Finally, a response regarding the Remploy problems. My MP referred the matter to Anne McGuire, the erstwhile Minister for Disabled People. The response consists of a letter from Anne McGuire to my MP regarding the matter (dated approximately two weeks before she was replaced by Jonathan Shaw), and a covering letter from my MP, as it went via his office.
As you'll see from that article, whilst in office Ms McGuire was all about welfare-to-work. And my MP is James Plaskitt, the Benefit Fraud Minister. Surely if anyone should be up in arms about a company like Remploy skewing the stats for disabled people entering employment, it's these two.
Oh dear. While I like having faith in humanity, and believe that people as individuals are generally good, fair, and basically nice, I really must stop being so naive as to extend this to politicians.
According to my MP, "It appears that there has been a genuine and unfortunate error in the handling of your case, for which Remploy and the Government offer their sincere apologies."
Not fifty quid, then. Nor any thanks for my honesty in not taking the money and running, or for alerting them to the problems. And I wonder, Mr Plaskitt, if you uncovered a Benefit Fraudster on the claimant side rather than the government side, would you let them off with "apologies"?
No. Even if a benefit claimant made a "genuine and unfortunate error", they'd be hounded through the courts and at the very least, be required to pay back the funds which they had received on the basis of the erroneous information.
The letter from Ms McGuire was a little more illuminating. Sort of. I'm not going to reproduce any of it here as it's full of management gibberish and unashamed weasel-speak, but ten years as a fan of Dilbert has enabled me to boil it down and so I present the basic content in English.
1. Contacting me: Oops.
2. Only sending the signature pages: Oops.
3. Wrong dates: Oops.
4. Telephone call: Oops.
It seems Remploy contacted a whole list of clients to try and get them onto the Workstep programme. The list contained the details of 16 people, myself included, who should not have been on the list. No one noticed until I spoke up. The other 15 are being 'reviewed'.
For each point there's a lot of meaningless flannel about "ongoing continuous improvement programme" and references to undefined "additional measures" which will be put in place. Oops is about the size of it, though.
As for the '£50 for returning some forms' business: apparently £50 is considered a perfectly reasonable "incentive" for people to return information. Neither Remploy, nor the DWP, nor the wider government see anything dodgy about that at all. My apologies to Wat Tyler and Dr Crippen.