The letter went on to claim that 70 per cent of the organisation’s assessments are overturned on appeal, and that for this reason it was “completely inappropriate” for ATOS to sponsor the games.
In response to this, an ATOS manager responded with a letter to the Guardian stating that “fewer than 8% of the assessments undertaken are overturned on appeal”.
This means that of the 462,100 ‘fit for work’ assessments decided between October 2008 and August 2010 69,800 – or 15 per cent – were overturned.
The figures are vastly different because they are looking at different things. A figure around 8 per cent (we make it 9 per cent) can be arrived at by working out successful appeals against fit to work decisions as a percentage of all assessments.
The 70 per cent figure, if the CAB figure was the source of the claim, is the number successful appeals made when the Citizens Advice was involved as a percentage of appeals were the bureau has provided assistance.
As highlighted on our Facebook page, there more up to date figures on ESA appeal decisions.
The Ministry of Justice publishes figures going up to September 2011. They show that around 38 per cent of Employment and Support Allowance appeals go against DWP – ie the decision is overturned on appeal. The numbers also show an increase in the number of appeals being made.
But these statistics only give us a percentage of decisions overturned out of the ones which actually went to tribunal in a given period. They are not given as a proportion of all assessments made.
To get picture of what proportion of all ‘fit for work’ decisions are ultimately overturned it seems we still have to rely on the slightly dated DWP figures referenced in this piece.
In the DWP bulletin the figures are grouped by the month the claim was initially started, so we can assess what proportion of claimants who began their claims in the same time period ultimately had a fit for work decision overturned.
Though it is possible that the percentage will change when the figures are updated, these are the best numbers we could find to go on at present.
One of our readers highlighted a potential lack of clarity in our article. As we mentioned, appeals data was only available for people in the ‘fit to work’ category and did not include appeals from people in either recipient group who objected to their category. This imposes significant restrictions on conclusions about the proportion of all applications that are overturned on appeal – precise data for which we do not have access to.
In addition, a potential caveat that we did not initially mention is that the successfully overturned applications in the ‘fit to work’ category are only those overturned following an appeal. The data from the DWP does not include ‘reassessments’, which can also result in an overturned application but are not recorded in the appeals statistics. Information on these procedures is available here.
We apologise for the lack of clarity in our article.