The DWP is knowingly destroying evidence in relation to claimant deaths in what is increasingly looking like a deliberate cover-up.
The latest revelations result from a Freedom of Information request asking for titles and dates of all peer reviews carried out from 2010.
Peer reviews were the name for investigations by the DWP into claimant deaths. They have now been renamed internal process reviews.
The DWP responded by saying that records prior to 2015-16 have been destroyed or are incomplete.
Their excuse for destroying the documents is that ‘The Data Protection Act 2018 dictates that “personal data kept for any purpose should not be kept for longer than necessary”.’
Whilst this is true, it is also a breach of the Act to destroy data that is still required.
In this case, data about claimant deaths and the lessons to be learnt from it absolutely should be retained if not indefinitely, at least until there is no possibility of the same or similar mistakes being made again.
We know beyond any doubt that the same errors and failures to follow procedures by the DWP are leading to the unnecessary deaths of claimants.
The department’s failure to learn lessons in this regard was even highlighted by the National Audit Office.
To destroy information about the deaths of claimants, in some cases when their relatives have asked to see it and been refused, is at best negligent and, at worst, verging on the criminal.