Scandalous: DWP and assessors fail to refer claimants at risk of harm to social services

This must be the end of any claim by the Department for Work and Pensions that its safeguarding procedures are adequate in any way at all:

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and its private sector contractors have been failing for years to alert local authorities to concerns about benefit claimants whose safety was at risk, “shocking” new research has shown.

Years of previous research have shown how government social security reforms have often caused serious harm to disabled people claiming benefits, or even led to their deaths.

But only 25 of 80 council social services departments across England, Scotland and Wales said they had received a single safeguarding alert from DWP over the last three years, freedom of information (FoI) responses have shown.

The record of DWP’s three private sector outsourcing companies was even worse, with Maximus – which carries out work capability assessments (WCAs) on behalf of the department – failing to make a single safeguarding referral to any of the 80 social services departments.

Atos and Capita – which both assess claimants for person independence payment (PIP) – made just two referrals each over three years.

The DWP’s comment on this is nothing but pathetic, mealy-mouthed balderdash:

A DWP spokesperson admitted that the department kept no central record of how many safeguarding referrals were made, because they were “made locally by staff on a case by case basis”.

He said the department did not know how or if each council recorded its data and therefore the FoI responses could not be an accurate portrayal of when referrals were made.

He said: “We have clear guidance on making referrals to local authorities for all DWP staff dealing with claimants, to ensure vulnerable claimants get the support they need, however we cannot control how or if local authorities record these.

“It would not be accurate therefore to compare responses from councils on the number of recorded referrals, to those actually made by the department.”

So the DWP doesn’t keep records of safeguarding referrals, and cannot control how or if local councils record them – meaning it is impossible to tell whether those council records are accurate or not?

That is not an answer.

It is proof of incompetence – at the very least.

Source: DWP and assessors fail to refer claimants at risk of harm to social services, research finds

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5 thoughts on “Scandalous: DWP and assessors fail to refer claimants at risk of harm to social services

  1. Stu

    Like I’ve always said Outsourcing services equates to outsourcing responsibility.

  2. Jeffrey Davies

    Yet another response same old same old aktion t4 rolling along without much of a ado

  3. Dan

    It’s about time Labour made public a plan to abolish and replace the DWP. It is unfit for purpose, rotten to the core and needs to go before it does any more harm.

  4. Paul

    I want to make vox political my home page.
    I click on ‘you can even make vox-political your home page and it sends me back to where I started.

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