Stephen Timms, the new head of the Commons work and pensions committee, is to quiz ministers over the failure to safeguard vulnerable claimants, the Guardian is reporting.

The Guardian quotes Timms as criticising the “incredible secrecy” over the DWP’s handling of claimant deaths and their inability to show any changes that have resulted from scores of internal inquiries.

“The idea that people are taking their own life as a result of DWP actions is so awful,” Timms said. “It is unacceptable for the DWP to keep obfuscating. It cannot avoid the subject any longer. This is clearly something serious and it needs to engage and resolve it.”

The Guardian points to information obtained by the Disability News Service website which shows that the DWP’s chief psychologist, David Carew, told the coroner at the inquest into the death of Errol Graham that a safeguarding review would report in the autumn.

But the DWP now says that there has never been a review team and no final report exists.

A recent Freedom of information request has also revealed that the DWP are destroying data from reviews into claimant deaths that took place as recently as 2016, in an apparent breach of the Data Protection Act.


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