Wednesday, 11 May 2011

More Sloppy BBC 'Journalism'

In a new article on BBC Politics, Auntie takes a look at the situation with WCA and the charities protesting against it (no mention of disabled peoples groups -- I guess we don't count). Just for once they actually give enough detail to demonstrate that there clearly are failures in the design and implementation of WCA, though they do tend to take the Harrington Report on trust.

But then they cite last month's ESA figures and sum them up as "Only 6% of claims - 73,500 people - were considered to be entitled to full ESA support."

Hang on a minute, 6%? Where did that come from? 94% of applicants aren't entitled to ESA?

Look closer and the problem becomes clear, Auntie can't add up.

1,175,700 people applied for ESA in the period covered by the stats.

According to Auntie, 887,300 people (75.5%) had their claims rejected or were forced into withdrawing their claims --which doesn't mean they aren't disabled, flaws in the WCA are, after all, the supposed point of the article. Going to the original DWP source data shows that these split roughly 50:50 (39% 'fit for work': 36% 'withdrew claim').

Which leaves 288,400 people (24.5%) who passed the WCA, four times as many as Auntie's '6%'.

73,500 people (6.25%) passed the WCA and were placed in the Support Group.

Leaving 214,900 people (18.25%) left over. Auntie only missed 200,000+ people from the stats....

Those 214,900 people break down into:

188,300 people (16%) who passed the WCA and were placed in WRAG.

26,700 people (2.25%) who have assessments still in progress and have neither passed nor failed the WCA.

But it's even worse. Those aren't the final figure, they are the statistics before appeal. And the statistics for appeal are that 36% of people found fit for work appeal, and 39% of those succeed.

When you allow for appeals, 235,800 people (20%) have been placed in the WRAG and 77,100 people (7%) have been placed in Support Group, with only 407,300 people (35%) assessed as fit for work.

Disregard the withdrawn claims - Auntie talks about claims being 'considered' and withdrawn ones clearly aren't - and those still in progress to allow us to look only at the assessments that are complete, and we find that the percentages rise to 'Fit For Work': 56.5%, Support Group : 10.5%, WRAG: 32.5%.

So rather than Auntie's 6%, 43% of people who take the WCA actually pass it, 7 times as many as Auntie would have us believe.

You might think that I am being picky, that a careful reading gives most of the figures, that I'm interpreting the data in a different fashion to Auntie, but that isn't the point. Most people don't read articles like this carefully, they don't have the background to know when the figures given by a trusted, supposedly neutral, source are just plain wrong. The impression this article is going to give to most people reading it is that only 6% of ESA applicants are genuinely disabled, and that 94% are faking it or trying it on. I can flag up the flaws in the article, but the damage it does to us is impossible to undo.


  1. Let's not forget that officials from the supposedly independent tribunals service are sitting down together with DWP decision makers and ATOS doctors reviewing cases due for appeal and striking out those (awarding them) they think would win. We don't have figures for this so we don't know how many successful appeals are avoided this way. This serves to further distort the figures, suggesting to me at least how desperate they are to hide what's going on from the public. Not surprising either if as I believe the whole idea is a criminal conspiracy designed specifically to plunder the public purse under the guise of introducing needed welfare reform.


  2. this is happening every where,
    lies are being spread and misinformation
    is coming from the government ,
    one lie, after another

  3. The BBC Have got to appease this government to keep the money rolling in unfortunately has you have proved their independent reporting and research is seriously flawed.