Why the delay, DWP? The ONS has templates on calculating death rates


Not strictly true: Many of the deceased had already completed appeals at the time of their death. We don’t know how many, though, because we don’t know how many of them lost. Even after giving up and releasing some figures, the DWP has been extremely vague with them.

Did you know that the Department for Work and Pensions spent two years delaying the publication of death figures for incapacity benefit claimants when they could have been completed in a week?

The Office for National Statistics provides information on how to calculate Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, including information on the size of the general population and the death rates for particular age ranges within it. You can download the templates yourself from this site.

This means that the Department for Work and Pensions could have used its own figures to complete this work within a single day – and could have had it verified within a week at the most.

Yet ministers chose to dawdle for more than a year – more than two years if you don’t believe the excuse that their 2013 claim to be publishing the figures in the future was a mistake.


Does it come down to the fact that 2,890 people died in December 2012, while claiming Employment and Support Allowance – a tripling of the average death rate for the previous 11 months?

Did ministers want to hide the fact that the policies of Iain Duncan Smith were causing more and more people to die while claiming the payments that should have helped them to live? And was this not happening when they should have been using the figures to prevent such deaths?

Does the law not state – explicitly – that anyone, in a corporate body such as the DWP, whose negligence causes the deaths of others, should face prosecution for corporate manslaughter?

When will we see justice done?

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25 thoughts on “Why the delay, DWP? The ONS has templates on calculating death rates

  1. gfranklinpercival

    Corporate manslaughter certainly, also charges of misconduct in public office for all involved. Guilt carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

  2. amnesiaclinic

    This is where we need people with specialist knowledge to help formulate a class action and bring this forward. With every single charge possible.

    Does the Mirror have these sort of resources because they’ve been the only really clear voice in support of you and Maggie. Now Gill has joined you in the new petition but it is action we need to stop what is happening right now.

    They just laugh at the UN like the US and Israel.

    How much of a duty of care do ministers and governments have ? Unfortunately they are pressing hard to get rid of Human Rights. I wonder why?

    1. Brian

      You’re quite right, failure of “Individual Liability” under the Corporate Liability Act would leave only the channel of ‘Crimes Against Humanity’ open for politicians prosecution, ie,

      “Public authorities are defined by reference to the Human Rights Act 1998 and include core public bodies such as Government departments”.

      This as you query, is perhaps one of the reasons the government is so keen to destroy the fabric of this HRA act, certainly not in the interests of the public, they are elected to serve. This would leave the politicians only accountable to answering to parliament, or at worst, Public Enquiry.

  3. leonc1963

    Corporate manslaughter for DWP certainly but can #IDS be charged with same offence? I think not as Government is not a Corporate entity so perhaps Crimes against Humanity will stick for him but open to clarity on this.

      1. Brian

        Corporate Liability. CMCHA 2007

        The Government has Exemption from the act,

        “Section 3(2) grants an exemption in respect of intrinsically public functions”, add, “exclusively public functions”, “Crown or other public bodies”, ie, DWP, ATOS, et al.


        “This does not affect questions of individual liability, and prosecutions for gross negligence manslaughter and other offences will remain possible against individuals performing these functions who are themselves culpable”.


        of “gross negligence manslaughter”, an act/tivity ” was a more than minimal contribution to the death”

        Gross Breach,
        “Either that there was a serious and obvious risk of death from the specific act being undertaken” and/or there was a “foreseeability” add, “serious and obvious, risk of death ”

        add, Prior knowledge, where the risk, and hence liability, should have or was known off, but the activity continued.

        Perhaps, someone may take the time to write to IDS, cc Attorney General, and point this out, in the course of highlighting the death figures, so as ignorance of the fact can not be claimed.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Okay. I think the intention was always to prosecute individual ministers and I got sidetracked.
        The idea of writing to Iain Duncan Smith cc Attorney General is a good one and will, at the very least, keep him on the back foot.

    1. Tommaz Jay

      It is well established in English law that a person who has intentionally and without good reason caused another emotional distress will be liable for any psychiatric injury that follows. An example of this is a bad practical joke played on someone which triggered serious depression in that person. The joker intended to cause the other person emotional distress and will be liable for the medical consequences.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        It would be hard to prove, I think! Someone would have to go through every suicide of a person after a WCA, and check what happened in the WCA for the relevant questions, which are whether the claimant had considered killing themselves and, if yes, why they had not succeeded.
        And we know that records of claims have been falsified.

  4. Michael Broadhurst

    they should be brought to justice ASAP,Dr Death and his Tory posh boys have got away with this for far too long.how about a petition on this ?
    Also how about MPs been sanctioned when they’re not in Parliament ?

  5. darryl davies

    please persevere with your campaign.the evidence you are steadfastly gathering is compelling and you will, I am certain, succeed in calling the guilty to account for themselves.

  6. Tony Dean

    The problem is that 2650 is only those who died within a few weeks of a fit for work decision. There is still NO sign at all of the data for those who appealed a fit for work decision and died before a tribunal date. As we are all aware that length of time is a up to a year or more. So that 2650 is only the tip of the iceberg.
    Also no data has been released for the deaths of those “parked” on mandatory reconsideration. (Where 200000 of them have gone is still a mystery.)
    Then there has been no data released for those on ESA WRAG who have died/committed suicide after being sanctioned.

  7. Joy Morby

    What sickens me even more though is the fact that his constituents gave ids another 5 years.what does that say of these people?

  8. sasson1

    The death rates should include those who were claiming JSA or other benefits, that died either due to suicide or physical decline due to sanctioning.

    I say this because somewhere I read that they were comparing deaths between JSA claimants and ESA. The result would clearly be skewed since I would think that the suicide rate/death rate would be much higher in the JSA section than in the general population.

    Nevertheless, the figures already released are bad enough. If the same number of people had been killed in the UK due to a terrorist, there would be a national outcry. Yet once the weekend was out of the way, it’s hardly been mentioned in the MSM.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I don’t think you’d see many suicides or deaths in the JSA population – it would be among people who had been thrown off-benefit, I’d have thought.

      1. Tony Dean

        Mike the suicide rate for those on JSA is higher than that for the general population. DWP ministers have been stating that for a long time. (What they don’t do is give any data for it.)
        I do know the DWP commissioned some research on it, but it appears never to have been published.

  9. mrmarcpc

    The true figures will never be published unless public pressure and people in a position of power forces them to, the suicide rates must be unbearable to read, how many have actually died because of what they’ve done is just unbelievable, how the hell they are getting away with this just boggles the mind and sickens the stomach!

Comments are closed.