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.


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