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Problems with Goff Daft?

sabers4sabers4 Posts: 3Member Listener
I would like to know if anyone else has had problems with the DWP's ministerial correspondence team, especially the head, Mr Goff Daft.

I'm a 35 year old survivor of a terminal brain tumour. Was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 14, was diagnosed terminally ill at the age of 17, managed to survive that for reasons my brain surgeon can't explain, have had 18 brain operations, radiotherapy, suffer from short term memory problems, compromised co-ordination in the right hand side of my body, double vision, constant pain in my legs and a whole host of other problems.

But, I'm not dead and I should be.

So after more than a decade of living on benefits, I'm trying to get myself off benefits by doing something that I can maintain with my health problems. So I'm using my tainted imagination to draw on my emotional experiences to write fictional stories. So far I've finished one book (252 A4 pages) and am well on the way to finish the first of several sequels.

So I thought I'd try to be ambitious and ask the government for help by asking 3 questions:

1) Can you help me find a publisher for my books?

2) Can it be arranged for me to give a talk about my survival from a terminal brain tumour to ministers in the Houses of Parliament? (Something that I've been very successful at doing in schools.)

3) Can I have a meeting with Iain Duncan Smith to not only explain the problems I've had with the system and how it could be improved.

My original letters went to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister back in 2010 so, as unreasonable as it is, I personally feel they're implicated in what I'm about to tell you.

My letters were forwarded to the DWP where they didn't answer any of my questions and merely told me that the new Universal Credit was coming and would be a better deal for all.

As they didn't reply to any of my questions, I sent an email to the person who wrote to me, asking the questions again. After a week, I didn't have a reply so I sent a reminder. After another week, I still didn't have a reply so I sent yet another reminder to which they said, "Your correspondence is being dealt with and a response will be sent accordingly.

The following day, I got a reply saying that they were sorry to hear I was unwell but I Iain Duncan Smith was unable to accept my invitation for a meeting and then repeated to me about the Universal Credit and how it was a fairer option for all. So again, failed to answer all my questions.

2 years later, I was aggravated after discovering that some ministers had been getting more in grocery allowance than I was getting in income support and BBC reports about hate crime towards the disabled, I finally lost my temper and tried to get the DWP to apologise for ignoring my requests for help so I started the official complaints process. I wrote to Iain Duncan Smith explaining the situation and asking " I am writing to get your opinion before I file my complaint" and it was then I got a reply from Mr Goff Daft who, even though he had seen the replies, he didn't see that there was a problem but did finally say they wouldn't help me find a publisher for my books.

My mother taught me that it was rude to ignore someone when they're talking to you and high school taught me that at the heart of every civilized society is basic manners. Both issues, the DWP had failed at.

so I found the DWP's replies to be insulting and utterly counter productive. It is also my belief that, as Mr Daft was unable to see there was a problem then everyone underneath him shouldn't be expected to act any different.

So I changed my tone and started asking for damages and a guarantee that the DWP answers any request for help and asked the Parliamentary Ombudsman for advice, they said I had to write to the Chief Operating Officer (and they supplied a name and address) which I did but never got a response so I went to the next stage and contacted the Independent Case Examiner who in turn put me in touch with the Thames Valley Complaint Resolution Team who finally apologised for the DWP's failure to answer my questions but didn't offer a reimbursement for the cost of my letters nor a guarantee that the DWP wouldn't do it again so I carried on.

I then got a letter from the Ministerial Correspondence Team Manager who opened with a full unreserved apology and highlighted stage by stage the multiple failures that the DWP made in not replying to my request for help, not even to say "I'm sorry, we can't help with this matter." He was unable to offer any reimbursement of my costs and couldn't give a guarantee that the DWP wouldn't do this again but the apology was the end of that stage in the complaint.

Unfortunately, because of the stress and fatigue this long winded process was putting me under, I contracted shingles along the C6 nerve line (down the left arm and up the thumb) which forced me back to hospital for an emergency CT scan because of the threat of a brain infection. All was well, however and the medication worked after a week of intense dosage.

So now I've continued onto the Independent Case Examiner with my evidence (the next and final stage will be the parliamentary ombudsman) with 3 demands.

That Mr Daft be demoted to a junior level as he sets a bad example to the rest of his team but the 2 people who did apologise replace him.

