Mandatory Reconsiderations, an affront to social justice


A letter a day to number 10. No 1,470

Monday 20 June 2016.

Dear Mr Cameron,

The DWP’s ‘Mandatory Reconsideration’ (MR) scheme introduced in 2013 was another block in the road of social justice in their pogrom of dispensing injustice. Official figures published this week reveal that only 10% of appeals through MR are successful compared to 50% through independent appeals tribunals.

Mandatory Reconsideration was dreamed up as a block to claimants, an unaccountable bureaucratic hindrance of red tape that you Tories purport to despise so much, but in reality only when it hinders you, like employment protection, health and safety inspections and building regulations.

You may recall when your government rejected an amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill this year which would have required private landlords to make their properties ‘fit for human habitation’. It was reported that according to Parliament’s register of interests, 72 of the MPs who voted against the amendment were also landlords. As ever, the cares and concerns of ordinary people do not figure in your schemes.

Mandatory reconsideration’s serve only to create more delays during which time people are left in limbo with no benefits for an indeterminate period of time and it is only once a decision has been reached by the DWP that claimants can ask for an independent tribunal.

Judge Robert Martin, ex-head of the appeals tribunal, told the work and pensions select committee that, ‘We have no jurisdiction whatsoever over mandatory reconsideration; there is no statutory limit for the time taken to reconsider. It is in unsupervised territory and the tribunal cannot legally intervene to move things along.’

In a bizarre Orwellian dystopian nightmare dreamscape of reality the DWP declared they would not be abandoning MR stating, ‘The fact that nearly 90% of decisions were not overturned last year shows that in the majority of cases decision-makers are getting it right first time’. This would be rather like Wonga holding an internal review of sky-high interest rates on loans and finding that the rates did not unfairly reflect their own expectations. Welcome to the la la land of Tory reality.

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