James had anticipated this problem and cunningly included the following in his request:
Ideally, I would like these figures for everywhere where any form of the Claimant Commitment is in use. If that would exceed the monetary limit, please restrict your search to half the relevant job centres and if necessary, a quarter, etc.This approach of limiting the scope of a request often succeeds but on this occasion DWP still claimed it was too much work so James asked for a "review" commenting:
I doubt you applied this procedure and concluded that statistics for even one job centre would cost more than £600.In reply, DWP still refused and deployed an interesting further excuse
b) any statistics that DWP provide have to be verified against a set of strict quantitative parameters which as you will appreciate would not be cost effective in this caseThe part I've made bold is particularly interesting. As I've discussed before, DWP has attracted some criticism from the UK Statistics Authority,This may be behind their new-found enthusiasm for being seen to get their statistics right.
2) DWP did apply the correct procedures in determining that the cost would exceed the £600 limit and this is true even on an office by office basis.
I may be cynical but it's also a very handy way of not publishing statistics that could be embarrassing.