The DWP’s latest Claimant Service and Experience Survey, released last week, shows a fall in claimant satisfaction. At the same time, and perhaps not unconnectedly, the DWP is talking to the commercial sector about how it can introduce ‘robotic solutions’ including virtual assistants and chatbots.
The survey shows that there has been a fall of 2% in the level of claimant satisfaction with the DWP, though it still stands at the extraordinarily improbable level of 84% of claimants being satisfied with the service they receive.
A mere 7% were very dissatisfied, up one per cent on last year.
The level of dissatisfaction varies according to the benefit being claimed.
Just 6% of attendance allowance claimants were dissatisfied, compared with 16% for ESA, 17% for PIP and 19% for universal credit.
Satisfaction amongst claimants with a disability has decreased for each of the last three years and now stands at 80%, compared to an 89% satisfaction rate for claimants who do not have a disability.
Meanwhile, almost as astonishing as the huge proportion of happy DWP users, is the revelation that the DWP has an Intelligent Automation Garage (IAG) unit.
The IAG is apparently the department’s “in-house robotics centre”. Its aim is to use automation to cut costs.
It is now asking for contact with companies that “are currently offering their services in developing robotic solutions utilising robotic processing automation, virtual assistants, chatbots, [and] machine learning”.
Whether talking to a chatbot will be better than the current service is something that only time and experience will tell.
Though actually getting to talk to anyone – or anything – rather than spending hours on hold might be a vast improvement in itself.