DWP hires opinion poll firm to survey benefit claimants who challenge decisions. Why?

Our friends at Benefits and Work pose an interesting question: why has the DWP hired an opinion poll company – Ipsos Mori – to quiz PIP mandatory reconsideration claimants?

The rogue government department has been caught out recently, after a Freedom of Information request revealed that assessors from private contractors Atos and Capita have falsified around 7,300 benefit claims in order to deprive vulnerable people of money that is due to them.

Appeals against PIP decisions currently enjoy a success rate of more than 70 per cent, which tends to support the facts revealed by the FoI response.

Now, in a letter to dissenting claimants, the DWP has written that it has asked Ipsos MORI “to help them understand the experience of people who have disagreed with a decision that has been made regarding their benefit claim and to help the Department improve the services they offer”.

Benefits and Work has adopted an attitude of suspicion, with the website requesting information on the questions being asked, from anybody who agrees to answer them.

But why has the DWP hired Ipsos Mori to do this work?

Well, it has been said that opinion pollsters are never really hired to reflect the opinions of the public – but to shape them.

How do they do that?

In the choice of the questions they ask.

For example: asked if a benefit assessor was polite during the interview, even a disgruntled claimant might have to say that they were.

But how can the same claimant point out that their assessment had been doctored to provide false information, if they are not asked a question about it?

They can’t.

And if Ipsos Mori asks only the questions the DWP requires, then the government department will be able to claim that there is nothing wrong with its assessment system, with nobody able to claim that it is not depending on honest answers.

So Benefits and Work is right to advise caution, and to be keen to see the questions being asked.

This Writer would take a simpler view. I would tell anybody who is contacted to respond to the survey: don’t.

Source: Why has DWP hired Ipsos MORI to quiz PIP mandatory reconsideration claimants?

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8 thoughts on “DWP hires opinion poll firm to survey benefit claimants who challenge decisions. Why?

  1. Christopher Gallagher

    So much of this and similar processes is a sham. It is deliberate. There is a pattern across many departments of government.
    Statistics gathering is in other cases often avoided when, like the benefits appeals process those others finally end in a hearing.
    For example NHS Continuing Health Care assessments, the great grandmother of the current benefit assessment process has no such access to courts or even a legitimate timescale for so called independent review. Appeals have taken me over three years to conclude, for example…
    The expectation is that many will just give up… There are no statistics for that aspect of the various assessment schemes.
    Another more recent beauty is the challenge and subsequent appeals process within the Transport for London Ultra Low Emission Zone.
    First they fail to recognise facts of exemption (and other legitimate claims), then fail to answer all questions that might show an exemption existed… Then within days of the court tribunal… The court itself refuses to address the case because TfL has bailed out. Thereby avoiding a similar debacle to the DWP having avoided the recording of the numerous people that they have fined, ignored, ignored again and then refunded.
    These folk are clever… It might not seem so. Time is on their side. It will not be long before, if not already, that they dump appeals that they know they will lose on the steps of the venue.
    What is disgusting is an actual case of a mate, taking 18 months for a one legged man with the other failing. Pin point eyesight in one eye. None in the other. Lifelong type 1 diabetes in a 65 year old. With colitis. And a brain injury after an accident.
    DLA was reassessed as PIP and he scored no points at all.
    18 months wait for a 1 minute hearing (mainly admonishment of the DWP) and instatement and backdating of his claim at the maximum rates.
    It is all designed to make us give up and go away.

  2. Stu

    Anyone who has had dealings with the DWP quickly become aware of the vindictive and petty nature of the Civil Service and subsequently give positive feedback regardless of their treatment for fear of retribution.

    So you are absolutely right on the whole pointlessness of this PR exercise.

  3. Jeffrey Davies

    Sieg heil only following orders but self esteem hmm dwp nah they are the new party of those in power aktion T4 rolling along with out much of a ado smile please for the animation squards

  4. MR C ELMORE

    I applied for pip and I got 0 points endn though I have got paranoid schizophrenia anxiety depression agoraphobia which cause me a lot of problems but they decided to give me 0 points

  5. Paul Jenns

    They record the interviews or atleast that’s what they told me when I was interviewed but when I repeatedly have asked for a copy they still haven’t sent me a copy. They know what they have done and don’t want to get caught out.

  6. Alan GLYNN

    I was turned down for pip earlier this year put in regarding a mandatory reconsideration they turned down that aswell but in the report they contradicted themselves on numerous occasions even with a report off my consultant

  7. The Toffee (597)

    Third party interlopers. The DWP have NO business passing your details onto a private corporation. DO NOT be coerced into believing you MUST answer ipsos mori if they – or the DWP – start playing hardball. Stand firm.

    Remember, that you – The claimant – have NO CONTRACT with ipsos mori and are NOT LAWFULLY OBLIGED to provide them with information that they will make financial gain from.

    Alternatively, you could always name your (reasonable) fee for your time answering what they want. See how long it takes ipsos mori to leave you alone, then.

Comments are closed.