Read our LiPSS…
Support we offer people challenging DWP decisions has been strengthened thanks to funding from Access to Justice’s Litigants in Person Support Strategy (LiPSS).
This month saw Citizens Advice Caerphilly Blaenau Gwent (CACBG) launch a project to give those appealing a DWP decision greater support and advocacy at Tribunal hearings.
Data released last year (Jan 2020) by the DWP suggested that an astonishingly high percentage of people had successfully challenged a Social Security decision. In cases where claimants have challenged an Employment and Support Allowance decision, 77% were successful, and a further 79% of Personal Independence Payment, 69% of Disability Living Allowance and 61% of Universal Credit rulings were overturned at Mandatory Reconsideration.
Chief Executive for CACBG Simon Ellington said these figures hide some worrying facts.
He said: “We all know that many clients who are unsuccessful with a first claim simply don’t follow through as far as an appeal. The number of appeal hearings had dropped sharply even before the pandemic. This is particularly true of benefits that include the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) stage. DWP say this is because better decisions are being made and the MR process is working. Others believe that it is because MR has simply made the system even more complex to negotiate.”
The success rates of appeals are better for clients who have had expert advice and advocacy in the lead up to and during a hearing. With tribunal venues moving to Cardiff and Newport and funders becoming more target driven, the number of cases where we have been able to represent has fallen over recent years. That is set to change.
“With funding from Access to Justice’s Litigants in Person Support Strategy (LiPSS) we have been able to employ a tribunal representative for the next year,” said Mr Ellington. “Lucy Williams has joined us. She began her legal career as a debt adviser in our Legal Aid service many years ago and then moved into private practice as a solicitor. Lucy will use this experience of advocacy in court to prepare clients for appeal hearings and will represent them on the day. She will also offer training and support to existing staff and volunteers to help them build up the skills they need to represent clients themselves.”
For more information contact Lucy Williams at email@example.com