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The family of Errol Graham, who starved to death after his ESA was stopped, have been granted permission to begin a judicial review of the policies the DWP uses to protect vulnerable people.

Errol Graham was 57 when he starved to death in June 2018. His ESA and housing benefit were stopped after he failed to attend a work capability assessment. This was done without checking on his mental or physical health wellbeing, even though he was known to have serious mental health issues.

Because the DWP had tried, but failed, to contact Graham, their action in stopping his benefits were in line with their safeguarding policies at the time.

However, at Graham’s inquest the DWP gave an undertaking to look again at their policies and change them, something which they never did.

Now Mr Graham’s son’s partner, Alison Turner, has been granted permission for a full judicial review challenging the legality of the current safeguarding policies and the failure of the DWP to revise those policies.

Turner will argue that the safeguarding policies are unlawful as they create a significant risk of breaching the human rights of vulnerable individuals like Errol.

The DWP now has 35 days to file its defence before a two day hearing takes place.

Turner said:

“Errol had a long history of serious mental illness which left him severely incapacitated. When the circumstances of his death came to light we had hoped and from what the DWP stated at the inquest, we had expected that the department would review their safeguarding policies and involve us in that review.

“But, incredibly, that has not happened. We deserve answers and those answers need to be public for the sake of other families and other vulnerable benefits claimants who suffer similar mental health difficulties.

“No one else should be put at risk in the same way Errol was because adequate safeguarding measures are not in place.”

More details of the case are available on the website of solicitors Leigh Day.

Comments  

#2 Mr B 2020-07-22 21:32
From an article in today's Guardian the DWP is to "increase support for vulnerable claimants" so this may well be a reaction to the launching of the judicial review case.

Quote from article:

Under the new guidance, a case conference with other agencies would be called to understand more about a claimant who failed to attend a “mandatory intervention” such as a jobcentre meeting. “Basically, what we would seek to do is provide support, not removal of benefits,” said Schofield Schofield is the DWP permanent secretary.

For full article please click:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jul/22/dwp-to-increase-support-for-vulnerable-claimants-after-series-of-suicides

I won't hold my breath as to whether any improvements actually happen any time soon because of course the DWP are masters of delay!

Kind regards

Mr B
#1 mrfibrospondodysthmatic 2020-07-22 15:05
It will be very interesting to see how this pans out for the Graham family. Also more interesting to see if or how the DWP react, and if in favour of Mr Grahams death being caused by the hands of the DWP.

This would mean an immediate changing of the law, and DWP policies across the board.

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