
been overturned and because of the Jobcentre’s obstruction to resolve them. Therefore, there
was little point providing reasons why I felt the SPU was wrong until the issues which had
arisen since the Tribunal decision had been resolved.

34. Other than copying in the SPU to various correspondence, it was not sent anything further in
respect of challenging its decision until the events had been comprehensively set out in the
DWP complaint of 26 August 2014. The further 6 months or so from when the SPU made its
decision that a payment was not appropriate up until the 26 August 2014 was dedicated to
producing the complaint including all the supporting papers, whilst pursuing new and
unresolved issues.

35. In brief summary, even after I had enquired about options to claim compensation, I was still
met with obstruction even continuing with the SPU. The most appropriate action both in
terms of limiting my wasted time and the department’s resources would have been to
recognise the obvious injustice and dealt with it in accordance with the guidance.

Failure to address issue relating to JCP not providing complete appeal form to HMCTS

36. The Ombudsman decision regarding the mishandling of the appeal form is consistent with
all the other decisions in the outcome letter. The ICE’s explanations have been solely relied
on by the Ombudsman to be satisfied that the referral of an incomplete appeal form played
no part in the maladministration. Additionally, despite the Ombudsman inferring that my

complaint was about the ICE failing to address the issues, I had not questioned the report in
respect of failing to give an explanation. I had in fact included the explanation in my
complaint to the Ombudsman in order to contest the ICE’s findings that there was no
evidence that the appeal form was mishandled.

37. My representations in this matter were evidently not considered by the Ombudsman because
I highlighted that the ICE had not taken into account all of the relevant factors, i.e., it did not
only hinge on whether or not the appeal form was signed. The ICE’s 30 March 2017 letter6
explained that the appeal had been struck-out due to the fact that I did not supply all of the
information and not because I did not sign the appeal form. This was considered in my
complaint and will therefore not be repeated here, except to say that it was academic whether
the Tribunal closed my appeal because of the signature or that I had not provided my reasons
for appealing, because the page in question contained both my signature and explanation that
I was awaiting further information and there would be a delay in obtaining it.

38. The ICE expanded on its explanation in defence of the alleged maladministration, still in the
context of a signed appeal form, but relying on an incorrect claim that I had not responded to
Hull BDC's letter of 7 May to be the reason why it referred the appeal to the Tribunal, as

“In our view, the documentation makes clear that the referral by the BDC was made,
not because you had not signed the appeal form, but because you had not responded to
a request for additional information to that already sent, and is the reason the Tribunal
Judge wrote to you for that additional information. Whilst it may be that HMCTS sent
you two copies of the front page of the appeal form, that does not mean that the full
appeal form was not sent to HMCTS by the BDC.”

39. To reiterate what I stated in my complaint to the Ombudsman I did respond to it by sending
a holding email on 22 May 2013 (see below) undertaking to provide more detail when I was
further informed. Attached was the letter of 2 May 2013 (see appended to Ombudsman
complaint) authorising the GJC access to my personal information under the Data Protection
Act 1998 which supported why I was unable to provide further details in relation to my

Letter of 30 March 2017 from the Office of the Independent Case Examiner addressing queries made on the
findings in the outcome report.

From: “” <>
To: <>
Sent: 22 May 2013 14:09
Attach: Appeal decision 2 May 2013.pdf
Subject: NE21 / 312050

Dear Ms Metcalf

I will write in more detail, but for now please find attached the letter I'm waiting on in
relation to my appeal.

40. A letter was also sent in the post on 23 May 2013 to Hull BDC (see appended to
Ombudsman complaint) apologising for being unable to supply further details, but referred
to the explanation I had given on appeal form (re, awaiting SAR) and that it could be several
weeks coming. There was never a response to the email or letter but I did receive copies of
the email attachment and posted letter in a bundle of documents dated 18 November 2013
which HMCTS had received from the DWP. The Clerk to the Tribunal stated as follows in
the cover letter (emphasis added):

“The Judge has asked me to send you a copy of some further information we have
received from the DWP. The Judge has asked me to send the whole file to the DWP
and ask them to send us a response within 28 days.”

41. It is debatable how much of the bundle’s content was actually ‘further information’, i.e.,
papers which had only been seen by the Tribunal for the first time. However, it is noted that
there are 4 copies each of the attached letter of 2 May 2013 and the letter posted on 23 May
2013. Also noted is the first time copies of the letters appear in the bundle, which is ordered
chronologically, is 1 July 2013, which is 3 weeks after the Tribunal received my letter of 11
June asking it to refer to all my correspondence in relation to the matter.

42. The Tribunal striking out the appeal on 19 June 2013, because my letter contained no useful
information, is consistent with HMCTS having been denied the letters which would have
explained what was being asked for could not be provided until the DWP had supplied it
pursuant to the Data Protection Act 1998. Up until the 1 July 2013 I had limited my attempts
to communicate, albeit unsuccessfully, with Hull BDC and DWP enquiries. I had been
advised to contact the Social Security & Child Support Appeals (SSCSA) which I did on or
shortly before the 1 July 2013 and obtained the email address for serving appeal documents
which was when I first contacted SSCSA. I attached copies of the 2 May 2013 Subject

Access Request and 23 May 2013 letter to Hull BDC to my 1 July 2013 email and explained
the reason for the delay, and that I had never received a response or acknowledgement from
Hull BDC.

