In response to a freedom of information request by Benefits and Work, the DWP have denied paying bonuses to fraud investigation staff.  They have also denied setting targets for criminal prosecutions.

Last month we asked the DWP “whether bonuses are paid to DWP staff in relation to detecting fraud or recovering alleged overpayments from claimants.”

We have now received a response from the department stating that: “DWP does not operate any bonus or incentive schemes aimed specifically at staff who are involved in detecting and investigating benefit fraud and overpayment cases. There are also no targets for Investigators to achieve a prescribed number of criminal outcomes.”

However, the response does go on to add that:

“I can confirm that DWP operates an in-year reward and recognition scheme for all DWP teams and Individuals to be recognised for displaying exemplary behaviours or making a significant contribution to team performance. This applies to all colleagues across DWP.”

So, this response does appear to rule out the possibility that there is a formal system of bonuses for detecting fraud or recovering money.

But it does not rule out the possibility that teams or individuals can receive rewards for recovering large amounts of money for the DWP or prosecuting large numbers of claimants

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Sara · 1 months ago
    How about a penalty for every decision that is overturned at tribunal?
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    BirtyB · 1 months ago
    I have worked for DWP for over 10 years. They were the only employer who were willing to give me a job after my disabilities got a lot worse after two car accidents (none off which were my fault). My partner and I are also in receipt of PIP, which we had to battle hard and long to get. I found the guides on here most helpful in this, as I have done for helping a neighbour who would have given up without my help. I don't work in working age or disability benefits and I am involved in checking the accuracy of benefit awards. I have received quite a number of these reward and recognition vouchers over the years, which I have to say are not of great value. What I can say, is that everyone of the vouchers that I have received, have been for going above and beyond to help a customer usually when they are being underpaid. Please don't tarnish everyone with the same brush. It is hard enough doing the job for just above minimum wage. Some off us do genuinely care. Thank you.
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    AACE · 1 months ago
    They absolutely DO have a reward & recognition scheme. 

    Individuals that go out of their way to help meet the office targets, thus making that office look better, are almost always awarded. 

    For example, if their office is lagging in sanctions, people will be told to look for whatever little thing they can to refer cases to the Decision Maker to get a result to boost the office's position on the leader board. 
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    Brian Hunt · 1 months ago
    The fundamental flaw with all of this is that that DWP act as judge, jury and executioner. It is a complete denial of our rights in a democracy and ministers should hang their heads in shame. 
    Bonus schemes such i expect has been but in place encourages these fraud inspectors to be dishonest and i urge people who are not satisfied that they are being fairly treated in any way to obtain representation to fight their corner. Nobody should have this sort of nonsense imposed on them
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    Gillian · 1 months ago
    Having worked for the DWP department for 25 years I can confirm that there is a reward and recognition scheme which is for an individual that has gone above and beyond in there  role, I.e supporting individuals  who are struggling and may need support,  training or customer service etc, overall, individual cases. This  comes in a form of high street vouchers.  
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    Fibrogal · 1 months ago
    There is also an individual/team bonus scheme which can be anything from a choice of high street vouchers, money for an individual or a higher amount for a team for say a lunch out. Can’t remember the name of it now 
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    Michael · 1 months ago
    Offering bonuses or incentives to fraud investigators is just asking for trouble and could even be illegal. It is known some DWP staff are setting up claimants to fail in order to sanction them, which is a type of fraud. If DWP staff know or suspect what they are being asked to do is unlawful or illegal or they reasonably suspect it to be so, they have the right to refuse to comply with any instruction, by management, to act unlawfully or illegally. Is the way forward to make it clear to the DWP, politicians and public that DWP staff who cheat claimants out of benefits they have paid for through National Insurance are no better than claimants they allege are cheating the system? 
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    Yvonne · 1 months ago
    This is open to abuse of the system. They should answer to this in a select committee. 
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    Andrew Currie · 1 months ago
    A government department under a Conservative government lying about how they use taxpayers money? Surely not! 
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    Mr.Bofkernow · 1 months ago
    Sounds like Orwell's 'double speak'. 
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    denby · 1 months ago
    When I was a public servant [in a water authority, then a school] the expectation was that you got the pay rate for the post you worked in, and worked as hard as it took to do the job properly. End of! It's our taxpayers' money that is being used for bonuses, whatever the excuse for giving them. So how is this squared with public accounts. B&W, please can you do another FOI about the amount of money used in giving bonuses? 
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      Cjmp45 · 1 months ago
      @AACE @AAACE Yes I said same further up the thread not just individuals but teams and not just vouchers - money. I worked in a different Civil Service dept all had same reward schemes 
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      AACE · 1 months ago
      @Fibrogal Vouchers were/are also awarded throughout the year to individuals who have gone "above & beyond".
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Fibrogal · 1 months ago
      @denby The reward & recognition bonus was set up as part of the annual pay award. It’s not extra it was designed to reduce the %age of pensionable pay paid each year the R&R is a one off payment that doesn’t add to the pension pot over time it has become known as ‘a bonus’ which I’m pretty sure civil servants would rather have as part of their annual pay rise and contributing to their pension pots 
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      Donna · 1 months ago
      @denby Very good point raised. I'd agree with the additional FOI
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