Apologies, someone emailed this news report and I don't know who to credit it to, but felt the information was worth sharing with you all.
It's not much, but at least a little "softening" from Esther McVey
Straightforward ESA mandatory reconsiderations expected to take ‘around 14 days’, says Esther McVey
Employment Minister also confirms that claim for JSA during reconsideration period will have no bearing on outcome
26 November, 2013
The DWP would expect a straightforward employment and support (ESA) mandatory reconsideration to take 'around 14 days', according to Employment Minister Esther McVey.
Responding to questions on mandatory reconsideration of ESA decisions in parliament yesterday, Ms McVey said -
'If no further information is needed and the case is straightforward, the mandatory reconsideration process for employment and support allowance could be completed relatively quickly. We would usually expect this to take around 14 days, but it could take longer. For example, if further information is needed, the law states that DWP have to give people one month to provide it and this may be extended further at the decision maker's discretion, so cases like this may take longer.'
In addition, in response to a question on whether a claim for jobseeker's allowance (JSA) during the mandatory reconsideration period would prejudice or influence its outcome, Ms McVey said -
'The DWP decision maker’s decision at the mandatory reconsideration stage for employment and support allowance is intended to be an independent step in the process, therefore, whether the claimant has claimed jobseeker's allowance or not in the intervening period, this will have no bearing on the mandatory reconsideration decision. Work Capability Assessment decisions are binding—a jobseeker's allowance decision maker cannot decide that a claimant is too ill to work if this contradicts the ESA decision maker's decision. However, the claimant must agree to the jobseeker's agreement/claimant commitment to be eligible.'
Ms McVey's written answers are available from Hansard.