43. Returning to the contents of the ‘further information’ sent by the Clerk to the Tribunal, it is
noted that the documents which correspond to the Directions Notice of 6 June 2013 that
were sent to me through the post and which had attached the front page of the appeal form
duplicated was complete in the bundle. The other page worth mentioning is the referral from
Hull BDC notifying HMCTS that it had issued a letter of 7 May 2013 asking me to provide
sufficient grounds for the appeal etc., and it had not received a reply within the 14 day time
limit. What is dubious is the notice having no date to identify when Hull BDC sent it to
HMCTS hence the ICE commenting in paragraph 28 of her report; re, ‘your appeal was
referred to HMCTS (on an unknown date)’.

44. An explanation for why it is undated would be because it is likely to have been referred after
Hull BDC had received my 22 May 2013 email informing it that my appeal grounds etc.,
were dependant on receiving information back from the DWP which had been asked for via
a Subject Access Request. In any event, if the complete form had been sent by the Jobcentre
to Hull BDC it would have had no logical reason to ask for the information in its 7 May
2013 letter because its questions were answered on the appeal form of 24 April 2013.
Further more, there was an interval of only 10 working days between when the appeal form
was submitted until Hull BDC sent its 7 May 2013 letter, and it must have been aware that
the law allowed the DWP 40 days to comply with the Subject Access Request. It should be
reiterated that there was in fact a 111 day wait for the DWP to deal with the Subject Access
Request and it is a reasonable assumption that it would have been ignored completely if I
had not chased the Jobcentre.

45. Referring still to the bundle sent by the Clerk to the Tribunal, it is noted that the HMCTS
correspondence of 19 June 2013 includes only 1 page (Directions Notice) whereas the
corresponding papers sent to me through the post also includes a cover letter from the
Tribunal Clerk. The same Directions Notice is also contained in information provided by the
DWP but with a different cover letter accompanying it sent to Hull BDC. In both cover
letters the Clerk refers to receiving the appeal on 29 May 2013. For example the Clerk’s
letter sent to Hull BDC states as follows:

“I received an appeal on 29/05/2013 which you submitted because it was not duly

46. Though the ICE emphasises in her report that the date when Hull BDC referred the appeal
was unknown it can be near enough pinpointed to have been on or shortly before 29 May
2013, therefore Hull BDC would have received the email and attachment sent 22 May 2013
explaining that I was awaiting information from the DWP.

Concluding Remarks

47. The ICE has opted to turn a blind eye to the evidence which overwhelmingly points to the
injustices being caused intentionally in order to obfuscate the process because of a grudge
held by the Jobcentre or to attempt a cover up. The Ombudsman has taken the easy way out
by relying on the ICE’s findings without consideration of the evidence which was provided
before and since her involvement.

48. The ICE and the Ombudsman have clearly been unfair and neglectful to dismiss evidence
just because the Jobcentre has claimed it has no records if I have been able to provide
indisputable proof.

49. There has made no attempt to address the maladministration which was not known about
until the ICE had completed her investigation. The report records the discovery of another
instance of my claim being closed in May 2015 without being notified. This is inexcusable
considering it is a repetition of the fault that has given rise to this complaint which is taking
so many years to resolve. Also, I was not obliged, as a National Insurance Credits only
claimant, to participate in the Work Programme and therefore should not have been referred
to a Decision Maker for consideration of a sanction decision. However, the ICE found that
my claim had been incorrectly closed on two occasions for failing to attend Work
Programme appointments. None of this has been taken into account in respect of quantifying
the amount of injustice or addressing it.

50. Perhaps the most telling response in respect of revealing the PHSO’s real function is its
claim to be unable to use the lessons learned from my complaint to ensure that
maladministration or poor service is not repeated. If it can not even achieve this, which is

claimed to be one of its ‘Principles for Remedy’, then there is a question of whether the
funding of the service amounts to a misuse of public money.

51. The ICE commented in her report (paragraph 117) that she considered the maladministration
a relatively straightforward issue of the Jobcentre failing on a number of occasions to
recognise I was a National Insurance Credits only case and incorrectly applying a decision
making process that did not correspond to my particular circumstances. The fact that the
maladministration stemmed from a straightforward issue is not the criterion on which the
ICE or the Ombudsman had to base its decision regarding whether any recommendations
should be made. The focus clearly needs to be on the factors which have contributed to the
negligence that has caused me to be engaged in pursuing the complaint over such a
protracted period and has affected me for approaching 8 years.

52. The dismissal of the suggestion to use the lessons learned from my complaint is presumably
because it is perversely desirable for public bodies such as the DWP to be given free rein to
allow its staff to cause injustice as punishment or deterrent against anyone daring to question
their actions.