Criminal justice agencies reject call to investigate ex-ministers’ involvement in DWP deaths

There’s a lot of verbiage below – and more in the original article – but it boils down to a few brief findings:

Police Scotland has refused to investigate Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling in relation to the deaths of Paul Donnachie and David Barr – without providing any explanation.

Police Scotland, having said it would investigate with regard to Ms DE – if her identity was revealed, has refused to say whether it asked the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (the organisation responsible for keeping her identity secret) for her details in order to launch such an investigation.

It looks like a big stitch-up to protect the former DWP ministers, doesn’t it?

Experience suggests that, if there were good reasons not to investigate, those would be at the top of a press release by the police, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (COPF) and the MWCS.

But there hasn’t been a press release. There haven’t been any reasons to announce.

Without any stated reasons for their decisions, what conclusion may the public reach?

There can only be one: That the allegations have weight, but the organisations involved are deliberately failing to do their duty in order to protect the former DWP ministers.

Or have I missed something?

Feel free to contact This Blog, if you can see an explanation for this result that actually makes sense.

Scottish criminal justice agencies have rejected pleas to investigate the failure of two ministers to improve the safety of the government’s “fitness for work” test, despite evidence that their actions caused the deaths of at least three benefit claimants.

Police Scotland was asked in March to investigate allegations of “wilful neglect of duty” by former Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) ministers Iain Duncan Smith and Chris Grayling.

A dossier containing details of the deaths of three benefit claimants with experience of mental distress was passed to Police Scotland by the Scottish grassroots campaign network Black Triangle.

The three claimants – Paul Donnachie, David Barr, and a woman known only as Ms D E – took their own lives in 2015, 2013 and 2011 as a result of grave flaws in the work capability assessment (WCA).

These flaws mirrored those uncovered by a coroner in January 2010, following the suicide of Stephen Carré, and passed to DWP in a prevention of future deaths report just a few weeks before Duncan Smith (pictured at this year’s Tory conference) and Grayling took up their new posts following the May 2010 general election.

But nine months after Black Triangle passed the dossier to Police Scotland, the force appears to have done little to investigate the allegations, other than consulting with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal (COPF), the Scottish equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service.

This week, Edinburgh police confirmed that it would be taking no further action on the David Barr case, while COPF said that it had also decided that no further action should be taken on the Paul Donnachie case.

Police Scotland said that COPF had already decided that there was no link between DWP’s decision to find David Barr fit for work – following a 35-minute assessment by a physiotherapist – and his decision to take his own life a month after being told by DWP he was not eligible for employment and support allowance (ESA).

Police Scotland has previously said it would only look at the Ms D E case if Black Triangle or Disability News Service were able to pass on her personal details.

But those details have never been made public, as her death was the subject of a report by the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (MWCS), which treated her case anonymously and concluded that she killed herself after being told she was not eligible for ESA.

The report linked her death to DWP’s failure to obtain medical evidence about her mental health from the professionals who had treated her, just as the coroner had done in the case of Stephen Carré.

This week, MWCS declined to comment when asked if Police Scotland had requested Ms D E’s details, stating that it was “for Police Scotland to respond to your request related to any investigation”.

Police Scotland and COPF had both refused by 11am today (Thursday) to say whether they had attempted to contact MWCS since receiving the Black Triangle dossier in March.

Source: Criminal justice agencies reject call to investigate Duncan Smith’s WCA failings

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.

The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:


14 thoughts on “Criminal justice agencies reject call to investigate ex-ministers’ involvement in DWP deaths

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I asked John McArdle. He said he had put in a query with Black Triangle’s ISP but no response so far. That was yesterday. I will ask for an update.

  1. Jeffrey Davies

    untill the real figures do come out then these greedie gutless mps are and will use their get out of jail cards dont be silly they even put us to shame by their methods of portraying benefits peoples has fraudulent people trash you name it while they claim everything under the sun bog paper to curtains and houses these people are the real scroungers but untill peoples mind set change then it be a uphill battle to get these demons to court but the true figures of death and abuse well they into their 250 thou i wonder will they be alive when the truths comes out jeff3

  2. Justin Greenwood

    They should give a reason, the fact they does not suggests something, more likely politicians getting involved, would that be a surprise, as a complaint has been lodged the police/cps have a duty to state why they are not investigating further, ie lack of evidence etc, more likely is that this won’t be done because it shows a big hole in the bullying tactics of the dwp and there hitler type approach of assessment carried out by underqualified assessors and inadequately useless companies, everyone who has a bad assessment should complain and if the three companies say mistakes were made take it all the way through there complaints procedure without giving a hint of what’s to come and then report the wca assessor of to there appropriate professional body backed up with the/she extra evidence form them stating he did not do his job properly, they have public liability insurance, so do the companies, that goes up vs claims against and to be honest the only language all of them understand including the dwp is the language of money.

    this is a awful decision and it smat’s of government interference though they be denying it, probably explains why ids and co are styill cocky and arrogant, now he be so full of himself we probably see him back as the new freud, what a sad day

  3. Justin

    if this is the case then perhap’s it needs to be a case of looking into the conduct of the medical assessor’s, who the big three companies will tell you if you wish further information about them, you have to contact the dwp, which to my mind makes them dwp employees, they should all have complaints and hopefully they have been referred top there own professional bodies for fitness to practice, the same treatment then should be dished out to the decision maker’s involved, by complicity then that would strengthen a case even stronger if rulings against companies and people employed by the dwp are taken down a discipline-procedural route for misconduct, what this really means is that it gives the green light for any minister to do anything he likes without recourse and if that is the case then perhaps the crown prosecution service needs to be reviewed as well as how cases are handled, needless to say no doubt may and cronies are all probably enjoying this, lets hope there still smiling when may local elections come and people see sense and vote this horrid lot out

    1. JohnDee

      Justin et Al – I’d really like to read your post but I’m finding it very difficult so please take two minutes to learn to 1. Use one name 2. The difference between ‘there’ and ‘their’ 3. Use punctuation, sentences and paragraphs. Thank you.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        While I sympathise with your frustration, I allow such comments through because they may make valid points, and because I simply don’t have time to correct them.

      2. Justin

        i very rarely reply to comments this, however, i have taken a exception.
        1. i type as i think, 2. my advice which is given elsewhere is normally useful to someone, you could always copy and paste to a spell checker in word and read at your leisure, 3. when I comments like this. I get annoyed and think is it worth it, I do not have any complaints from any of the people i have helped and trust me i have given a lot of my own time to doing this, maybe i might have to rethink this. if you think your good enough do better rather than criticise!

  4. Adrian D.

    It’s really not surprising that the Scotish legal system will bend over backwards to protect the Government and the powerful.

    Check out the blog from Gordon Dangerfield (Tommy Sheridan’s lawyer) who provides pretty compelling evidence that they deliberately sabotaged their own charge of Andy Carlson to protect both him and to obscure police complicity in Sheridan’s prosecution:

  5. Christine Bergin

    Really wouldnt expect any thing else. I have observed the police in general becoming more politicised every year since Thatcher. Dont know what happened to their oath to protect the Queens peace and protect her subjects. Think it may have gone with the fairies as bullying the Queens subjects (except those with money or influence) seems to be the order of the day.

  6. casalealex
    Our role in investigating deaths
    Information watchdog to probe DWP’s secret reviews on benefit deaths
    How To Get Away With Murder: DWP Hides The Evidence In Suicide Reviews

Comments are closed.