Eich Cyf/Your Ref

Eich Cyf/Your Ref

Eich cyf/Your ref

Ein cyf/Our ref TO/LG/00014/15


29 January 2015

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your correspondence of 30 December 2014 originally addressed to the Freedom of Information Officer in relation to social security benefits. I have been asked to reply.

While you indicated you wished your enquiry to be considered under the Freedom of Information Act, we are of the view that your enquiry is not a valid request under that Act. The Act provides a right to seek access to specified recorded information. It does not provide the right to request advice, views or opinions that are not already held, at the time the request is made, as recorded information. This is confirmed by the Information Commissioner’s guidance ‘The Guide to Freedom of Information’, page 7:

The Act does not cover information that is in someone’s head. If a member of the public asks for information, you only have to provide information you already have in recorded form. You do not have to create new information or find the answer to a question from staff who may happen to know it.”

Whilst not treating this as a FoI request, we have considered your enquiry and can advise you as follows:

The responsibility for social security benefits is not devolved to the Welsh Government and decisions on the social security benefits system is a reserved matter for the UK Government. Therefore, we have sought advice from officials within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), in regard to issues which you have raised.

I can advise that in order to obtain a formal decision on entitlement to social security benefits an applicant has to make a claim to that benefit. Each benefit has their respective eligibility conditions.

A link to the Gov.UK is attached which shows the eligibility conditions for the main social security benefits:

Jobseekers Allowance -

Employment and Support Allowance

Decisions on claims and applications are made by the Secretary of State. In practice the Secretary of State does not make decisions personally. Instead, under the Carltona principle officials act on the Secretary of State’s behalf, provided that he is satisfied that they are suitably trained and experienced to do so.These officials are called decision makers (DMs).

I hope this information is of help to you.

Yours faithfully

Elinor Jones

Welfare Reform and DWP Liaison Team