That I get a reimbursement of my costs and damages for the shingles I've had to endure.

That I get a guarantee that no-one, disabled or not, has to go through this process again and that any one who writes to the DWP gets a reply, even if it's to say they can't help.

I have full names and addresses (both street and email) of all those involved but have deliberately left them out of this blog as I believe the root cause of this example of poor customer service lies at the top of the ladder.

How anyone, let alone someone who's disabled, is expected to go through a complaints system that seems to only serve itself, is beyond me and it's done my health no good,both mentally and physically.

People have told me what I'm doing is pointless, that I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill, that nothing will change.

However, I know disabled people who are too sick to fight back so I feel lucky that I can and regardless to what it'll do to me, it can't be worse than being diagnosed terminally ill (which I managed to survive) so I will be fighting on.

When the Job Centre Plus asks for information from me, I have 28 days to reply or my benefits get cut off. I once came off benefits after trying to go back to work but got sick and then had to wait 6 months before I could get back on to benefits because of "Administrative Constraints."

I've survived 18 brain operations and death, I'll survive this.

I will become an author and I will get off benefits.

However, I'm not leaving behind millions of disabled people who are being treated badly by the DWP.

Replies

  • sabers4sabers4 Posts: 3Member Listener
    I should have mentioned that while all of this was happening, people were being paid to act in this manner and I'm going to make it stop.
  • sabers4sabers4 Posts: 3Member Listener
    This is interesting.

    My complaint has gone through most of the process (after a year) and got to the Independent Case Examiner who judged that the DWP had apologized for their mistakes and that I should get a refund of 15 pounds for my postage.

    I also noticed that the Independent Case Examiner's wages are paid by the DWP so not as "Independent" as I thought!

    So I've told them I don't accept their judgement and want to move on to the Parliamentary Ombudsman and have asked a national newspaper to look at my case.

    Independent Case Examiner is now reviewing my complaint and will write back before the 2nd December.

    Something smells fishy to say the least.
  • bouncer1966bouncer1966 Posts: 3Member
    I've also complained to david cameron, as well as going through the Independent Complaints Examiner which made no difference whatsoever.

    I have told my local labour MP as well, that made no difference whatsoever either, in fact since 2011 its become impossible to find even contract work without attending multiple interviews, even then to get turned down for no reason whatsoever.

    All you get from the DWP and the PMs office are generic letters, either saying how extremely busy they are, but they will answer, then doing everything apart from answering the questions asked in my letter to them.
    Incredibly frustrating.
    I've come off of JSA as it was a constant battle with them wanting to sanction me, whilst double booking me for training courses they knew nothing about with seetec, whilst booking me in for careers advice on the same day!
    When I queried it, they said i could attend in my lunch hour - not telling me when that would be either.

    They seemed most surprised when I didn't bother to attend my signing on day - it was making me ill with worry as to what they where going to do next to me.
    Three months later they apologised and once again wanted me to go back to the hellhole that is jobcentreplus. I refused.

    Then in 2012 in the worst great recession in living memory, they closed down the jobcentreplus - and that clinched it.
    What a nightmare they are.
    Since then I have been living off of my savings, along with according to the office of national statistics, 9 million others who are not in the labour force.

    The way the coalition, and then the conservatives run this country is beyond belief, yet amazingly it gets worse, whilst they all say it is getting better!
  • foreverunemployedforeverunemployed Posts: 2Member Listener
    I had endless trouble with Goff Daft, mostly i was incredulous that they would employ someone with that surname to be frank.
    I also ended going through the ICE process, but as i did not reply to a letter within their agreed timescale, due to depression, they did not pursue the case further, irritatingly.

  • jamie1965jamie1965 Posts: 85Member Courageous
    Maybe you all could contact bbc or some other major tv station to see if they could take this up they might be able to get some answers as the only time I ever see anything moving the government is when they have been outed 
  • foreverunemployedforeverunemployed Posts: 2Member Listener
    already been to the bbc and itv multiple times, channel 4 & 5 ignore...they acknowledge but that is as far as it goes...
  • jamie1965jamie1965 Posts: 85Member Courageous
    It feels like the life of a disabled person is a by line unless they have no news for that day 
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