After years of dogged insistence, John Pring of Disability News Service, has finally forced the DWP to hand over a copy of a secret report into the death of a claimant.
Pring discovered in 2014 that the DWP had been compiling Internal Process Review (IPR) reports where claimants deaths were connected with benefits.
However, the DWP has always refused to make any but the most heavily redacted and anonymised details of these reports public. This is in spite of the fact that the reports contain recommendations on how the DWP could change its practices to make future deaths less likely.
But, the coroner holding an inquest into the death of Philippa Day has upheld Pring’s request to be given a full copy of the DWP’s IPR in this case.
This was in spite of strong opposition from the DWP, who denied that any kind of cover-up was taking place even though they had initially refused to even let the coroner see a copy of the report.
The DWP also claimed falsely that Pring could obtain a copy of the report via a freedom of information request, in spite of having refused all such previous requests.
Both Philippa’s family and her legal representatives have supported the request for the document to be published.
The report will be given to Pring at the same time as it is released in evidence to the inquest.
It raises the question of whether the DWP will be able to successfully refuse future requests for other IPRs that it has, up until now, managed to keep secret.