In a deeply cynical move, the DWP have ordered Jobcentres to stop referring claimants to food banks.  The decision is alleged to be based on data protection concerns, according to a story in the Guardian.

For some years, Jobcentres have been able to give claimants a signposting slip with brief personal details about themselves, such as the number of children in their household, to act as a referral to their local food bank. 

This is necessary because many food banks will only accept people if they have been sent by another agency.

Suddenly, however, the DWP have decided that giving this information amounts to “inappropriate use of personal claimant data” and that it should be halted.

The result is that claimants, who may have had their benefits sanctioned or be waiting weeks for their first payment, will now have to approach another agency, such as their GP or housing association, to get a food bank referral.

The DWP’s data protection argument is clearly utterly bogus. 

The slip is given to the claimant to take to the foodbank, so it is entirely up to the claimant whether they choose to hand over their data.  And it is all information which the food bank will require before allowing access.

The reality is that the DWP do not want food banks to be able to produce statistics showing what a huge number of claimants are being sent to them directly as a result of the benefits system forcing them into poverty.

The DWP claims it is trying to increase the level of trust that claimants have in them, in the hope of encouraging more people to try work without fear of the effect on their benefits.

Moves such as this and the ramping up of benefits sanctions will have absolutely the opposite effect.

You can read the full story in the Guardian.

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  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Lizfromleeds · 1 months ago
    If the organisations, charities, social workers and community centres keep a record of who they have referred or supplied, then a count of benefits recipients could be arranged.
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    shadowpony · 1 months ago
    it's nother case of move the goalposts, and the govt can deny it.
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    denby · 1 months ago
    I went to mention this to the person running our church's independent foodbank. Apparently this is nothing new, DWP have not been providing direct referrals to it for a long time.
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    Mr.Bofkernow · 1 months ago
    Maybe this would be a more fitting abreaveation for the DWP. DDWP [Demonic Department of Work and Pensions]. Everything in life has a purpose and a reason. The DWP always prove this with each passing year. 
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    naheegan · 1 months ago
    More casual cruelty. 
    Absolutley what ill, disabled and struggling people do not need. Trailing here and there, sometimes needing transport fare or involving long walks in all weather to gather necessary documents. Sometimes waiting for appointments before they can ask for them. On top of the worry and stress of finances and being able to meet the needs of their children, and pets sometimes.  
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    Al · 1 months ago
    Cue the headline in the Daily Mail in a few months "statistics show that benefit claimants do not use food banks, it's all a big lefty scam"
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