Monday, 20 May 2013

"some significant doubts about the quality of the new regime statistics"

Spare a thought for Iain Duncan Smith,  and indeed his junior ministers at the Department of Work and Pensions,  who, as if they aren't burdened enough by having to deal with one needless problem getting in the way of their broadcasting  their success in the mission to solve unemployment, and also having to contend with running needless enquiries into the non-existence of targets up pop two more.

First up some damn fool members of the judiciary have decided  that members of the public ought to be allowed to know which employers and organisations are being public spirited enough to provide work experience places, something which says the DWP the employers and organisations doing it, no doubt through reasons of modesty, do not wish to publicise.

And secondly; having gone to the trouble of establishing beyond peradventure via a rigorous internal enquiry that there aren't any "targets" of any sort operating on the matter of "sanctioning benefit recipients and claimants" the department has now it seems uncovered a few possible inconsistencies in some data it was due to publish on the impact on the issuing of "sanctions" following changes to its procedures last October, and has had to delay publication of these for an as yet unspecified period. 

A similar fate appears to have befallen the data it collects on Employment Support Allowance - the replacement for Incapacity Benefit - claimants and recipients, and the fate of former IB recipients on being given the Work Capability Assessment by Atos, to see whether they qualify for either of the two tiers of ESA, or were simply pulling a fast one all along, something the present government and indeed their predecessors who actually brought in Atos and the WCA have repeatedly said at least a million IB recipients were and are.

So, tough times at the DWP.   On the matter of that judicial decision that despite the wishes of the work experience providers to remain so far as possible anonymous, the public should be allowed to know who they are Iain Duncan Smith might wish to seek another special out of the way meeting with his opposite number in the Labour ranks, Liam Byrne about "another deal” around having some hurriedly introduced retrospective legislation that puts every single aspect of the Work Programme firmly out of the reach of meddling members of the electorate and the damned judiciary...

... and possibly Parliamentary Select Committees too... a matter on which under the deal Labour will once again have a "whipped abstention" on the legislation to ensure it passes quickly and without fuss which Liam will explain via an article on his personal website has been done in order to extract a concession from I D S whereby anyone on the Work Programme breaching the new "confidentiality rules" that will be brought in as part of that retrospective legislation which bar them from ever letting anyone at all know where they are doing or have done some "work experience" that anyone who fails to abide by those confidentiality rules wont have their benefits suspended for more than 12 months as a punishment.

On the matter of those damned stats, well the call has gone out for someone experienced in the matter of presentation to come lend a hand.


James Higham said...

It does become problematic when we get into statistics by order, e.g. the yougov commissioning on the EU opinion.