DWP admits responsibility for benefit-related deaths with a single, small word

160514 Atos_parliament_protestPerhaps they thought nobody would notice but, when the potential impact is this huge, they thought wrong.

For the DWP to admit any responsibility, no matter how small, opens up the opportunity for bereaved families to seek reparations from the government department – and from the ministers who enacted the measures that helped take their loved ones’ lives.

Link this with the fact that ministers refused to enact changes to the Work Capability Assessment, despite having been advised to do so by civil servant ‘peer reviews’ into some of the deaths, and the situation is looking very black for people like Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling.

Isn’t there already a legal action taking place against them, in Scotland?

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has finally admitted that it could be partly responsible for the deaths of some benefit claimants.

The admission came – quietly – after its release of heavily-redacted versions of 49 secret “peer reviews” into benefit-related deaths, following the loss of a 21-month battle with Disability News Service (DNS) to keep them secret.

Since DNS first revealed the existence of the 49 reviews, DWP has repeatedly insisted that it was “wrong” and “misleading” to link the deaths of disabled people to their benefit claims.

But now, following the publication of the 49 reviews, its position has changed.

In response to a story in The Guardian about the publication of the peer reviews – co-authored by DNS editor John Pring – a DWP spokesperson said: “Any suicide is a tragedy and the reasons for them are complex, however it would be inaccurate and misleading to link it solely to a person’s benefit claim.”

The use of the word “solely” means that ministers have now accepted that the actions of their department can be partly responsible for benefit claimants taking their own lives, and for other benefit-related deaths.

Source: How a single word shows DWP has finally owned up on benefit deaths

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16 thoughts on “DWP admits responsibility for benefit-related deaths with a single, small word

  1. Justin Greenwood

    with any luck now those responsible will solely spend some time in HM Prisons where perhaps they could help in David Camerons Wednesday Queens speech on prisons and court reform by using there ministerial skills at her majesty pleasure and anyone else involved in this process from decison maker right through to wca assessor, the whole issue needs looking at and where ther is wrongdoing mandatory reporting to the professional body to see if there is a case for fitness to assess or in the event of a event worsening a person’s condition uder sova regulations a criminal case especially if their is doubt about the qualification to assess.

  2. Brian

    Should have, would have, could of. It’s the unjustified withholding of the redaction’s that will tell the story. When it comes to the crunch, who, in the DWP will be held responsible for the destruction of the original documents and be tried for perverting justice?

    1. John

      Although I understand (thanks to leaks from the dept), there is a certain amount of email evidence of sanctions targets, I wonder just how much electronic and paper evidence has already been destroyed. I guess we’ll never know. As far as email and computer-based evidence goes, there is a possible chance (call it slim if you like) that a lot of that might still be there, and I hope that the police get to forensically examine any IT systems that they can. What I am waiting for however, is for a potential blame game to start. If IDS is brought in for questioning, I am guessing he’ll either just deny everything, or immediately start passing the blame, either onto Gideon or Cameron, as well as, of course, lower level staff.

  3. Dez

    Its like a mini Hillsborough all over again……they know the truth but it has to dragged out of them unbearably slowly. They are civil servants dictated to by thick and lying Tory politicians who think more of their political image than the poor unfortunates they have terminated with their slimey money grabbing policies. Knowing the impact of their actions they could have come clean after the first death and stopped all the following deaths…..it was not difficult to put two and two together on this one even with tame coroners lifting the carpet for their deadly sweepings. I am sure there must be many at the DWP who would have raised the consequences of their Cons leaders actions. I cannot believe no one in this Government department would not have escalated this adverse situation even if were for the sake of their own departments public reputation ……they are civil servants after all. If no one had raised these deaths to their leaders shame on them all for morphing into Conservative Government servants…….or worse….Government terminators. Justice,justice,justice for the weak and vulnerable.

  4. jeffrey davies

    sorry is not enough far far too many have died 49 my arse the figures run into thousands and thousand and for this abuse hounding those to death needs heads to roll jeff3

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Let’s step back and remember that the 49 relates only to those peer-reviewed deaths. Nobody is saying that only 49 people have died after being subjected to a work capability assessment.

    2. Justin

      sorry is definetly not good enough, there should be criminal investigations, from assessor to decision makers and if there were solicitors behind the decisions the should be reported to the bar council for ethics so they can be struck of from practice, the whole lot needs reviewing, payment by result should be stopped or if as crabb has stated they are going to keep the pbr system in place this should also have penalties by false reports or incorrect reports, big penalties not a wimpy little fine and a smack on the wrist, the penaties should be payment to NHS for any treatment involved for deteroration of a victim, payment for long term, aftercare treatment, private in both cases if necessary, payment for legal costs for all parties involved, mandatory reporting to the proffesional body responsible for the wca assessor( ie BMC, GMC. NMC, ETC) immediate suspension on suspicion of bad practice pending investigation, this investigation should include pulling all records and assessing for wrongdoing, outside spot check independant assessment by a professional/service user team with lived expereince, a three strikes and out conduct policy, if a warning is ignored and same practice happens again bigger fines, a 2 warning policy, third time and the contract is suspended, regular reviews of staff carried out quarterly looking for the wca that are taking shortcuts

      what really needs ot be done is to make it a criminal offence and to make it known you do it you are going to prison, not the long drawn out procedure of complaint, then report to regulating body, straight criminal offence, explained to them in there training and warning them of the sentence, minimum 5 years and responsibility all round

  5. Phillip Evans

    A sad truth is that nobody cares. This is an issue that has been blighting the lives of vulnerable tax players (and others) for years but even those wishing to score points from the government haven’t bothered to pursue it. Each week there sis another case somewhere in the country (being reported, I assume many don’t) but coverage never goes beyond the local media and even that is cursory at best. Meanwhile disability has been reframed as unemployment and benefits which are in effect a financial agreement we made with our government for if ever we are in need are also casually retargetted for “those in most need.” No one challenges the redefining or pushes for a clear definition of need. No one who matters any way. Our mainstream media have bought into this reframing of disability and the direct result is a skyrocketing on disability hate crimes up to and including murder, but nobody cares.

    We have the government we deserve, because nobody cares.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I have been covering this issue for more than four years, since This Blog was set up, and I can assure you that a great many people care.

  6. stevecheneysindieopinions4u

    I think “solely” implies more than partial responsibility. I think it implies that they’re aware that they bear the *bulk* of the responsibility.

  7. marjory Maxwell

    The government was so heavily in debt because of past wars that really had nothing to do with us,from Thatcher to Blair,and now Syria,so how do they replace that money,easy kill off the sick and elderly,make the lower working class work for peanuts,make the ill and disabled work or stop their benefits,raise the retirement age for women and pretend we were all notified about it,kill off the most SERIOUSLY disabled,that’s how it’s done.

  8. Robert Cullen

    Dont forget that Blair introduced this cruelty in 2007,i was a victim.They left me with no money for 8 years,my wife had to make herself poorly in a job she hated to keep our heads above water.
    Many was the time i thought of suicide but i was kept going by the thoughts of justice being done i.e.Bliar,Camoron and co. going to jail or even better the death penalty(which was abolished by Bliar)for treason reintroduced.Teach these greedy bastards a lesson so they wont repeat their murderous regimes ever again.
    They cant spend their ill gotten gains when they are dead.

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