The Disability News Service (DNS) has been told by a DWP whistleblower that claimants with significant mental distress are being forced to attend weekly meetings with work coaches whilst waiting for a work capability assessment. Separately, Benefits and Work has heard from an alleged former DWP employee who says work coaches are being named and shamed for not pushing enough claimants out of the support group of ESA and onto UC.
DNS was told by the whistleblower that ‘DWP managers are telling work coaches that they should not have any “white spaces” in their diaries, and so should tell claimants waiting for their WCA to come into the jobcentre even if they know they will eventually be placed in the LCWRA group.’
The whistleblower is now “very concerned” that DWP’s new, even stricter, approach “might lead to more people taking their own lives”.
Separately, Benefits and Work has heard from a whistleblower who says they are a former DWP employee. They told us that work coaches are being named and shamed for not pushing claimants off ESA and onto UC and also being bullied into sanctioning claimants.
We have not been able to independently verify these claims.
The whistleblower told us:
“At the moment, work coaches are being bullied into sanctioning and getting customers from ESA support to UC.
“My friend, who is a work coach, was ashamed by an email sent to all her work coach team naming and shaming staff who hadn't got customers off UC and ESA(s) to UC. The staff had valid reasons for not removing their customers from ESA support, but they were not listened to.
“Staff dread coming into the office and many are applying and leaving for the Scottish Government.”
Benefits and Work would be very happy to hear from DWP employees on condition of strict anonymity, using our contact form