The Disability News Service (DNS) has been called “vexatious” for attempting to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain key details from more than 90 secret reviews into deaths and other serious incidents involving benefit claimants.
John Pring the editor and founder of Disability News Service asked the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last month for copies of all the internal process reviews carried out between 1 September 2020 and 28 April 2022.
This DWP response to the DNS said: “The effort required to meet the request will be so grossly oppressive in terms of the strain on time and resources, that the authority cannot reasonably be expected to comply, no matter how legitimate the subject matter or valid the intentions of the requester.”
They added: “A request may be treated as vexatious, if it causes distress or irritation without justification; or if it is aimed at disrupting the work of an authority, including if the amount of time required to review and prepare the information for disclosure would impose a grossly oppressive burden on the organisation.”
In support, Labour MP Debbie Abrahams tweeted: “The Government need to supply this information. Thank you for your tireless work on this John.”
He replied thanking the MP for her support on the matter.
Stephen Timms, the Labour MP who chairs the work and pensions committee, added: “This approach to a reasonable request seems to me highly ill-advised on the department’s part.”
There was anger on social media at the government’s response:
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