Crippen hears that a secret report casts doubt on DWP’s ‘no duty of care’ claim

You’ll recall I blogged last October about how Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) boss Theresa Coffey insisted that they had no legal duty of care to disabled benefit claimants? Well, she’s at it again, even though one of the DWPs own secret reports states clearly that it does.

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey has repeatedly told MPs that her department does not have a legal duty to “safeguard” its claimants, and that such tasks are instead the responsibility of local agencies such as social services and doctors’ surgeries.

Her repeated denials have come following a decade of distressing cases which have linked DWP’s policies and practices to the deaths of disabled people, particularly those being assessed for employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment.

Now Disability News Service (DNS) has discovered that a secret report, probably completed in 2014, has shown a DWP civil servant discussing the department’s “ongoing Duty of Care” to claimants of incapacity benefit who were being reassessed for ESA.

It recommends a review of DWP’s “ongoing Duty of Care in relation to the identification and support of claimants required to participate in the Incapacity Benefit reassessment (IBR) process, who as a result of a [redacted] may be vulnerable and have different or additional support needs.”

It continues: “When defined, the Duty of Care should be brought to the attention of all colleagues including those (others) … who are involved in the IBR Process …”

The redacted report was one of 49 released to Disability News Service (DNS) by DWP following a protracted freedom of information battle that ended in 2016 with DNS winning an appeal to the information rights tribunal. Despite the existence of the report, Coffey and her department continue to insist that there is no such legal duty of care.

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

Work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey is standing in the house of commons facing her peers. She is saying: “We have never had a legal duty of care to benefits claimants!”. A colleague is standing behind her and is tapping on her shoulder. He’s holding a document that says ‘DWP duty of care’. He’s saying to her: “Excuse me boss – we need you to sign this ongoing duty of care!”.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by A6er on 28/02/2021 at 19:35

    Reblogged this on Tory Britain! .


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